Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2013 Edition

Packrat Barry

Techno Geek Toys

Oddity of the Year 2013

Sphere of Control

Aside from its dashing SciFi movie prop looks, the AlphaSphere is capable of generating MIDI notes, triggering samples, controlling step sequences, or acting as a serious controller. The pads are surprisingly squishy and can be deformed quite a distance in, and of course, the distance is another control parameter. Geeks of any flavor will be happy since it covers all the bases: MacOS, Windows, Linux and OSC support

Nu Desine Ltd.

The Real Flux Capacitor

The Akasha Synth seems to be the personal art project for JoMoX. I spent a fair amount of time with this and walked away with a foggy idea of what it does.

When you use your finger to bridge the gap between panels it sums the signal in same fashion. Each panel is a different sort of processor and it can be assembled in different ways.

This was in the same booth as Metasonix and got very close to the dreams of The Packrat.

  • JoMoX El. Musikinstrumente GmbH
  • 2.HH Aufg.1 4.OG, Körtestr. 10
  • 10967 Berlin, Germany
  • +49 (0)30 / 61 70 25 73
JoMoX El. Musikinstrumente GmbH

One Man's Toy…

Depending on your point of view, this is either a really expensive Stylophone, or a really cheap monosynth.

Dubreq Ltd.

What's In a Name?

Even though S-2000 is an incredibly tame name by Metasonix standards, it's a very cool self-contained tube synth. The ribbon controller on the front can perform like a theremin or it can quantize to notes. The unit is only 1" deep so it could easily be mounted flat into a desk.

  • Metasonix
  • 870 South Main Street, PMB 109
  • Lakeport CA 95453
  • (707) 263-5343

Living History

Don Lewis had LEO (Live Electronic Orchestra) set up in Hall E and was playing and talking about his experiences. I had no idea that he was involved with the design of some of Roland's early drum machines. The fact that many of the pioneers in electronic music are still alive underscores just how far we've come in such a short period of time.

Sleek, Sexy, and Rugged

The Base control combines touch faders and 32 MPC-like pressure sensitive pads. With an extruded aluminum frame and no moving parts, this ought to stand up well to the rigors of live performance.

Livid Instruments

Organ: The Next Generation

To go where no organ has gone before.

…that just sounds wrong…

Ringway Tech

Studio Tardis

It would be convenient to have a studio that's larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Before you Dr. Who fans get upset with me, I do know that it should be blue.

  • BAE
  • 7421 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Unit 14
  • North Hollywood, CA, 91605


Now we move from Doctor Who back to Star Trek again with a device whose name evokes images of a god-like alien and a marginal plot device.

Keith McMillen Instruments

Will o' the Wisp

The Drift Box modules are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I can't seem to find a web site, contact information or anything that indicates that these are, or will ever be available.

  • REON Corp., Ltd.
  • Osaka, Japan

Keyswitch Sidekick

Even though this thin keyboard is velocity and pressure sensitive, I could see it being useful as a dedicated keyswitching keyboard for sample libraries.


Back From The Dead

It appears that the Buchla Music Easel is going back into production as part of the SM Pro Audio acquisition of Buchla.

Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments

Bass Sucking Pillows

It seems counterintuitive that inflating a bunch of pillows hung from the ceiling could affect a hall's low frequency reverberation time very much, but Flex shows some impressive measurements. Typically you'd inflate these to tame the room for amplified music and deflate them for acoustic music. Very clever stuff.

Flex Acoustics

Steam Punk Rocker

Holophone is known for their multi-element surround sound mics but this is a single-channel mic with a Rocketeer vibe.


Defer Your Pattern Selection

I was intrigued by the Neveton Quad mic which has a separate output for each of its four diaphragms. Record all four and you can later combine the signals to create X/Y stereo, Blumlein stereo, mid-side stereo, quad or anything in-between.

Neveton Microphones

Rugged Ribbons

Ribbon mics are not known for being particularly robust, it's just not that hard to destroy a thin corrugated strip of metal. These ribbon from Sandhill can take sound pressure levels of up to 160dB, which is a good deal more than you can.

Sandhill Audio Ltd.

Gene Sequencing Beats

Liquid Rhythm takes your MIDI drum parts, analyzes them, and algorithmically creates variations on a continuum.


The Filterectomy Was Successful

Mode Machines seems to have surgically removed the filter section from a Juno-106. They also grafted on gate and CV inputs on the back.

Mode Machines

Personal Home Theater

With the built-in speakers and subwoofer, the Hi-Fi Chair makes you feel like you've got it cranked up without pissing off your family, pets or neighbors.

HiFi Company

Primordial Loop

Instead of using strips of tape pulled across heads like the Mellotron, the Birotron used an 8-track tape loop which could play indefinitely. Unfortunately the Birotron never really made it into production and was one of the earliest examples of vaporware.

Museum of Making Music

Crowd Source Backline Rental

Gear Lode is a web site that lets you list your gear for rent and connects you with the prospective renters. If this takes off, it could create an entirely new justification for buying more gear. "But honey, I will make money when rent it out."

Gear Lode

Bang on One, Wave at the Other

These "stomp boxes" are sound generators, not processors. The Drum Thing has a transducer in it and the Opto Theremin is a photo-sensitive Theremin-like device. Lots of fun noise either way.

Electro-Faustus, LLC


There are so many sound processing and sound generating iOS apps out there, why not attach the devices right to your guitar? I mean, other than the obvious aesthetic reasons.

  • Sonic Clamp
  • 9605 Jefferson Highway, Ste I, #172
  • River Ridge, LA 70123
Sonic Clamp

Synthétiseur Modulaire

The Orage Magnétique (or Magnetic Storm) is a lovely modular synth whose parameters are all labeled with astrophysical terms. Of course they're in French so they're all Greek to me.

  • eowave
  • La Cure, 58110 Tintury, France
  • +33/06 61 70 20 50

Just Like Christmas

This was just a demo of this company's LED-encrusted encoders and switches but it was simply hypnotizing in a Las Vegas Strip kind of way.

Next Up: You Figure It Out

©2013 Barry Wood