NAMM 2019 Production tools roundup
So you’re probably NAMM’d out – but for those living under the internet equivalent of a rock, NAMM is one of the biggest shows in the world designed for all things music making and music playing. As you can see from my other post on the DJ side of the show, its the preferred exhibition for manufacturers to release and announce the latest in their disciplines. From studio monitors to sound cards, controllers to synths – NAMM is the place to be for the latest and greatest. Heres a roundup of our highlights:
KRK Rokit G4 Series from £159 shipping March ’19
It seems everywhere you look there’s a speaker with a yellow cone in every studio since their first generation. I’m sure this will be the same with the KRK Rokit G4 series offering the most advanced options for their price point, against similar monitors on the market. The Rocket G4 series will be coming in four variants: 5”, 7”, 8” and a 10-3”. There are many DSP options across the entire range including 25 room presets, brick wall limiter and a redesigned enclosure for reduced cabinet resonance. KRK is also offering an app to help you get the most from the speakers, which adjusts EQ settings, Subwoofer bias, crossover points and polarity. There’s also a handy tool to aid with speaker placement. Future is looking very yellow, as this amount of features in monitors at this price is unrivalled.
Akai Force £1299 Shipping Feb ’19
What is basically the great-great-grandchild of the original standalone beat making systems; the MPC, the new AKAI force is a mega-powerful standalone production device which can be used for a more involving DJ set, too. Combining producers and live remixers dream of an APC, Push and a Maschine, but without any need for a laptop to be connected to make music happen. The workflow is super smooth and involving so you can produce fully in a standalone capacity. The Akai Force features step sequencing, synths, time stretching and effects all in an Ableton style. On board hosts an 8×8 full LED clip launch matrix, touch-sensitive knobs and a user expandable SATA /HDD on top o the 16GB of onboard storage. Akai has also said they will be adding Splice(!) integration with the Force and deep integration with Ableton Live. Exciting times!
Native Instruments Komplete M32 £99 Shipping March ’19
Native Instruments were also busy showing off a number of recently announced toys, including the Komplete Kontrol M32 keyboard. This is the cheapest controller keyboard from NI since they began making their own hardware, and works with all of the NKS partner plugins for deeper integration and improved workflow. It’s going to have a retail price of £99 at launch and its the perfect size to chuck in your bag if you’ve got to make music on the move. What’s more, is the M32 comes with about £100 of software and plugins making it awesome value for money, with trusted Native Instruments ruggedness.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 and Audio 2 £79 & £109 Shipping March ’19
In line with the announcement of the M32 controller keyboard, their new Audio Interfaces were on show, designed with portability and price in mind. Using a now-industry standard 129 kHz, 24-bit conversion, the Komplete Audio interfaces will help anyone to capture or play audio in a neat little box. They are both, in essence, a 2 in, 2 out configuration with the Audio 1 aimed at those doing podcasts and basic production, whilst the Audio 2 offers combi XLR-1/4” inputs and balanced outputs. Both feature a chunky volume knob and phantom power, along with a massive bundle of software to get you going.
Shure Motiv MV88+
Shure has announced their highest quality mobile recording kit to date, in the Motiv MV88+. This kit is designed for high-quality recording in the field, for use in conjunction with your phone. The kit comprises of a USB-C cable, Lighting Cable, Phone Clamp/Mic clip combo, Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod and a roll-up bag for all of the above. This really is a high-fidelity rig that can be run from your phone – whether its field recording, live performance, interviews, vocal and instrument work. The Motiv audio and video apps can assist with this with DSP modes tailored for singing, speech, acoustic instruments and high volume environments, as well as the ability to adjust mic gain and other real-time audio control. So whether using iOS or Android, the MV88+ kit is probably the best mobile mic kit coming to the market in 2019.
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Korg’s New Minilogue £565 Shipping May ’19
Korg brought along 3 brand new synthesisers to Namm, first one being the Minilogue XD – a very deserving update from the popular Minilouge, which includes features only on the behemoth flagship Prologue. One of the main additions is the digital multi-engine as the third oscillator on top of the two existing analogue oscillators. This has three modes including Noise Generator, VPM/FM (variable phase modulation) and user-definable oscillators which you can download and install. Korg also added a digital effects engine for a better ‘sheen’. Modulation delay and reverb effects can also be saved as user presets. There’s also an updated polyphonic step sequencer doubling from the original eight, and a joystick pitch/mod control rather than the diagonal stick.
Korg Volca Modular and Drum £179 and £150
Korg’s compact music makers have been popular since release, with the family growing by two as of NAMM 2019. The Korg modular takes aim at the ‘West Coast Style’ of synths, offering eight modules and 50 patch points. Its an awesome ‘first synth’ for beginners who want to embrace analogue sounds. Each of the eight modules are easy to understand and use on their own, then they can be internally connected before the addition of the pin cables. The other sibling to be announced is the Volca Drum, a compact rhythm machine in the form of a digital percussion synthesizer. Its based upon a simple trigger waveform, wave folder and overdrive for additional overtones as well as distortion. The final stage is a waveguide resonator effect which will certainly bring the sounds to life. This entire chain is controlled by Korg’s newly developed six-part DSP which purposely uses a different philosophy to the conventional drum machine.
Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre and Studio £799 and £629
By the looks of things, Arturias increase of the AudioFuse range drew lots of attention to NAMM 2019 visitors. The original AudioFuse has proven to be more than capable for its size and price, which we expect to be the case with the two new additions in the range. The Studio variant is based on 4 Mic Pre’s and an expanded monitoring section, where you can listen to any of the inputs. The 8Pre is a rack mount unit that uses 8 of the popular DiscretePro preamps, which can also act as an ADAT expander with any other interface! There are direct controls on the front panel and the rack ears double as feet if you’re using it on a desktop. Both interfaces are USB C and have a pile of connectivity – check out our website for more information on these! Expect to see these interfaces around April!
So that was our production tool lineup from NAMM 2019. Lots of tasty gear, to help you nail your performance, broadcast or recording. Any questions get in touch!