It just wouldn't be winter in the audio world without the annual trip south to lovely Orange County, Calif., for the Winter NAMM convention. And say what you will about hotel food, dreadful 9 a.m. press conferences (and don't think Remix doesn't keep track of who organizes those) and the flight-cancellation practices of a certain domestic carrier, the 2005 WNAMM show was certainly the place to be to get the skinny on the latest and greatest products.
Korg turned more than a few heads with the new Oasys. Touted as an open-architecture synthesis workstation, the Oasys packs a number of different synthesis options, sequencing and hard-disk recording capabilities, and numerous onboard effects into a fully integrated keyboard instrument. For the more laptop-oriented, Korg also debuted the Kontrol49, which takes the concept of the microKontrol to the next level with the addition of full-size keys and a vastly expanded feature set. Not to be outdone, Alesis showed off the new Fusion workstation. This new instrument houses four different synthesis types, user sampling, 32 tracks of sequencing and more in an elegant future-retro design. Roland managed to pack all of the cool features of the original V-Synth (and then some) into the new rackmount V-Synth XT. Open Labs unveiled its new mFusion technology, which allows users to control multiple hardware instruments and software applications from a single interface. Roger Linn and M-Audio unleashed the Black Box, a combination guitar-amp modeler, effects unit, drum machine and computer audio interface. Cycling '74 is set to begin distributing the JazzMutant Lemur control surface, a 12-inch touch-screen controller that is capable of tracking multiple finger movements at the same time. Mackie showed off the new C200 and C300z, which are passive versions of the hugely successful SRM350 and SRM450 loudspeakers. The company also announced the release of Tracktion 2, which significantly ups the feature set of the original. And sister company Tapco brought out the new Blend 6 line mixer. Also on the speaker front, Phonic rolled out the Performer Series active speakers, which boast the world's first wireless design.
On the software side of things, Universal Audio and Roland will be working together to bring some classic Roland processors (such as the Dimension D Chorus and the RE-201 Space Echo) to the UAD-1 platform. Cakewalk showed off the new 64-bit version of Sonar as well as the new Project5 Version 2, which ups the ante with multitrack recording and more. Ableton lifted the virtual curtain on its new virtual synth for Live 4 called Operator. For the more classically tuned ear, MOTU brought out its latest virtual instrument, Symphonic, which boasts an 8GB library of orchestral source material, convolution reverb and more. Apple showed off Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra, which adds orchestral loops as well as string, brass, woodwind, keyboard and percussion instruments to the company's growing list of audio applications. Sony debuted the Oxford Restoration Tools Suite for Digidesign Pro Tools RTAS and AudioSuite. Celemony will now offer three versions of its flagship product: the entry-level Melodyne Uno, the 8-track Melodyne Cre8 and the unlimited Melodyne Studio Edition. IK Multimedia and Ampeg have teamed up to create the first bass-amp-modeling plug-in, the Ampeg SVX. Waves announced the new Q-Clone, which models users' hardware EQs and makes them available as custom plug-ins.
On the DJ front, UREI made a return to the fold, unveiling the newly redesigned 1620LE rotary mixer along with new 1601 and 1601S 2-channel digital DJ mixers. Denon unveiled the new DN-S1000 tabletop CD/MP3 player, which inherits a number of features from the more expensive DN-S3000. Stanton made some noise with the new T-Series of turntables, which includes the more entry-level T.60 direct-drive unit and works all the way up to the professionally geared T.120 and T.120C. Gemini showed off the new MPX-30 CD/MP3 player; the tabletop unit includes DSP effects, CD-RW compatibility, sampling and more. Numark is continuing its digital revolution with the new DXM09 3-channel, 24-bit digital mixer. And Road Ready Cases showed off a number of new items, including hard cases for the Technics DZ1200.