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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NAMM 2013 Overview Part 3 - Music Products

NAMM is a big show. It takes up all 4 halls of the Anaheim Convention Center as well as the basement hall and second and third floor halls and rooms. Then there's the Arena and the adjacent Marriott Convention Center, not to mention the activities at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels. That's a lot to cover and I can't get to it all even under the best of circumstances. This year it was a little harder as I was locked down in meetings for most of the days that I was there.

I say this as a bit of a defense in that what you'll see below is what caught my eye from the parts of the show that I saw. There were undoubtedly many other things that I never got to. With that out of the way, let's look at some of the music products from the show.

The famous Buchla synthesizer is back, this time in a more modern package. It's complete with a preset card (on the upper left) that you can solder your own resistors if you choose. This version runs about $4k, which is a lot better than the $40k that the vintage ones are bringing on eBay.

Another blast from the past is Magnatone. The amps didn't gain major traction when they were introduced in the 50's, but gained favor over the years for their "vintage sound" by players like David Gilmour and Neil Young. They also have a unique stereo vibrato feature only found in these amps. Billy Gibbons has been touring with one, so they must be good.

Staying on amps for a moment, I came across this one from Four Force that was amazing in how light it was. And I mean really light as in less than 5 pounds! This EM-1 is a 5 watt Class A amp that sounds way bigger than it feels. There's also a 50 watt bass amp available in a similar package. Perfect for the aging rocker with a bad back!

While this picture is of a striking edition of the Moog Voyager Performer, the real talk of the show in terms of keys was the Moog Sub Phatty. The Sub Phatty is probably the grittiest, dirtiest sounding synth you've ever heard (I mean that in a good way), and it's destined to do big things in the EM world.

This is the U-Bass, which is a short 21" scale bass that sounded about as good as a regular scale bass (at least at the show). Big sounds from such a small instrument. Very impressive.

The last item is more of a vocal toy that I couldn't get close enough to take a picture of, so here's the promo pic. It's by TC Electronic and called the VocalLive Touch 2, and it mounts on a mic stand and allows a vocalist to dial in effects and harmonies in real time as you sing. It even has a looper built in. Very cool, and the wave of the future for vocalists, at least on a club level.

That's it for now. Tomorrow we'll look at some of the oddities from the show.


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1 comment:

Fred Decker said...

Dear Bobby,

I have a Magnatone Twilighter amplifier from about 1960 or so. I think Magnatones are great vintage amps, because they are extremely high quality and you don't have to pay for the brand name the way you have to pay more for a comparable Fender. Also, I once saw a photo of Elmore James playing a Magnatone with 4 speakers. David Gilmour and Neil Young are in good company!


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