NAMM by name, mind-blowing by reputation.
You make music. So you already know that christmas comes in January for musicians.
I’m talking about NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) the biggest and best music gear trade show in existence.
All the NAMM releases from music’s top companies never fail to get you thinking about how much more desk space you can squeeze into your home recording studio—NAMM 2017 was no exception.
We sifted through all the incredible releases from this year’s NAMM (hard work I know…) and picked the 5 most drool-worthy releases worth making studio space for:
Elektron’s entire catalog of gear is paradigm-bending to say the least. From the Analog Rytm to the Analog Heat “audio destroyer,” their products and philosophies towards music making are borderline psychedelic.
But behind all their superb branding there is some seriously incredible gear as well (which is all that really matters in the end right?).
The Digitakt (due for release sometime in April 2017) is an exciting new addition to the Elektron family. In one small box, you get a drum machine, sequencer and sampler with real-time sampling capabilities and sophisticated triggering options.
With 8 internal audio tracks, 8 dedicated MIDI tracks, onboard effects and 64MB sampling memory with 1GB internal storage, the Digitakt is more than capable of serving as the main hub for a tight and effective studio setup.
But the best feature the Digitakt brings to the table is accessibility. The simple interface, single button save function, and plug-and-play ease of use makes the Digitakt a little less intimidating to new creators than past offerings from the Elektron camp—A fact that $650 price tag reflects.
MPC Live and MPCX
The MPC Live and MPCX weren’t exactly announced at NAMM (they came out just prior to NAMM weekend).
But NAMM 2017 gave everyone a better glimpse of what the MPC Live and MPCX would bring to the MPC family—which has now enjoyed 28 years (!) as THE premier beat making tool for producers everywhere.
On the heels of the MPC Studio and MPC Renaissance, the biggest new offering that the Live and X units bring to the table is their standalone capabilities.
With the release of these 2 units, the MPC has finally moved away from the computer to achieve full functionality. The result is a new era for MPCs that can function as autonomous all-in-ones on the new 2.0 software.
While the MPCX is more than capable of controlling whatever studio setup you throw at it (it even has CV/gate outputs), the MPC Live is a lighter version meant for the live setting.
Learn more about the MPCX and MPC Live here.
Teenage Engineering OP-Z
Teenage Engineering is our flat-out favourite when it comes to new music gear. Their releases sit at the perfect intersection between power and accessibility.
Where many audio gear companies continue to create variations a theme, TE refuses to settle for what has already been done.
TE’s 2017 NAMM releases kept their pioneering attitude alive with new units that go way beyond reiterations of their past successes. Their releases included the new PO-32 Tonic synthesizer/VST hybrid.
But the biggest and most intriguing TE offering is the new OP-Z “dream machine.”
I could try and breakdown all of the features here in this post, but my fingers would be EXTREMELY sore from typing so much.
So you should probably just head over to the OP-Z site to get the full scoop and let TE tell you everything about it in a way that only TE can.
In my opinion, If every new audio company took a few tips from TE, the world of boutique audio gear would be a much better place. Thanks for being you TE.
Apollo Twin MkII
With NAMM’s total onslaught of new synths, guitars, samplers, sequencers and drum machines, it’s often easy to overlook some of the workhorse units that can drastically improve a studio setup.
But Universal Audio’s newest offering in the recording interface department packs more than enough functionality to cut through the noise of all the other more flashy releases.
The Apollo Twin MkII builds upon the same A/D and D/A conversion found in previous versions of the Apollo, but adds heaps of new functionality:
Learn more about the MkII and all of UAs newly announced units here.
Dave Smith Toraiz AS-1 and REV2
The REV2 introduces a successor to the iconic Prophet ’08, updating the workhorse synth with new features and a more accessible price point.
But perhaps the most intriguing Dave Smith announcement was the compact Toraiz AS-1 Analog Synthesizer.
Built in partnership with Pioneer DJ, the AS-1 merges signature Dave Smith synthesis with the Pioneer DJ family of performance-ready controllers.
Hybridity between studio gear and DJ gear was a strong story point throughout NAMM 2017 and the AS-1 is certainly part of that discussion.
The portably sized AS-1 is a fully programmable monophonic synthesizer based on the synthesis engine in the Prophet-6. But the comparisons to the full-synth design stop there.
What puts the AS-1 into the DJ and Live performance conversation is the touch sensitive keyboard and effects strip, 64-step sequencer, intuitive live tweaking and compatibility with other Pioneer DJ controllers.
The result is a powerful unit for playing live that doubles as a capable tool in the studio during the production phase as well.
PreSonus Faderport 8
When so much music is made entirely in-the-box these days, the importance of tactile surfaces for creating is often lost.
The new, and highly-anticipated, FaderPort 8 from PreSonus gives some of that touch and feel back to the mixing phase. The FaderPort 8 is an 8 channel mix production controller that acts as a DAW companion in the studio.
8 motorized faders and 57 buttons covering 78 functions make the FaderPort the perfect mate for any producer look to get out of the box a bit without losing their DAW workflow completely…
Tired computer mice everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief…
Pick and Play
Those are our picks from NAMM 2017! Let us know what yours were!
Hopefully you have some good daydream fodder and a solid excuse to visit your local music store in the coming months.
Until next year, enjoy all your new toys!
And don’t forget to use ’em to get all those top-notch sounds that are also in your daydreams out into the world.