For several years, NAMM has held a preview day where a relatively small number of manufacturers display their new wares for the media. This year, the small space set aside for this event was jam packed, with many of the major music web sites there with camera crews, so you’ve probably already seen videos of several new gadgets. In addition, manufacturers are holding press conferences a day before the show, so everyone can get the news before anyone else. Here are some tidbits, with more details to follow over the next few days.
DiGiGrid, a dedicated networked plug-in host plus signal router that’s getting a lot of attention in the live sound field is now hosting plug-ins from a few companies other than Waves, their original partner. They’ve also introduced a series of small boxes that use the DiGiGrid Ethernet protocol, but rather than hosting plug-ins, extend the network to handy little gadgets. There’s a headphone amplifier (there were a couple of those at the recent AES show that used the Dante protocol), a two small recording interfaces, one with 2 inputs and 2 outputs, the other with 4 inputs and 6 outputs, and a PoE switch.
Allen & Heath, following in the steps of a the shrinking breed of analog mixer manufacturers, added several new downsized versions of their ZED series, from 2 up to 8 inputs, with or without effects. They also have a new color scheme.
Last year I reported a flood of Eurorack format analog synthesizer modules. This year I’m sure there will be many more. Roland has a couple of new ones as well as a portable 4-module rack and a complete package of their 500-series (that’s Roland’s 500 series analog synth modules, not the audio “500 series” modules). Roland also introduced a line of accessories, mostly cables. Also interesting is a set of ear-worn binaural microphones designed primarily to be used with a head-worn GoPro video camera. 40 years ago, collecting village folk music in Eastern Europe with head-worn binaural mics produced a series of well respected records. Maybe it’s time to re-visit that project.
HK Audio introduced the Lucas Nano 608i compact PA system, a bass speaker, a mid-high speaker on a pole projecting from it, and a small mixer. The shtick is that the mixer has hardware controls, but it’s also controllable via Bluetooth from an iPad app. It’s about the right size for a soloist or duo, but not a full band.
The Vinylrecorder T580 is actually a family of vinyl (not lacquer) disk cutting products, starting with a stereo cutter head and lathe, RIAA equalizer, groove pitch (spacing between grooves) controller, heated diamond stylus, vacuum chip remover, and vinyl blanks from 7 to 14 inches in diameter, including a thin flexible one like the EvaTone Soundsheets. It’s not cheap, about $3600 for the starter kit, and you have to provide the turntable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few independent mastering engineers and small batch replicators picking up on it to offer custom vinyl phonograph records within the next couple of years if the vinyl craze keeps up.