Winter NAMM 2008
Yummy, new treats for your home studio

By Stephanie Jorgl

Audiohead Interviews Tech Tips Events Goods and Gear Featured Music

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 gear-hungry registrants.

Ever-evolving Software
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 crowds.

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.

IK Multimedia Amplitube Stomp
Serious Rocking Tubeage IK Multimedia’s Amplitube Stomp 1-10 lets you rock out digitally while feeling analog. photo by Nathan Smith

Digidesign 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 is da BOMB

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 application, T-Racks.

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 Propellerhead’s amazing stand alone virtual-rack recording module, Reason and its beat-slicing sister app, Recycle.

Ultrasonic Spectrasonics
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 Tools HD.

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 DreamVerb.

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.


Search For:

Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase

Sound-alike matching

Scratch this TRAKTOR. Native Instruments TRAKTOR SCRATCH photo by Nathan Smith

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.

Edirol showed 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.

DSP Hardware
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. TC’s 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 natively.

Universal Audio showed off its successful hardware line, including the untouchable and vintage-modelled 1176LN limiter, 2108 and 2-610 mic 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” section above).

The Melotron Revisited
The Melotron. Revisited. photo by Nathan Smith

Keyboards and Controllers
Edirol displayed a number of controllers and keyboards—including 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 bag, too.

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- Session.

An interesting find on the NAMM show floor was a company rebuilding and vending a more durable Melotron—which looked and sounded amazing. “Will it really last?” some in the crowd asked. Time will tell... Meanwhile, the Melotron is BACK!

Are you a Sound Junkie?

If you would like to be updated when is updated, please click the link below and sign up now:

( will not share your info with anyone)

Make me a junkie!

Mac Audiophiles

Read up on these Mac-using audioheads (featured in the Interviews section) for insights on what they use and why.


Chris Vrenna

Trent Reznor

Liam Lynch

Hans Zimmer

Butch Vig

Keith Hillebrandt

Richard Devine



John Digweed

Prior Audio Event Coverage

For’s 2006 NAMM Report, please click here.

To read Steph Jorgl’s prior NAMM and AES coverage, please click here.

About Audiohead.netSyndicateOriginateContact

Got a suggestion? Send us your mojo and we’ll put it in our pipe.

© 2004-2009 - - All Rights Reserved.