Once again, gear
enthusiasts travelled from far and wide to the NAMM conference in Anaheim. The conference is the largest
audio trade show of the year in the US. This years NAMM show
proudly boasted 1,911 exhibitors hocking their latest audio, MIDI and
other musical and recording and performing-related goodies to
While Apple hid its collection behind an invite-only wall, many other
industry companies demoed their latest and greatest home-studio
applications and plug-ins openly to the sizeable gear-and-app-hungry
Ableton showed off its highly anticipated, latest incarnation
of Live 7 which includes the Essential Instrument
Collection 2 a multi-gig library of meticulously sampled
acoustic and electric instruments, including pianos, guitars, bass,
drums, strings, and more. Live 7 provides multitrack recording up to
32-bit/192kHz, and greater REX file support, including a feature
called Slice To New MIDI Track, which is sure to enable
even more sonic opportunities inside of Live.
Ableton also displayed its three new software instruments,
Analog, Tension and Electric.
BIAS lured audiophiles with the newly redesigned GUI of BIAS PEAK PRO
6, featuring improved crossfading capabilities, real-time volume
envelope customization, and intricate, sample-level zoom and editing.
Serious Rocking Tubeage IK Multimedias Amplitube Stomp 1-10
lets you rock out digitally while feeling analog. photo by Nathan
showed off its latest Pro Tools software, along with other added features and
enhancements including improved tempo editing, color coding and better
management of external MIDI devices. Digidesign also displayed its
amazing compressor and limiter plug- href="in, Smack,
which is available for both Pro Tools HD and LE systems.
The sonic wizards over at EASTWEST introduced Forbidden
Planet, a virtual, morphing, sample-based synth collection with over
1,000 cutting-edge presets allowing users to blend, process and
modulate sample-based sound bits any way they want.
FXpansion displayed the latest version of its
killer apps, including an upgraded version of BFD, the BFD 2 drum module software instrument, and a new expansion pack
called 8-bit BFD BOMB. The Big Orchestral Marching Band
pack adds an orchestral kit and marching drum instruments to your
library. All sounds were recorded in typical FXpansion fashion, with
multiple mic positions and over 50 velocity layers. FxPansion also
showed off its highly popular VST-to-Audio Units adapter and its VST-to-RTAS adapter.
IK Multimedia hosted demos on its wide line of virtual
samplers and effects processors, including the mega soft sampler Sample Tank 2 XL, Sonik Synth 2, Sonik Capsules, the insanely powerful plug-in amp
module Amplitube, and the virtual mastering
MOTU demonstrated the power of its DP 4.5 DAW composing software, version 2 of
its Mach 5 software sampler plug-in, and its new
software synth, the MX4, alongside an expanded line of FireWire hardware interfaces
(see hardware section below).
Native Instruments hosted some amazing demo sessions of its
ever-expanding and highly in-demand software line, which now includes
Traktor DJ Studio, Guitar Rig, Kompakt, Spectral Delay, Absynth 3, Battery 2, FM7, B4, Intakt, Kontakt 2, Reaktor and Vokator. The entire line of NI plug-ins and software
instruments is now available in a bundle called Komplete 2.
The Propellerhead Software booth was present and populated as usual,
showing the latest versions of Propellerheads
amazing stand alone virtual-rack recording module, Reason and its beat-slicing sister app, Recycle.
Spectrasonics wowed the crowds with its Omnisphere, a revolutionary Power Synth that joins its Trilogy, Atmosphere and Stylus RMX collections of mouthwatering virtual instruments.
Sony demoed a wide array of its ultra cool plug-ins, including the
constantly in-demand Oxford EQ, Inflator and Dynamics plug-ins, which
are available in bundles for Pro Tools LE, as well as Pro
Waves again showed delectable and
award-winning plug-ins, including its Convolution Reverb collection,
L3, Q-Clone and Renaissance plug-ins and bundles.
Gimme Some DSP
IK Multimedia rocked the show with a new
stomp box controller for its Amplitube guitar effects software model.
This DSP unit emulates many classic guitar amps and effects, while
giving guitarists the on-stage feel of a foot controller.
TC Electronic kicked down y**for its PowerCore line of DSP. The new VSS3
Stereo Source Reverb can be used as either a VST or AU plug-in.
Universal Audio moved its UAD-1 forward with the release of the UAD-2 for Pro Tools, while also showing off a full line of hardware and software add-ons like the Studio Pak, which includes the UAD-1 and the
following plug-ins: the 1176LN, LA-2A, Pultec EQP-1A, Fairchild 670,
Cambridge EQ, Nigel Guitar Processor, Channel Strip, RealVerb and
The Universal Audio Project Pak is comes with the UAD-1 card and
this plug-in set: CS-1 Channel Strip, DM-1/L Delay Modulator, RS-1
Reflection Engine, EX-1 EQ and Compressor, Nigel, Realverb Pro, Pultec
EQP-1A, 1176 SE Limiting Amplifier, Preflex Amp/Cab Simulator,
Gate/Comp, Phasor, Mod Filter, Trem/Fade, Mod Delay and Echo.
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| Scratch this
TRAKTOR. Native Instruments TRAKTOR SCRATCH photo by Nathan
Hot Audio Interfacing
Apogee seduced the crowds with its sweet-sounding Ensemble, Maestro, and Symphony interfaces.
Digidesign showed its latest home-studio treat, the Mbox 2 Micro, a
pocket-sized Pro Tools LE system. Like other Pro Tools systems, the
Mbox 2 Micro will pop open and let you work with any of your Pro Tools
HD sessions, as well as Pro Tools LE or Pro Tools M-Powered systems.
The MBox 2 Micro comes bundled with Pro Tools LE software,
a collection of more than 45 Bomb Factory and DigiRack effects
plug-ins, and Digidesign's Xpand! sample playback and synthesis
workstation. It also includes an 1/8-inch stereo output jack for up to
24-bit/48kHz audio playback.
off yet another cool-looking, portable, FireWire-connected audio
interface called the R-44 4-Channel
Portable Recorder. This joins a whole slew of portable recording
interfaces that Edirol produces for home studio use, field recording
and other portable recording.
Synthax, an enthusiastic distributor for the well-loved RME Hammerfall
line, introduced the new RME Hammerfall PCI card for laptops, further enabling RME on the go.
TC Electronic also wowed the DSP-hungry crowds with its latest and
greatest PowerCore DSP hardware and plug-ins.
TCs PowerCore line comes in both FireWire and PCI-connected configurations, and gives users
access to extra DSP for running more plug-ins than could be handled
Universal Audio showed off its successful hardware line, including the
untouchable and vintage-modelled 1176LN
limiter, 2108 and
and instrument pre-amps, 2192
audio interface and UAD-1 cards, as well as the sweet and tasty
UAD-1 plug-in packages (outlined in the DSP Software
| The Melotron. Revisited.
photo by Nathan Smith |
Keyboards and Controllers
Edirol displayed a number of controllers and
keyboardsincluding the PCR series of 25, 32, 49 and 61-key
controller keyboards, many of which include audio interfaces as
well. The PCR-1 is a great combination of
controller-meets-interface, particularly for mobile recording and
performing, as it weighs just 2lbs, 11oz. It even comes with a gig
M-Audio put its expanded line of controllers and keyboards on display,
from the legendary Oxygen 8 and the
UC-33, to DJ controller/mixers like the X-
An interesting find on the NAMM show floor was a company
rebuilding and vending a more durable Melotronwhich looked and
sounded amazing. Will it really last? some in the crowd
asked. Time will tell... Meanwhile, the Melotron is BACK!
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