I have a love of the sound of the circuit that goes beyond human love. Sometimes I like to think I’m the bastard love child of Wendy Carlos and any member of Kraftwerk – now there’s a thought. I love synths. I love what they look like, what they sound like and the fact that there’s a huge buzz about them at the moment.
This leaves me in a bit of a quandary when I visit shows like NAMM. I mean there’s a whole raft of other stuff I should be covering: speakers, mics, software, outboard, controllers, headphones… Anything else you can find in the studio basically.
But part of me just wants to look at the synths which is a wholly unprofessional way to cover a show like NAMM… Unless it’s *this* NAMM, which has more synth action, particularly modular synth action, than I’ve known in over 20 years of coming here.
But let’s get the other highlights of day 2 out of the way first.
First up we saw one of our favourite outboard manufacturers Warm Audio who have a very tasty new EQ out, the EQP-WA. It’s not often that people tell you to check out an EQ at a show but it happened! Right next door Heritage Audio had a lot of new gear, too much to list, in fact but check out this shot for more…
RADAR is a hi-end recording system that has been going for more than two decades and we’ve always thought it’s a little beyond the scope of MusicTech but with the addition of DAW integration and touch control it has become a thing of studio beauty.
The latest iConnectivity box looks a little mundane, but we were blown away by the demo which not only sees the diminutive little box act as a high quality interface but also a patch bay on steroids, able to route audio from anything you see in the picture (plus the guitar off stage left) anywhere you want it to go…
Novation’s Launchpad Pro could prove to be the show stealer though. This had many a visitor saying it added just enough features to turn it into a genuine instrument, but not so many as to make it hard to use. Yours truly loves the flashing lights too…
On the speaker front, too much to cover, but it was nice to see Adam back up and running and going back into full production with product expected in April/May.
Also on the speaker front we were invited to the Genelec ‘secret room’ to hear their new DSP monitors in action. We were certainly impressed hearing how they automatically adjusted for the room to offer a flatter response. Here’s a rubbish shot from my ad manager. More price and availability info ASAP.
OK so now to the modular madness.
Undoubtedly the star of the show has to be the Moog Modular System 55 modular system (shown here with optional keyboard). There were gasps when Moog announced this (probably) as it seemed a massive undertaking at the time, but here it is in all its glory, a monster.
Check out all the wood, all the patch leads and the original photo in the background. Quite how many Moog will build I don’t know – I’ll try and glean some info at the show tomorrow. I did ask for a review unit and the guy just laughed…
On a much smaller level was the latest Buchla module. It’s a small company in a surprisingly prominent place at the show. If you remember they did the suitcase synth we showcased last year. Now they have the 200h series module (top left in the pic) and we’ll try and get one in soon…
One that lots of people were talking about was the new Korg MS20 modular complete with step sequencer (ok actually it’s optional) which I could barely get near for the people trying it. I had to push people aside to get this shot and I guess it’s a great one for those who missed out on the limited edition kit kit keyboard version.
And that’s touching the surface of the modular mayhem I here at NAMM. There a whole booth to check out tomorrow (see this pic) plus a hall E which generally has loads of interesting boutique stuff in. Oh and then there’s the new Prophet synth. More on that tomorrow. And some other non synth stuff of course! (He lied)