Winter NAMM:Tricky Brings Out Great New Gear & More

Despite

a struggling economy that has mercilessly hit all sides of the music industry,

from magazines to music stores, the 2009 winter NAMM show brought close to

86,000 attendees to the Anaheim

Convention Center on

January 14 – 18, and plenty of new gear was on display.

     

Whether

your preference is songwriting, performing, DJ’ing or producing, there was

something for everyone at the show. In this two-part series, we’ll overview

some of the products that were introduced and demoed.

    

When it

comes to producing and mixing, the pros turn to SSL (www.solid-state-logic.com).

Timbaland has the Matrix SuperAnalogue™ console in his tour bus and X-Racks in

his stage setup. Matrix, a 16-channel, 40-input mixing console, is unique in

that it has no mic pre’s or EQ’s on the board. From the analog side, Matrix is

purely a mix bus, with inbuilt signal router and multi-layer digital

workstation control.

    

Mega-producer

Tricky Stewart’s Triangle Sound Studios houses the SSL AWS 900+ SE consoles.

That’s Stewart and his SSL’s behind hits for Mariah Carey, Jamie Foxx, Usher,

Jesse McCartney, Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Beyoncé.

    

Most of

us aren’t in the financial bracket to own a Matrix or AWS, but that doesn’t

mean SSL is out of your league. The Duende Plug-in collection brings the sounds

of an SSL to you at a price point you can handle. Duende Mini and Duende PCIe

hardware are new cost-effective bundles that include the DSP and Bus Compressor

Plug-in Upgrade for Mini and/or the complete SSL Plug-in Collection.

    

You have

a studio. Maybe you have a room, or even a venue, where ambiance is paramount

to creativity. You want it to look as sharp as it sounds. Auralex Acoustics (www.auralex.com) can help.SonicPrint

Acoustic Panels are custom-printed, artistic ProPanels that are fabric-covered

and designed as artwork. They allow printing in high resolution to

customize anything from a band name to a logo. Choose from hundreds of colors

and designs, or create your own. The options are endless.

    

SonoLux

ELiTE Fiber optic acoustical panels aren’t cheap ($1975 – $3000), but they

incorporate Auralex’s best-selling ProPanels with iSky’s fiber optic lighting.

Choose from three different kits: six 24×24, six 30×30 or two 48×48. Simply

plug and play, and watch these LED-based, midnight-blue panels glimmer like the

night sky. Good for 70,000 hours of continuous use.

    

EcoTech

brand acoustic panels make it easy to “go green” and reduce your environmental

footprint with your acoustics. Made of 65 percent recycled polyester, they are

devoid of harmful Chlorofluorocarbons and offer the next step in Auralex’s

innovative environmental products, following their 2008 introduction of the

first “green” acoustical foam product on the market, Eco-Friendly StudioFoam.

     

The Room Analysis Kit ($299) takes all the guesswork out of

trying to sweep the room yourself, as well as saving you time and money. The

user-friendly kit includes a Behringer ECM8000 omni-directional measurement

microphone, USB drive featuring swept sine signals, and a complete

instructional guide for acoustic analysis. Room Analysis Plus is an included

service that allows you to record the sweep, e-mail the file and analysis form

to Auralex, and they’ll send you a professional acoustic analysis and any

necessary solutions within three to five business days.  

    

You

love the beats, but you want something different. EastWest

(www.soundsonline.com), a leader in virtual instrument software development,

has new percussion libraries that you’ll want to consider.

    

Quantum

Leap SD2 – The Next Generation Upgrade ($199) delivers 2.5 gigs of percussive

sounds featuring a variety of strike and brush solos and ensemble recordings.

Chinese Lion Drums, a Middle Earth Ensemble, Persian Battle Drums and Trailer

Toms are among the featured rhythms. The pre-mixed MIDI

performances, created with Roland V-Drums and Zendrum percussion controllers,

allow complete user customization.

    

Quantum

Leap SILK – The Virtual (software) Instrument ($595) features a collection of

historic and unique string and woodwind instruments from China, Persia

and India. All

are multi-sampled with extreme attention to detail, and also allow user

adaptation and micro-tunings for control.

    

PLAY

2.0 features editing capabilities using the same software that programs

PLAY-powered virtual instrument collections. PLAY 2.0 is available as a paid

download from the company’s website,

www.soundsonline.com and

www.soundsonline-europe.com, and offers a user-friendly, standard

interface.From Denon DJ (www.denondj.com) comes the new DN-S3700 Digital Media Turntable, a hybrid digital/analog design

with USB and MIDI control with Sound Card for Mac or PC software. A built-in

authentic vinyl record for surface control is driven by Denon DJ’s High Torque

Direct Drive Motor, providing users with the feel of true vinyl. New features

include three Auto loops with real-time loop length adjust and loop trim capabilities,

and an easy-to-read display providing information on hot start, auto loop and

break point data.

 

The DN-S3700’s 9-inch platter, mounted with real vinyl, is

constructed with an ultra high-resolution pulse sensor mechanism to accurately

reproduce the subtlest or swiftest scratching movements made by the human hand.

The platter can perform pitch bending, frame searching and quick file

navigation from external USB devices. An illuminated

Slot-In CD Player offers support through CD, CD-R, CD-RW and CD-TEXT. The External

USB Device Support connects to an iPod, USB drive and large hard drives.

   

Hercules’ (www.hercules.com) new DJ Control Steel for Mac and PC

($299, including carrying case) is a professional controller and dual deck

mixer with EQ and volume controls. Bundled with Virtual DJ 5 for PC and Mac,

and compatible with other software, it’s the perfect out-of-the-box solution

for mobile DJs. New features include three kill switches, mic input, and

headphone input on the tops and side of the console. The central steel plate is

removable and can be customized.

    

Note: The

bundled version Virtual DJ is 3.3, which is locked to the controller. The

latest (unlocked) version, 5.2.1, is available for a $100 upgrade.

    

Stanton (www.stantondj.com)

is shipping their new SCS.1d motorized turntable system ($999 deck, $699 SCS.1m

mixer). The digital SCS1 features a 10-inch motorized platter, assignable

encoders and trigger pads, and no tone arm. It can run multiple decks off of

one surface (Stanton

recommends no more than four). Control effects with the level meters, and use

the SCS.1m’s built-in FireWire audio interface for crossfading and two-way

software control.

    

DaScratch

SCS.3d is Stanton’s

latest innovative controller, and it’s a remarkable piece of work. DaScratch

operates via touch-sensitive ergonomic pads: control the scratch or scrub with

the direction and speed of your touch or multiple touches. Select one of three

operative modes: Slider, Circle or Button. Portable, PC and Mac compatible, and

USB powered, DaScratch supports Traktor, Serato, Ableton or any other MIDI compatible software. The Magnect connection system

allows you to securely snap multiple units together.

    

Coming up in Part 2, a remarkable

selection from Akai, Alesis and Numark, as well as new gear from many other

manufacturers.

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