Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2011 Edition

Packrat Barry

Techno Geek Toys

Oddity of the Year 2011

Entering the Post-Laptop Age

The Emulator FT is a huge, projection, multi-touch display that is a hell of a lot more engaging to watch than some laptop jockey hunched behind a tiny screen.

  • Smithson Martin, Inc.
  • 283 Argentia Rd. Unit #22
  • Mississauga, ON L5N 5Z2, Canada
  • (888) 770-0757

One Sexy Beast

The moniker "OMG-1" is quite suitable. I may have taken the extra step and gone with OMFG-1 but I suppose they can use that for a follow-up product.

Spectrasonics gave away the OMG-1 in a contest to benefit the Bob Moog Foundation. I collaborated with my friend Kevin Weed and we submitted a piece. While we didn't walk away with the OMG-1, we did get a Creative Excellence Award :)

Spectrasonics OMG-1

Audible Disease Synth Bomb

It makes my job easier when the product name writes my title for me. The Synth Bomb is a four-oscillator mono synth that uses photo sensors to control the levels of each of the oscillators. Since there's not really any pitch control don't expect to play anything approaching a melody with this.

Audible Disease Synth Bomb

The Un-Guitar

The Kitara is kind of like a Ztar fused with an iPad.

This made me think of the robot Canti from FLCL, although it looks a little bit more like Bender.

The Most Appropriate Color

The Vostok has been around for a few years but they made some design improvements and gave it a snazzy new red paint job, perfect for evoking Soviet-era imagery.

Vostok analoge synth

Modular Polyrhythmic Goodness

The 569 Quad Sequential Voltage Source (top) and the 568 Quad Sequential Trigger Source (bottom) should set even the most jaded modular synthesist's heart a flutter. Four separate synchronized or unsynchronized independent patterns can be output from these gadgets.

Lunar Experience sequencers

Bringing Audio to Video

LZX produces several eurorack-format, modular, video synthesizers/controllers that can use control voltages from your existing audio modules.

LZX Industries video synth modules

The Sum Remains the Same

At more than $20,000 U.S., the cost of the new incarnation of the new Fairlight CMI is uncomfortably close to that of the original. Isn't technology supposed to get cheaper?

It that's a bit too much money, you can have the original Fairlight CMI on your iPad or iPhone for $10.

new Fairlight CMI

Of Course You Do

As a former trombone player and music-tech junkie you'd have thought I'd have heard about this before I saw it at NAMM. While the iBone has been around for a year or so, they were also showing their new iTrump app. I'll let you guess what it does.


Evolution of the Tracker

There was a whole iPad section in Hall E this year. The samplelab app really does an excellent job of utilizing the touch screen interface. It's far more than just a desktop application shoehorned into the iPad.


Music Minus One Redux

Jammit is an app that lets you play along with a tune and provide one of the instruments that's been removed from the mix. While this is not a new idea, when I popped on the headphones and listened to tracks by Deep Purple and Foreigner, I could hear that these were the original tracks, not recreations. These guys pulled off quite a coup simply gaining getting access to the original multitrack tapes.


Old School, Meet New School

With this handy little box you can interface your iOS (iPod, iPad, iPhone) with your computer and MIDI gear. At their booth it was kind of surreal to be playing an iPad music app with a relatively ancient MIDI keyboard.


Feets Don't Fail Me Now

The last entry in the iPad category is the AirTurn. With these Bluetooth momentary switches you can turn pages on your iPad sheet music app. There are already more than a dozen existing compatible apps.

  • AirTurn
  • 2525 Arapahoe Ave. E4-451
  • Boulder, CO 80302
  • (720) 381-1706

Mutant Game Boy

While this dedicated bit of music making hardware is kind of cool, the KDJ-ONE was kind of spendy for a single-application device.

Maybe they haven't heard about the iPad. Shhhhh…

  • CyberStep Communications, Inc.
  • 465 Fairchild Drive, Suite 202
  • Mountainview, CA 94043
  • (408) 309-1693

A Different Kind of Monitor

This high-tech version of poster board and sharpie provides lyrics, music, set lists, or whatever you need to have displayed on stage.

It would be particularly cool if they could combine this product with a transducer technology like this, although I suspect that high SPL's would reek havoc with the LCD.


Groove Box Evolved

It looks like they've taken a 21" LCD monitor and built it into a box with low profile encoders and buttons in strips over the display. That makes for a very flexible display with physical controls. Internally it's running a version of XP and its software can host VST instruments so you're not locked into a specific set of sounds.

Ryu vs. Traktor DJ

The MIDI Fighter controller uses classic arcade game buttons that can be used to trigger events or states in various music software applications.

  • Stokyo, LLC
  • 800 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Ste. #B-187
  • Redondo Beach, CA 90277
  • (310) 945-5777
MIDI Fighter

Amplifier Dopplegänger

From the people behind the Virus synth comes the Kemper Profiling Amp. This rather interesting box captures the sound and dynamic response of the amp, cabinet, and mic by feeding signals to the amp and analyzing the results. In theory you could profile all your favorite boutique amps and carry them around in this lunchbox.

Kemper profiling amp

No Laurel Resting

Dave Smith never seems to ever sit still. Putting him a room with Roger Linn will inevitably cause a device such as the Tempest to spring into being in a flash of heterogenesis.

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Learn Recorder the New Way

I liked the combination of pitch detection and a video game interface used here for teaching recorder.

Next Up: You Figure It Out

©2011 Barry Wood