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Sunday, January 25, 2015
Winter NAMM 2015 Overview - Part 1
As has become the norm at not only NAMM but trade shows in general, there wasn't much that could be considered groundbreaking, but there were a lot of evolutionary products. I'm going to get to things like the latest Pro Tools 12 and PT First release tomorrow, but today we'll touch on the audio products that caught my eye. These may or may not be products that others talk about, but I found them personally interesting.
iZ Radar Studio - Radar has always been an excellent sounding DAW that was one of the first to have a dedicated controller. That said, it was based around a tape machine remote that once served a great purpose but is a bit passe today. Radar Studio opens up the architecture for the first time so you can use the Radar hardware with your favorite DAW. This new iteration ships with Harrison's Mixbus, but is also capable of running Pro Tools or anything else if you want.
Mackie FreePlay Personal PA - This is basically a boom box that's loud enough to use as a small PA system if you want to. It's battery powered, has two mic/line inputs, some DSP effects and even a feedback suppressor, and the whole thing can be driven from an app on your iPhone. There's also a little kick stand that allows you to use it as a personal monitor as well. It's about $400.
Cherub DT-20 Infrared Drum Tuner - I almost hesitate to include this because the product doesn't appear to be ready, but I like the idea. Via an infrared beam, the unit senses the vibrations of a drum and provides a note equivalent readout. It if works, drummers and engineers everywhere will rejoice.
Behringer X Air XR12 mixer - Behringer has a whole slew of unusual wi-fi mixers that use an iPhone or iPad as the main controller. This XR12 has 12 inputs, 4 onboard effects engines, automatic mixing, and Midas-designed preamps. The price? How does $299 grab you?
Manley Labs Force - Manley showed it's new Force, which features 4 tube preamps from it's very popular CORE channel strip. Best of all, it's priced at a very reasonable $2,500.
Coleman Audio Phone Mix DI - If you ever wanted to plug your phone or tablet into your recorder or DAW you know it's a pain to do. Glen Coleman is always on top of things like this, and has developed an interface to make it easily happen. Plus, it can also act as a regular DI or even as just a way for someone to privately practice while waiting for the next take to begin. The price is around $450.
Blue Hummingbird Microphone - I used to love the swivel mount that was available for the AKG 451's way back in the day. It allowed you to get the mic capsule into some tight places, or just keep the mic body generally out of the way. The cardioid Blue Hummingbird has that same 180 degree rotating head, plus it's capsule comes from the very nice Blue Bottle mics. It's designed to take the high SPL and quick transients of a drum kit. The price is only $299.
Dangerous Music Convert 2 and Convert 8 - Dangerous Music makes some serious gear that's used by pros with discerning ears everywhere. The company adds to its product line with the new Convert D/A stereo and 8 channel convertors. They both feature up to 192 sample rates, excellent internal clocks, precision calibration, and 4 inputs.
Tomorrow I'll get into some of the trends I spotted at the show, and on Wednesday we'll look and guitars and keyboards.