For gearheads, the NAMM show is like a second (non-denominational) Christmas. It’s a time when kit makers show us all of the new ideas and tools for the coming year. Continue on as I show you some of my highlights.
Digitech Bass Whammy
What is It? Bass optimised pitch shift pedal
Why is it cool? The original Bass Whammy is a classic. I’ve always loved the possibilities, but I’ve found the effect’s tone to be mechanical and fake sounding (which can be good and useful). This version introduces polyphony, which might just be a game changer for chordal players like myself. Midi control and the ability to layer the effect on top of the dry signal (only) make this one to watch.
What is It? Feature packed, low barrier to entry theremin
Why is it cool? CV out makes this useful as a gestrual control (for my Moogerfoogers!). USB midi I/O, headphone jack, built in speaker, assistive pitch correction, presets, and built-in tuner for visual feedback.
What is It? Universal Control Surface
Why is it cool? Lots of features in a reasonably priced control surface: motorised faders, LCD Scribble strips, looks boss, Rotory encoders and a full transport system.
UA Apollo Twin
What is It? 24-bit Thunderbolt interface w/ Real-Time UAD processing
Why is it cool? Basically, this is a 2 channel version of the coveted (by me) Apollo interface. If you’ve ever heard my stuff, UAD plug-ins are all over it. Premium Preamps, excellent A/D conversion.
Eden I-90 Chorus Pedal
What is It? A bass chorus pedal with useful features
Why is it cool? I got a chance to check this pedal out a couple months ago and the overall effect is a very warm and rich chorus. Every bass chorus pedal should have a low cut filter! The addition of a wet/dry blend is a wonderful bit of extra control. I love using a low cut to have the chorus only affect frequencies above my open ‘A’ or even ‘D’ string. The pedal is well built– heavy, metal, and solid. It will be on my board shortly.
JHS Colour Box
What is it? Studio Grade preamp pedal
Why is it cool? Lundahl transformer (!!! – my favourite), Abbey Road inspired, 1/4″ and XLR Input/output. This is a vintage console preamp in a pedal by one of the best in the biz. I imagine this will become a studio workhorse. Hi-pass filter section!
Focusrite iTrack Dock
What is It? iPad recording interface
Why is it cool? USB Midi, XLR, Line and Instrument input and output. Focusrite preamps, 105 db of dynamic range, direct monitoring, works with Core Audio driver.
Slate Digital VMS
What is It? Virtual Microphone and preamp modelling system
Why is it cool? First off, I never mix without my Slate Digital plugins. NEVER. The VMS includes High Definition Microphones, Dedicated preamp converter and plugin module. This is a complete system, not simply convolution or impulse response modelling. I imagine this will become a platform in the near future…
Korg MS-20 Kit
What is It? A re-creation of the original Korg MS-20 in a DIY-assembly kit
Why is it cool? Hmmm… IT’S A KIT! My only complaint is that there’s no soldering required (because I love soldering), but that also means you are sure to have a working analogue synth at the end of the project! Korg introduced the MS-20 mini last NAMM, but this is a full recreation of the legendary synth. You’ve heard this. Designed by the same team of engineers as the original MS-20.