Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2008 picks.

The NAMM Show acronym stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”. The event takes place twice a year. There is a summer event in Austin, Texas but the bigger of the two happening this week in Anaheim, California. There are many websites covering NAMM down to the very last detail. I’d like to only list here what I personally think are the most interesting new products. So without further ado here is Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM hot picks:

Moog Voyager OS

Moog Voyager OS. Take a normal Moog Voyager and get rid of its Midi, presets, display and XY pad and you have the new “OS” which stands for Old School. I’m not sure I totally “get” this new synth. Unless the sound quality improves by removing those features what’s the point? Having midi, XY and patch memory has to be worth a few hundred bucks to anyone, no? link

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08 Module

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 Synthesizer Module. A table top or rack mount version of the Prophet ’08. If you want to play chords and you want real analog it’s either an uber pricey Studio Electronics Omega, something used or the new Prophet 08. The new module will be the least expensive way into the polyphonic analog world. link

Access Virus TI Snow

Access Virus TI Snow. A small table top version of the Virus TI. I would rather have a real analog synth or a Waldorf Blofeld but I know the Virus sounds great. Somewhat unique in a hardware synth is the new Atomizer utility announced for Virus TI’s which allows for stuttery effects. link

Alesis SR-18

Alesis SR-18. This is a big surprise! An update to the SR-16! Drum machines are back! The SR-16 was such an 80’s sound. I still use the tom sounds whenever I can. Id like to sit on a couch with the SR-18 for a few hours. It runs off batteries, 32MB sound set, has a bass synth and built-in effects. link

Akai XR20

Akai XR20. Another new digital drum machine! The XR20 has 700MB of sounds, runs off batteries, has built-in effects, glowing pads that follow the beat and a mic input. link

Akai MPC 5000

Akai MPC 5000 – How can I list all of the features of the new MPC? I’m not! Let’s just say this box has every feature known to man. I’m not sure adding a 8-track hard disk recorder and 3 Oscillator synth is what the MPC needs but nevertheless there is a new MPC flagship in the house. link

Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Spectrasonics Omnisphere. Talk about hype, this new product from Eric Persing wont even be out until September. Eric is a master at marketing with lots of cool videos on his website. He also likes to create new buzzwords for the technology in his products and for Omnisphere it’s “Steam Engine”. Apparently Omnisphere is not a rompler and has “real” Oscillators and such. Modulation comes from Granular Synthesis, Timbre Shifting and Polyphonic Ring Modulation. Keep using big words Eric we are listening. link

URS Saturation

URS Saturation plug-in. URS makes the best Native plug-ins. The URS Classic Console Strip Pro really does bring the sound of a high end console into your laptop. Saturation is a key tool to use in everyday ITB mixing. So URS is now releasing a Saturation plug-in and Sugar Bytes EffectrixI’m happy. It will offer four models: Motorcity, German, British and Modern. link

Sugar Bytes Effectrix. I’m not sure if German software company Sugar Bytes was at NAMM but their announcement coincided so I’m adding this to my list. I love plug-ins that mangle, glitch and randomly rearrange things on the fly. Effectrix looks like it fits the bill. Basically it’s a mini effect sequencer that opens in your main DAW as a plug-in. Effects you can control include: Looper, Timetretch, Scratch, Reverse, Tape Stop, Tonal Delay, Stutter, Crush, Filter (10 filtertypes), Phaser, Chorus, Delay, Reverb. The price is right on this one too! link

Metasonix Fucking Fucker. Eric Barbour of Measonix makes products using vintage vacuum tubes. He makes products that sound nasty. He names his products nasty names. His latest is a guitar amp that costs $5000. Its name? Fucking Fucker of course. I’m sure Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) is already on the waiting list. link

M-Audio Torq 1.5

M-Audio Torq 1.5. When people ask me what DJ software to get I say Torq. The interface is gorgeous and the built-in sampler slots and effects are super fun. I also really like the X-ponent controller available for it. Some of the new features in Torq 1.5 include: Tempo Anchors, Plane Elastique time-stretching/compression technology, Hide Mixer option, Effects Chains, Auto Gain and more. link

Novation Nocturn

Novation Nocturn. The new mini controller from Novation has some tricks up its sleeve. Appearance wise, it reminds me of a Faderfox. “Automap” is now at 2.0. What’s Automap? Simply put it automatically connects your on screen knobs to the Novation Yamaha Pocketrakhardware. The new Automap has a cool transparent HUD (heads up display). The Nocturn has eight touch-sensitive rotary encoders, each equipped with LED rings, eight user-assignable illuminated buttons and a 45mm cross-fader. link

Yamaha Pocketrak. Small solid state recorders have hit the mainstream market big time. The Sony PCM-D1 and D50, Zoom H1 and H2 are examples. Here comes Yamaha’s entry and it’s pretty. Its small… very small: 1.7 Ounces and 1/2 Inch Thick. Its got 2GB memory and USB 2.0 connection. Every musician should be out in the world grabbing his own sounds instead of buying them. link

So how are you going to spend your money in 2008? Do any of these or other NAMM new releases tempt you? Have you ever been to NAMM or Musikmesse?

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

12 thoughts on “Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2008 picks.”

  1. I never bothered to even check specs on an MPC thinking they were strictly for hip hop cats, but damm the 5000 is impressive . I dont need the Synth in it so I’m probably gonna do an MPC-1000 and upgrade to the JJ-OS, I’m all for the Simul Mode which I will need the JJ-OS upgrade for the MPC1k. If Fxpansion’s Guru had that whole “Simul Mode” I’d so lay down the money for it with a Korg Padkontrol, with the money I save get a Freqbox and MIDI retrofit my CMU-800r…

    Back to Reality…

  2. apparently akai released a new mpd32 unit which is going to have a sequencer and midi-out in it – so you can get all the groove features of the akai units for less cost. i agree novation looks like faderfox. and then a competitor to omnisphere was revealed too, forbidden planet by eastwest

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