1/26/2012 10:52 AM
The amount of new and innovative products at this year’s
show demonstrated that manufacturers are confident that the economy is turning
around and musicians and engineers will have the cash to do some shopping. A
major theme of the show was iOS connectivity, with iPad docks appearing on
amps, keyboards, mixers, and entertainment devices. Live sound was also an area
that received a lot of attention at the show, with Line 6 and Yamaha leading
the way. And, of course, everyone was
talking about the Universal Audio Apollo interface/DSP-accelerator combo.
Boutique analog gear continues to grow in popularity, especially
stompboxes and synthesizer modules. It’s telling that major manufacturers are introducing
handmade-looking effects pedals and 500-series processors. And with a so much
activity in the hardware synth world, particularly around the Eurorack modular
format, we’re starting to see the larger companies utilizing CV and gate
functionality in products that can be manufactured affordably overseas. For
example, there is the Akai Max49 controller and the Arturia Minibrute.
Nonetheless, there were dozens of products at the show that
attracted the attention of EM’s editors but got little attention elsewhere.
Here are a couple of additional companies and products to watch out for this
Radial Engineering continues to expand its line of handy,
well-built studio devices. While not the sexiest products you can buy, they get
the job done. Check out the EXTC-SA dual reamping box, the Firefly tube DI, Radial’s
500-series modules, and its two new 500-series racks.
Chandler Limited showed a pair of new effects pedals, the
Germanium Boost and Little Devil Colored Boost, as well as a 19W guitar amp
that is EL-34-based and offers a knob that changes the gain-stage bias between
Analogue Haven and Big City Music are the online retailers
to watch if you’re interested in new and unusual sounds. The explosive growth
in hand-built devices is nearly impossible to keep track of, but between these
two stores you’ll see the majority of limited-run products being introduced.
Stay tuned to emusician.com over the next few weeks as we
examine the fascinating products unveiled at NAMM 2012.