This year instead of a booth full of gear, Moog Music paid tribute to all the synthesizer pioneers that we lost in 2016. They had quotes from various people and they asked you to find one that resonated personally. I read a quote from Morrisey about Isao Tomita that took me by surprise.
If you are extremely picky about the angle of your microphones, the Startlight is a dream come true.
When the power grid is gone you'll want to have this candle-powered effect pedal power supply.
Thank for reminding me where this came from Logan.
This intriguing bit of kit is a 17-element microphone. Using their software you can get a high degree of separation from a live recording of multiple performers which will allow you to rebalance levels without individually micing each performer.
Once you get your microphone way up in the air it's a pain to reposition it, unless you've got a robot to do your bidding.
If I read the names Argos Bleak, Bionic Lester, and Contempt I think I would have a clearer picture of their powers as super villains than I would have of the sound they might produce as synth modules.
You might expect some beet soup dish from a trendy food truck but in this case it's modules that often include obscure Russian tubes in the circuits.
As an owner of an aging back I applause this application of technology. This thing even has treads and will take your piano up and down stairs.
For not an obscene amount of money you can get short runs and prototype faceplates made up. Perfect for vaporous products in NAMM booths.
You can hate Antares for AutoTune but my biggest beef with them is discontinuing their pitch tracking synthesizer Kantos. Fortunately there is a company now making something very similar in hardware and it's suitable for interfacing with modular synths too.
With interchangeable overlays, the Morph can be a drum pad, piano keyboard, computer keyboard, knob interface, or even graphics tablet.
I got a demo of an early beta of their notation software. I really liked some of the features and I think this has some real promise.
…shared with everyone within range at 120dB via this battery-powered backpack speaker.
If your soundtrack is more personal, and experienced in a cold climate, the UGO is your goto.
A company in Japan is now manufacturing an Ondes Martenot intended for travel. It's been more than a dozen years since I've seen a company showing one of these.
The Neuman (Neuro+Human) keyboard sports a 42"x16" touch panel, which seems like a bit of overkill.
That's about all I can say about this synth because every time I stopped by the booth there wasn't anyone there who could get sound out of it.
I spent a fair amount of time with the CloseUp mic people at NAMM and I must say that I was very impressed with the quality of the captured tone and the level of isolation that they've been able to achieve with their system.
Every year I'm seeing more 3D printing at NAMM. These guys have some very high quality printers that can create guitar knobs complete with the knurls. They also have some way to print a wood-like object.
They guys at McMillen Instruments always seem to come up something new and interesting at just about every NAMM show. The K-Board Pro 4 provides X, Y, and Z data generated by each key independently, which creates all sorts of interesting modulation potential.
Bonus points for anyone who didn't read the title as the plural of axe.
I used to own the discontinued MidMod from Antares and I've heard Slate's offering but it sounds to me like Townsend has taken the mic modeling to a new level with the Sphere.
This is a browser-based four-track looper that can also transform your vocalizations into drum beats and MIDI tracks.
Roli's Blocks are interchangeable controller modules that magnetically connect in whatever order you like. It seems that Roli is trying to mainstream this technology because you can buy these at Apple Stores.
If you've got a desktop studio and you don't much room, the RM5 speakers will give you back a little bit of your desk.
©2017 Barry Wood