The National Association of Music Merchants trade show, or NAMM as everyone knows it, showcases cutting-edge instrument and audio product designs from the best of the best. As it does every year, NAMM 2020 saw a raising of the bar in terms of innovation and excitement in new audio gear.
Whether presenting archetypal sounds in a fresh light or radically rethinking studio workflows, there was plenty on offer for musicians and audio professionals alike. Read on as we go on a tour of the cream of the crop, checking out the best and brightest from the jammed-packed Anaheim adventure.
For the studio and the stage, NAMM 2020 had it all. Check out the highlight reel from this year’s show and celebrate 8 of the most innovative new releases.
Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal
No strangers to pushing the envelope when it comes to sound creation, Gamechanger Audio announced the Light Pedal. It utilises infrared optical sensors to harness the full range of timbres and harmonies available in a spring reverb tank.
The company says: “This method opens up a much wider range of frequencies, harmonics, overtones and textures that are otherwise lost in the mechanical reverberation process.”
Visit the Gamechanger Audio website for more information.
SSL 2 and SSL 2+ Audio Interfaces
Until recently, SSL has been a company that focuses its efforts on the decidedly upmarket-end of studio-town. They still do, recently releasing Origin, its first large-format console in more than a decade. But they’ve also made quite a distinct pivot toward the project studio, with the release of the SSL 2 and 2+ audio interfaces.
Packing 2 brilliant preamps, Legacy 4K enhancement, plus SSL Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip plugin packs, attaining a world-class signal chain for your home studio has never been more accessible.
More details are available on the SSL website.
Orange Terror Stamp Guitar Amp Pedal
in recent decades, Orange – the ultimate rock guitar amp company – have been shrinking their offerings. It got pretty small with the Tiny Terror series, but now they’ve shrunk their sound right down to the pedalboard scale with the Terror Stamp.
Chiefest among the innovations of this amp-at-your-feet is the switchable master volume. The pedal’s two volumes can be set independently, so when you need to launch into a solo and make yourself heard, just hit the switch and the stage is yours.
For more information, head over to the Orange website.
Sequential Pro 3 Synthesizer
The next step in an evolution that began with the iconic monosynth, the Pro-One, the Sequential Pro 3 raises the bar in terms of flexibility, power and scope for sound creation.
Equipped with 2 analog oscillators plus a third wavetable oscillator – with 32 tables of 16 waves each – 3 vintage filters, deep sequencing ability and ample connection possibilities, this synth occupies that sweet spot between vintage character and modern versatility.
Visit Sequential for more information.
Fender Parallel Universe Volume II Electric Guitars
Fender has a back-catalogue so lengthy and recognisable that they could be forgiven for resting on their laurels in the innovation stakes. Instead, they’ve maintained a restless routine of reimagining what their guitars can be. The Parallel Universe Volume II series continues that tradition of ignoring, well, tradition.
Ever wanted a Strat with Jazzmaster pickups and hardware? Or a Tele with a maple neck and pearl block inlays, complete with gold foil pickups? The collection is wacky, wild and lives in an entire universe of its own.
They haven’t hit the streets yet, but stayed tuned to Fender for all the updates.
Presonus ioStation 24c Audio Interface
Presonus has recently muscled its way into the DAW world with Studio One, but they haven’t neglected their pedigree in studio hardware products. Their latest audio interface, ioStation 24c, ticks more boxes than most.
Yes, it’s got the project studio essentials covered: a couple of rock-solid preamps and clean converters. Yet, it’s also a nerve centre for workflow, DAW navigation in the form of Session Assistant (described by Presonus as “your caffeine-fuelled assistant engineer“, classic control room functions, plus a fader. Pretty damn neat.
Head over to Presonus for all the details.
Viscount Legend ’70s Modular Stage Piano
NAMM is replete with big names in the audio business, so offerings from smaller companies can have a tendency to fly under the radar. Through its unique method of modular sound production, however, the Legend ’70s made quite a splash at NAMM 2020.
The sounds themselves are undoubtedly classic and retro-leaning. But they’re created with an assortment of DSP-powered modules (including electric pianos like the Wurly, Rhodes, acoustic piano and more) that can be swapped in and out by the user to suit their taste.
For more details, visit the Viscount website.
Arturia KeyStep Pro MIDI Controller
Since the unveiling of the KeyStep a few years back, the calls for the ‘pro’ version have been hard to ignore. At NAMM 2020, Arturia finally obliged with the official KeyStep Pro, a mini-keyboard MIDI controller with enough grunt to power your whole synth setup, whether it be in the box or out.
With 4 independent sequencers and enough connectivity to hook up an extensive hardware rig – and stay connected to your computer if you wish – it’s hard to imagine a controller so capable with a such a small footprint.
Visit Arturia for more.