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NAMM 2013 Wrap-Up & Best of Show

Alas NAMM has come to an end, but this has been a surprising year for iOS!

Everyone here knows that iOS is a big deal, but at these mega-tradeshows it tends to be ghettoized into a corner. I'm totally blown away by not only the importance manufacturers have placed on iOS compatibility, but also the press! In a video for a series of keyboards, you can hear the Sounds and Gear rep saying something along the lines of, "Uh yea, that's nice and all, but can I plug any of this into an iPad directly?"

App developers, and bloggers, have been able to comfortably ignore NAMM, because NAMM would do the same for us. Now I'm not so sure, and perhaps next year we might all have to plan to head to Anaheim.

Among the iOS highlights this year was Eventide announcing the H9, a guitar pedal that features all of their previous pedals in one box, and managed by an iOS app.

Both Roland and IK Multimedia announced new mobile monitors, specifically designed for iOS. I give the nod to IK on this one, who seriously trumped Roland with Bluetooth and even a built in iRig jack on their iLoud! At $300 it ain't cheap, but it has stereo and you'd pay about that for a stereo pair of cheap monitors.

Apogee announced a series of new iOS audio interfaces, which most people agreed were damn pretty and insanely over-priced.

Novation had a surprising announcement with the Launchkey keyboard. Not only is this a shiny new keyboard range, but they also featured a Launchpad app heavily in their demos! I can't wait to get my hands on that!

Best of Show - NAMM 2013

I believe iConnectMIDI4+ deserves the Best of Show distinction, and not just among the iOS related goodies. Sure, Korg's MS-20 mini is impressive, and at an unbelievably low price, but their iMS-20 app beats it in my mind for the workflow advantage of having presets! The iConnectMIDI4+, on the other hand, is offering something totally new and seriously innovative.

Just looking at the MIDI connectivity is jaw dropping. You can connect 3 different devices; be that a couple of iPads and a computer, or really any combination of computers and iDevices. With all 3 of these devices connected, they can now share 12 MIDI instruments. This includes 4 MIDI In/Out DINs and 8 on USB-MIDI via a powered hub! I don't know how you route MIDI in your setup, but I am forever screwing around in MIDI-Ox (Windows) to either send my keyboard to my iPad or straight into my computer. Sometimes I'll get fancy and add in my Korg nanoKontrol as well, but this whole process is a total pain in the ass. Now I can just have everything plugged into one box. I don't even have 12 MIDI instruments/controllers, but I'll be glad to have the space to grow into.

iConnectivity also revealed Audio Pass-Through Technology, which allows you to send a pure digital signal from your iPad to your computer, avoiding digital-to-analog converts that most of us use today. This has been the main problem with other "pro" docks.

iConnectMIDI4+ also features Audio Pass-through. This patent pending technology is integral to using iOS, and multiple computing devices (PC, MAC, iOS) in a professional environment by enabling the devices to pass not only MIDI data but also audio data from device to device. There are many practical applications for this technology, for example now musicians can use a daw on their MAC or PC to control a virtual instrument or other music making program on their iOS or other computing device (PC, MAC, iOS) and send the MIDI data as well as audio data back to the DAW without extra cables, or signal degradation or additional analog to digital conversion.

iConnectMIDI4+ will even charge iDevices you plug into it, a feat no USB hub can do when connecting via the camera connection kit!

To top it all off, this box of wonder is just $200! Similar boxes that just carry MIDI from a single computer start at $235. If all of that is way more than you'll ever need, or outside of your budget, there is also the iConnect2+ for around $90.

What is your pick for the Best of NAMM? Comment below, and it doesn't have to be iOS related.

Reader Comments 15

deep pocketed app developers can make road trips

January 29, 2013  | person_outline a1

The iConnect looks super-sweet. As much as I love iOS, Logic is still the center of the universe for me. Being able to cleanly connect audio and MIDI to an iPad is a big win.

January 29, 2013  | person_outline Fessaboy/Secret Base Design

For me, iConnect beats them all! I can't remember how long i've been searching for a midi router/patchbay that could serve as mobile companion. I will get it for sure :)

January 29, 2013  | person_outline SenhorLampada

I didn't follow much of the play by play but i got the chubbiest about the Prohpet 12


January 29, 2013  | person_outline Will


18 x 18 class compliant usb i/o ! In addition to 16 channel/8 bus digital mixer with dynamics & eq.

If this can interface hardware inputs and ipad apps simultaneously it answers my prayers !

January 29, 2013  | person_outline sparkle

I'm looking at this as a device to connect USB powered midi keyboard to my Alessis IOdock. Hard to tell in the three new models which will power a USB compliant device. I only use my iPad and no desktop daw and only have one midi keyboard, but anticipate getting a few more devices over time. Can you advise which model will work best for me.

January 29, 2013  | person_outline Slatemass

so this iConnectMIDI4+ thingy.... will it allow me to connect something like a maschine (not usb class compliant) via its midi output to an ipad - all through the iconect?

Anything other than the most basic of midi theory goes way over my head!

January 29, 2013  | person_outline Tom

I don't think maschine will work because of maschine a software. The midi controller aspect might work with a high powered hub. Alesis io dock kinda becomes redundant except for analog recording of course. Does anyone know if the icm2 has audio pass through also?

January 30, 2013  | person_outline Hogo

@Hogo yup. see the demo.

January 30, 2013  | person_outline a1

interestingly they've apparently reversed their earlier position regarding wireless (see bottom here http://www.iconnectivity.com/iConnectMIDI) , the 4+ includes an ethernet port, so midi over wifi should enable just about any configuration including maschine to ipad (at least indirectly, via pc, if you have the driver).
surely they're not promising zero latency though (ahem) (off topic)

January 30, 2013  | person_outline a1

Thanks for giving us the nod! We had a blast at NAMM 2013. :)

January 30, 2013  | person_outline IK Multimedia

Very nice! This will be interesting. And shake midi is dope :)

January 30, 2013  | person_outline Hogo

IConnectMIDI is easily best of show simply due to its audio pass-through feature. Their older product (which I own) is invaluable for PC to IOS MIDI and vice-versa. Plus, the charging capability just tops the whole thing off. Yeah, MS-20 is cool but on the other hand, you can digitally stream output from iMS20 with the IConnectMIDI, ha.

January 30, 2013  | person_outline Empolo

My Best of Show - NAMM 2013 is also the iConnectMIDI4+/iConnectMIDI2+ . I hoped for more videos from NAMM about it and more demos, but hopefully I get my hands on it at Musikmesse Frankfurt in April.

January 30, 2013  | person_outline cbmainz

The new iconnectmidi interfaces totally rule! Audio passthrough is genius. I'm imagining properly integrating iPad into my DAW. I think it's an incredible game-changer. Other than that, I'm pretty excited by the MS-20 mini. I know some people have been hating on it for various reasons, but I think it's great to see a big company like Korg making a serious analogue synth in 2013.. It's interesting that Tim rates the iMS20 so highly. It was one of the first apps I got. Although I think it's great, I've always found it a little unwieldy because it's trying to pack so much into the user interface. That's my two cents.

February 26, 2013  | person_outline KissTheBeauty

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