Every year, thousands of musicians, producers, engineers, fans and corporate buyers flock to Anaheim, CA, for the Winter NAMM show. Its the place where new products are unveiled and demonstrated, updates are announced and great acts mingle with the crowds. For me, it’s an opportunity to geek-out in a fit of unfettered gear lust, meet and great industry pros, make new friends and reunite with old friends. Thanks to an assignment from Sample Library Review.com, I was able to explore this massive gathering over the course of a couple of days to gather research on a bevy of new offerings in the making.
So what stood out? What was the big draw? It’s hard to say because there’s just so much going on. Rather than run down all the headlines, I’ll briefly mention a couple of highlights that really made an impression.
Among the many amazing software products I got to explore, McDSP’s newest addition is the 6060 Module collection. With 30 different processing tools (and more in development) the 6060 offers a highly customizable signal processor with drag and drop, on the fly auditioning and ultra-low latency so you can preview and mix without compromise.
Spectrosonics announced Omnisphere 2.6 (to be released in March of 2019.) The free update adds hundreds of new presents, an enhanced Arpeggiator and hardware synth integration control for 60 hardware synths! Their booth was filled with amazing synths and keyboards: enough to make me start drooling all over again for this expansive flagship product.
Universal Audio brought back it’s popular Western Saloon-style “Comparatorium” for listeners to try to sort out the actual hardware from UAD’s outstanding plugin emulations. The booth features 4 listening stations where plugins are compared against the original hardware. A score card tracks your votes as you compare each of the four emulations. Then a UAD barkeeper scores your card and getting all four emulations correct earns you a UAD T-Shirt. Yay! Sadly, my lovely bride and I did not get all four correct – but we still won commemorative shot glasses. Boo!
In the loop and sampling realm, I had the honor of meeting some of the team at Big Fish Audio and learning there are some very inspired projects in the pipeline. I also bumped into the folks from ADSR and had fun learning about their history and future plans. I stopped by the Zynaptiq booth to learn about their plugins like Intensity and Morph and grabbed some swag and hobnobbed with the iZotope folks, too.
One of the biggest highlights was meeting Erik Papp and Julian David at the Townsend Labs booth. These are the folks behind the Sphere L22 microphone. This time last year, I made the decision to buy one of these microphones and my experience has been nothing short of phenomenal. Erik, Julian, Chris Townsend and the team have developed a tremendous product with the L22. I plan to be doing a an expanded review of the mic very soon.
In the meantime, it’s time to rest these weary legs. NAMM is huge and I may need a week to recover. -Steve