Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2022 Edition

Packrat Barry

Techno Geek Toys

Rocking The Reels

For all the deejays in the hizzouse, the Landscape HC-TT (Human Controlled Tape Transport) lets you manually play a cassette with your hands, thus transporting you back to the days when “hizzouse” was still hip slang. The unit is motor-free, so the speed and direction is up to the user and the results sound very much like the classic deejay scratch. Will cassettes become the new vinyl?


Whirling Out Of The Grave

It’s not often a T-Rex brings something else back from the brink of extinction, but in this case it has. The folks at T-Rex Effects have resurrected the Binson Echorec, a magnetic drum delay that was made in Italy back in the '60s and utilized by bands like Pink Floyd. It's also a great deal of fun to watch.

Future Retro

Not only does the Eclipse look like the promised flying cars of yesteryear, it's paired with a quite distinctive-looking power supply, one with a 6SL7GT tube in the preamp. The mic has switchable capsule biasing to produce two distinctive tones.


Might Be The Droid You're Looking For

While the VIP-60 might not be the sexiest mic in your locker, anyone who has fumbled in a darkened studio for the tiny pattern, high-pass, and pad switches will appreciate the big, utilitarian, can't-miss approach here.


Timber Timbre

Breaking away from the standard metal panel, the rack mount units from Tierra Audio feature a warm wood veneer.


Antipodal Approach

Instead of slavishly attempting to reproduce classic guitar amps using circuit modeling and impulse responses, Blue Cat takes a completely different approach. With Axiom, you can build whatever amp and effects chain you like using their modules. Then you can bring up multiple presets in the Tone Map and see what kind of sound you'd get halfway between two completely different setups. To me, there's something attractive about just concentrating on tone instead of fixating on preconceived vintage notions.


To Boldly Go

The Erae Touch is a big multidimensional multitouch display. In the video you can see how it can be used as a synth controller or as a sequencer display that harkens back to the big flashing lights of '60s sci-fi starships.

Just Like Being There

I saw Zylia's 360° multi-element mic in 2017, and this year I got to experience a cool VR demo. They'd recorded a chamber orchestra using several of these mics placed in and around the musicians. With the VR controller, you could then "stand" at any of the mics' locations and hear just what you'd have heard in real life. Having spent time in those sorts of environs, I can tell you it sounded very convincing.


Mic Blinders

One way to make a cardioid mic is to add vents and a path that delays the signal slightly. But say you also need an omni mic? BeesNeez created the Omni Ball to simply seal off the vents in a quick—and one would assume, reversible—omni mic conversion. A clever trick for a single capsule mic.


Transitional Technology

If you like the idea of using an MPE controller but don't want to feel like you're playing a Nerf keyboard, the Osmose might be just what you're looking for.

Even More Spirited

For its 5th birthday, Aston is producing a version of the Spirit mic with a cool industrial/retro graphic. They were showing it off at their booth next to the one-of-a-kind hand-painted Spirit shown at right. Such a shame that one’s not being mass-produced; I think engineers could get some great performances by telling the talent to sing into the redhead.


Hands Off

With the MIDI Blaster, your ability to shape sound is limited only by your dexterity— Those blessed with double-jointed fingers may be at an advantage. It sends MIDI CC data based on the distance of your hand from each of the four IR sensors, while multi-color LEDs give visual feedback. Maybe throw some shadow puppetry its way and see what you get.


Immersive VI

Sure, you can deliver stems of your score to the mixer and let them pan the elements around the surround field, but wouldn't it be more fun to use SkyDust 3D, a virtual instrument that outputs in various surround formats? Each voice is free to independently roam the room.

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

Instead of going broke buying components for your modular rig, why not spring for a Hector module? It might seem sacrilege to mix virtual digital with analog, but the much more favorable bang/buck ratio should make you a convert before too long.


Not For Everyone

A 5x5 passive matrix mixer doesn't have many common applications, but if you're doing spatial audio in the analog domain or want realtime control of sends to multiple effects, this was made just for you.



When I talk to makers at NAMM, I pride myself on quickly understanding their new product or technology. So it's noteworthy when I admit the ORNAMENT-8 has me stumped. Even after watching the video, I'm still fuzzy on the workings of this not-quite-a-step-sequencer. Apparently chaos is never far away, particularly when coupled with the LYRA-8 and PULSAR-32. I do like how the alligator clips conserve space and easily allow multiple connections. (Wow, it’s humbling when my takeaway is on a product is I like the alligator clips.)


Entropic Discernment

With joke products like Splooge, Algebraic Utility Slime, and Just. Hyperbola. Powder. on their website, you might not believe that the Recursion Studio from Entropy & Sons is something you can actually purchase. However, you'd be wrong. What is it, you ask? Why, a real-time video synthesizer, just the thing to spice up your boring live set.

The Claux

Dizzy's Lab has come up with a handy track system to get your keyboard out of the way when you want to use your control surface. When I saw the name, my mind first went to Get Smart and then zipped right along to Kentucky Fried Movie.


Pointlessly Pretty

The lights do nothing for the mic sound, but when did beauty ever need function?

Non-Western Blues

If you've tried to work with anything but equal temperament with software instruments, you know it can be a challenge. TAQS.IM has a virtual synthesizer, Kontakt library, and a mictrotuning MIDI plug-in to make producing convincing Middle Eastern instruments easy.


Audio Upgrade

This unassuming little cube is a wireless stereo mic for your iPhone. You can shoot video with their app and it will use the audio from the mic. There is also support for collaboration (with the inescapable subscription fee) and mixing and processing multiple tracks.

Next Up: You Figure It Out

©2023 Barry Wood