Top 10 Highlights from NAMM 2014

The NAMM experience certainly stays with you long after the show itself winds up. And this year has seen many excellent announcements and new gear on show to get excited about. Here's our highlights.  

Now the NAMM show 2014 has come to an end, we at AskAudioMag.com thought this would be a great time to share the standout new gear and news from the show. 

And, of course, expect to see a lot of new reviews for the upcoming gear coming your way on AskAudioMag.com!

Here’s our pick of the bunch in alphabetical order (by company name):

1. Akai Professional MPK Mini

Akai Pro MPK Mini

Not only is this 25-mini key controller compact and ready to perform, it also features a game-controller style 4-way thumbstick for pitch/modulation control and 8 MPC pads with note repeat functionality!

This USB-powered back-lit MIDI controller comes bundled with software in the guise of AIR Music Tech’s Hybrid 3 and the SONiVOX Wobble 2.0.

More info: http://www.akaipro.com/product/mpkmini

2. Arturia BeatStep Sequencer and Controller

Arturia BeatStep

When we saw this in action we literally couldn’t believe the extremely low price and the controllability (is that even a word?) of this portable pad controller powerhouse. As well as being able to effortlessly trigger clips in Ableton Live or play drums in your favorite drum software/DAW, BeatStep doubles up as a 16-step sequencer and features USC and CV/Gate connectivity.

More info: http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/BeatStep/intro.html

3. iZotope & BT BreakTweaker

iZotope and BT BreakTweaker

Soon after we saw BT demoing his and iZotope’s latest collaborative plug-in project... Well, we were left somewhat stunned and ran out of superlatives. BreakTweaker is capable of creating mind-bending beats, rhythms and more - regardless of your musical style.

Fortunately, AskVideo.com have created a full video course on BreakTweaker. Highly recommended!

More info: http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/breaktweaker/index.asp?hs13

4. Korg Kross Keyboard

Kord Kross keyboard

If you want performance-ready sounds in a portable and affordable package, then Korg have served up something you need to check out. As well as the more traditional acoustic sounds: piano, clavinet, church organ, etc., the sound bank in the Kross excel for EDM and electronica styles. There’s literally something here for everyone, and if you’re serious about your performances you’ll likely find the analog-style step sequencer and audio recorder more than useful.

More info: http://www.korg.com/us/products/synthesizers/kross

5. Moog Sub 37

Moog Music Sub 37

The limited edition Sub 37 from Moog Music literally sent waves throughout NAMM 2014. Based on the Sub Phatty sound engine (one synth we loved) the Sub 37 sports programmable step sequencer, two mod busses, 37 keys and Duo Mode. The later allows for oscillator 1 and 2 to be played independently leading to attractive sonic results.

More info: http://www.moogmusic.com/node/92877

6. M-Audio Trigger Finger Pro

M-Audio Trigger Finger Pro

The Trigger Finger was hugely popular, so the big question with the Pro is how the USB controller was going to get better. Adding a step sequencer helped. The 16 RGB pads feel great too. The ability to customize the controls is ultra-useful. And of course that this portable USB controller comes bundled with a selection of loop expansion packs and sound packs from the like of Mark Knight and D Ramirez helps too...

More info: http://www.m-audio.com/wnamm2014/

7. Nord Lead A1

Nord Lead A1

We started off the fun of NAMM 2014 with Nord Keyboards announcing the Nord Lead A1 analogue modelling synth. Retailing at just £1299 GBP / $1799 US this one looked tasty in the pics. And we can tell you that in the flesh it looks and sounds every bit as good as we hoped it would.

More info: http://www.nordkeyboards.com/main.asp?tm=Products&clpm=Nord_Lead_A1

8. PreSonus Studio One 2.6.2

PreSonus Studio One 2.6.2 + add-ons

It was tricky to decide on just one product from PreSonus to feature in this top 10 list... With monitors a plenty and mixing desks jumping out at us, combined with a very engaging and active presence throughout the show, we finally chose the new add-ons and update to Studio One 2.6.2. 

More info: http://www.askaudiomag.com/articles/namm-2014-presonus-introduces-add-ons-for-new-studio-one-262

9. SPL Crimson

SPL Crimson

How would you like a really quality USB audio interface, with top-quality preamps and an elaborately designed monitor controller system that is simple to use in a single, sleek and sturdy box?  

Of course this is a rhetorical question! The SPL Crimson is a special bit of kit and one we expect to see in many project to custom studios in the near future. Expect to read a review of this desirable recording/monitoring kit for iPad and Mac.

More info: http://spl.info/index.php?id=2957&L=1

10. Universal Audio Apollo Twin

UAD Apollo Twin

We may well have saved the best for last. The Apollo Twin was the talk of the show and ensured there was little free floor space around the UAD booth throughout NAMM 2014. 

You can expect 2 pristine preamps and the bundled “Realtime Analog Classics” UAD plug-in bundle. Plus the Apollo Twin runs UAD plug-ins via AU, VST, RTAS & AAX 64! This Thunderbolt 2x6 Mac desktop interface brings the classic analog sound in two models: SOLO and DUO ($699 and $899 respectively). 

We were suitably impressed and can’t wait to get hands-on with this and test out UA’s new Unison technology too.

More info: http://www.uaudio.com/twin

Stay tuned to AskAudioMag.com for in-depth, hands-on reviews of many of the above coming as soon as we can get 'em!

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More

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