The best synths and gear releases from NAMM 2021
NAMM is an annual event in the United States, described as the world’s largest trade-only event for music tech products. This global music tech event will be held every January at the Anaheim Convention Centre (Anaheim, California), attracting famous musicians such as Bobby “Guitar” Bennet, Eddie Bayers, and Tony Brown to promote their own signature models and equipment. NAMM’s 2021 edition will be canceled due to pandemic safety concerns, but there will be a virtual replacement through its online show. Here are some of synths and gear releases from NAMM 2021.
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- The ARP 2600 M is one of the most iconic synths for the modern musician. Being used in countless records, movies, game soundtracks, and TV shows, the ARP 2600 M is more portable through its convenient size. Connect it to your laptop, start experimenting with the filters, pitch-bend, modulators, envelopes & improved sliders and be ready for your next studio session.
- Modwave is the successor to Korg’s DW-8000 wavetable series containing deep wavetable oscillators, clear filters, flexible modulation, extensive pattern sequencing, and hands-on control to optimize your workflow. Through Modwave’s newest features such as Kaoss Physics, and Motion Sequencing 2.0 you’ll be able to control space and time and record real-time.
- This improved version of the miniKORG 700 offers additional functionality such as an arpeggiator, reverberation, and aftertouch. The MiniKorg 700FS is an analog synthesizer, completely reproduced, and developed in collaboration with the original designer, Fumio Mieda.
- Korg’s announcing a hybrid drum machine, combining analog and digital features creating Drumlogue. This drum machine is the latest in a line of new products by Korg, offering users the ability to load in user-created samples. Its multi-effects engine lets you explore a different world of synthesis.
- The Korg Gadget VR app will put you in a virtual studio. Be in control of 22 virtual screens displaying all the tools a professional studio owns such as sequencers, mixing & mastering gear, and a complete mixer. Start creating songs in a different world.
- Korg developed a 61-key version with aftertouch of the current 37-key wave state synthesizer. Wavestate SE renewed all its current sound programs for aftertouch and added new internal programs. This synthesizer is primarily designed for performances as the front panel and knobs are made from aluminum.
- Behringer has incorporated the most important fundamentals to recreate tones that are characteristic in electronic music such as the true-to-the-original analog circuitry and the triple VCO designs. The Behringer 2600 is an analog synthesizer containing 3 VCO’s, and a multi-mode VCF within an 8U Rack-mount format. Create a lot of amazing tones from fat basses, and aggressive leads to dreamy pads and airy plucks.
- The Model 15 Modular iOS Synth app is the first Moog modular synthesizer tool created exclusively for devices. Experiment and create unique sounds through this modular synth from the 1970s by generating sounds with numerous features like the legendary Moog 921 series oscillators, and low-pass filters. At first sight, the Model 15 can be overwhelming but luckily they included 80 patches such as leads, percussions, and pads to start right away.
- Arturia teamed up with Noise Engineering to continue the evolution of Microfreak. Microfreak’s latest firmware update, V3, keeps pushing the boundaries including new oscillator modes, new presets, and a limited edition skin with 2020’s vocoder edition. Microfreak V3 contains 3 powerful new oscillator modes granting you full access to sound design.
- The Hammond SK Pro is the newest stage keyboard of Hammond’s SK Series. Specially crafted to travel lightweight but also containing the right mix of features for any player, regardless of genre. Its newest features such as the 4 included sound engines, large color display, pitch bend & modulation wheels, and the analog-modeled mono synth section will treat your senses in a way to stimulate creativity, productivity, and concentration. Use 500 factory and user patches, and multiple effects sections to blend synthesis into your performances.
- IK Multimedia announced an improved version of the popular UNO Synth containing 3 oscillators, dual filters, a 64-step sequencer, expanded CV/Gate capabilities, and 256 presets. The UNO Synth Pro comes with 37 keys to optimize your performances, a new SSI 2/4-pole LP filter with self-oscillation, envelopes, 2 LFO’s, and a 16-slot modulation matrix to run either internal and external sources.
- Roland’s Verselab MV-1 is a portable device to start or finish songs, using the auto-pitch, harmonizer, or doubler to record professional vocals. The MV-1 contains more than 3000 sounds compiled by the developers of the legendary TR-808, a 4×4 drum pad to spark your creativity while recording basslines, drums, or melodies, and a powerful interface to connect with your smartphone for easy file transfer.
- The Yamaha YC73 has been built with the same architecture as the YC61, including the revolutionary circuit modeling of Yamaha. Get your hands on organs, acoustic pianos, analog FM synths, basses, and strings, and use the ‘organ section’ to split different sounds across the keyboard for a unique performance.
- The Yamaha YC88 is the largest stage keyboard of the YC series containing 88 natural wooden keys, action graded to reproduce the weight of a grand piano. Feel the heavy or light hammers in the low and high ends and get the touch of a Yamaha acoustic piano with the unmatched all-around character of the YC.
- Sequential has been combining its legendary analog polysynth with the power of the Prophet-5, resulting in a vintage synth on your desktop. The Sequential Prophet – 5 desktop module contains the best features of the Prophet-5 such as analog VCOs, filters, new 2140 low-pass filters, and all three Prophet-5 revisions. Due to slight fluctuations and differences in the response times and frequencies of the individual VCOs, filters, and envelopes, Sequential reproduced the original analog sound of the Prophet-5 into this virtual version.
- Ashdown has made its debut in the studio monitor market with the launch of its newest nearfield monitors. The Ashdown NF-1 and NF2 speakers are developed for both home and studio projects. The optimized sealed housing of the speakers should offer a tighter low-end that rolls of in the extreme lows. Claiming to have been using sheep’s wool in the production of the speakers, which helps lower cabinet resonance by 14 percent.
- Alesis announced 3 new MIDI controllers in the Q series MKll, to optimize the performance and portability. Introducing the Qmini, Q49, and Q88 containing USB plug-and-play connections, velocity-sensitive keys, synth-action responsive ability, and essential DAW controls. Whether you are traveling or stationed in a professional studio, the new MIDI controllers are on top of their class.
- The new iD4 and iD14 MkII interfaces containing new dual headphone outputs, as well as a metallic grey finish, and bus-powered via USB 3.0. The iD14 will be more extensive including an additional set of line outputs on the back panel, for a total of six physical outputs. Audient is aiming for a revolutionary step for audio performance, comparing these affordable devices to the audio performances of the more expensive iD44.
Black Lion Audio
- The Revolution 2×2 is Black Lion Audio’s newest development, aiming for the best audio equipment and mods. This crowded bus-powered audio interface uses high-quality analog components, fully balanced for the best signal-to-noise ratio. This USB-C bus-powered audio interface is containing all of the features an interface needs such as two preamps, XLR inputs, headphone outputs, speaker outputs, and is operating up to 192kHz/24-bit.
- Decksaver is launching 14 new covers for the best equipment in the market, covering brands such as Pioneer DJ, Denon DJ, Sequential, Arturia, and Akai. Expanding their catalog with more than 250 deck savers for different machines. All of the synths, controllers, drum machines, and DJ decks are precious to every producer out there, that’s why Decksaver will help you to keep them safe.
- This Portable Vocal Booth (PVB) by Imperative Audio turns your bedroom studio into a professional one by adding this booth to your collection. It’s made out of lightweight aluminum, which makes it easy to move and store. Isolate every unwanted frequency and be ready to record crystal-clear vocals, guitars, drums, and pianos on a professional level.
Output and Barefoot Sound
- Both forces have been combined to create a nearfield monitor called Frontier. Output and Barefoot Sound found a perfect match between Output’s stylish studio furniture & music production software and Barefoot’s precise monitoring systems. Frontier ensures an accurate bass-response down to 45Hz, maximal frequency response at 25kHz, and a crossover frequency at 3000Hz.
- Pioneer has been improving on a variety of features of its latest controller, DJM-S11. The Pioneer DJM-S7 is a Bluetooth-equipped portable mixer containing 2 channels, 16 pads, and 22 Beat FX for creative sets. Play audio from any compatible mobile device, controlling loops or one-shots once performing.
- The MODEL 1.4 mixer is a renewed version of Richie Hawtin, PLAYDifferently, and Allen & Heath’s forerunner, MODEL 1. This four-track mixer offers the same analog experience as the MODEL 1 in a more compact version. Control individual sounds by using the sculpting EQ’s, high- and low-pass filters, contour filters with analog overdrive on each channel, and a three-band master EQ on the master channel.
- The Radical EXTC-SA, JX42 V2, and JX44 V2 effects pedals make stereo reamping one of the easiest things to do. Switch easily between different amps while playing live using the JX42 V2, and JX44 V2. Use the EXTC-SA to reamp different guitar pedals.
- VocAlign lets you control every detail of your vocals within its software. You can use VocAlign to stack vocals, fix the timing, correct pitch issues, and many more. If you feel you’ve lost the authenticity of the original vocal, no worries. Use the tightness controls to bring back more of the original performance, letting you find the right balance for your project.
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Image Credit: NAMM