Well that was another great NAMM! The Decksaver team travelled out to SoCal in force and manned the booth to support our US distributor, Mixware.
We were amazed and truly excited about the new gear we got to tinker with at this Winter show. As always, we were also inundated with a list of covers that Decksaver fans would love to see go into production soon. The wheels have been put in motion (as they say) for many of these, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few months to see what makes it out of the studio.
There was some great gear on show, both for DJs and producers and far too much for one article so we have broken it down into a perfect pair. This first blog shares some of the highlights from the world of music production, whilst Part 2 (to follow soon) will cover the exciting world of DJ gear. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but highlights some of the equipment we got to see and play. Here are our choices (in no particular order):
Nord Wave 2: rolling 4 keyboards into 1, this new unit was getting a lot of attention. It comprises a 61-note keyboard and 4-synth engine with 48-voice polyphony and dozens of effects and modes. It’s going to retail for around £2200/$2700 by the looks of it. A stunning machine and a real show-stopper.
ASM Hydrasynth: this was a fairly new manufacturer to us at Decksaver, but one we were really interested to try out. It’s a great looking keyboard with a cool retro design and sports a 49-key polyphonic aftertouch bed and utilizes an advanced wavetable synthesis engine, 3 oscillators, dual wave mutators and 2 filters that can be configured in series or parallel. This could keep you busy for weeks!
Korg Wavestate: This looks like it’s going to be a successor to the 1990 Wavestate synthesizer. The machine sounded really nice to play. It offers a 37-key layout and a 64-voice and 4-layer setup. It uses an advanced form of wave sequencing and carries a pitch of each sample as an independent characteristic and add more parameters into the mix.
Also from Korg was the Opsix. This wasn’t available to touch or play, (hidden in a glass case, unfortunately) but looks like it’s going to be launched around Superbooth time. It seems likely that it’s going to be a DX7 styled, 6-operator FM synth. This could be REALLY exciting!
Novation Summit: We are big fans of the Peak here at Decksaver, so we were really interested in getting a look at the flagship Summit. This polysynth looks and feels gorgeous, with enough knobs to play with and twiddle for any musician! There’s sound to match too from the unit’s 2-part, 16-voice 61-key polyphonics, driven from digital Oxford oscillators offering subtractive, FM and wavetable synthesis. An awesome keyboard.
UDO Super 6: Like the ASM machine, this isn’t a new piece of kit, but it was the first time we got to try it out. The Bristol brand’s first offering looked and sounded great. It’s a 12-voice, polyphonic, binaural analog-hybrid synth and mixes digital and analogue technology. We think this one will be a really popular machine in 2020.
Arturia KeyStep Pro: This is the latest addition to the Step family and covers a whole host of functions for any musician or producer. This MIDI controller and sequencer has 4 independent polyphonic sequencer tracks, a 16-part integrated drum sequencer and a whopping 37 different connectivity options for your gear. This bit of kit could be the answer to a lot of musician problems of how to bring gear all together.
Sequential Pro 3: The new Pro 3 is looking like an excellent update to the classic Pro-One and modern Pro 2 instruments. This hybrid mono/paraphonic synth carries 3 LFOs and 3 oscillators (2 analogue and 1 wavetable). This is bound to be another popular machine from the San Francisco synth team.
Novation Launchpad Pro Mk3: Novation‘s latest version of their of the well-liked Launchpad controller continues to aid those looking for a hybrid hardware/software set up. It boasts a 4-track, 32-step polyphonic sequencer and a pair of MIDI outs. On the software front, there are dedicated controls for transport, tap tempo, Print-to-Clip and Capture MIDI in Ableton so you can build tracks without the need for a screen.
Akai MPC One: Akai’s units are getting a lot of attention and like the Launchpads, seem to be really popular amongst Decksaver fans. This new unit will be their cheapest standalone unit yet and features a blend of both modern and legacy units and will include 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, a 7” touch display, 2GB RAM with 4GB storage, and 8 outputs. The One uses its native MPC software and so doesn’t require a separate DAW. There’s no battery power though, but the piece is meant to be a fast worker!
PreSonus iOStation: The new iOStation 24c interface/controller looked like an interesting bit of kit combining the FaderPort with interface capabilities. It’s fitted with 2 mic pre-amps, motorised fader and a USB-C™ compatible, 24-bit/192 kHz audio interface and with high-quality outputs. It should be easy to hook up with any music software of choice.
Although they had no stand at NAMM (or ‘booth’ for our American friends) Behringer launched a whole host of new gear around the time of the show, most of which were talking points around Anaheim at some point. There’s a 606 inspired RD-6, released to accompany the RD-3 (303 clone) and a range of Eurorack items including a clone of the Roland System-100 modular synth range. There was also news of the Behringer 2600: a heavy nod to the semi-modular Korg ARP2600, which was also announced as a limited edition release at the show.
NAMM was once again a fantastic exhibition and conference, with loads of gear – new and old – for us to get our grubby mitts on! Keep your eyes out for new covers coming soon and for Part 2 of this write-up, which covers the world of DJ equipment.