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NAMM2014 Wrap Up & Best of Show

As January draws to a close, thousands of musicians and press leave Anaheim for the desert to reclaim. The detritus of the annual holy pilgrimage may return to the sands for future archaeologists to discover, but our memories (and videos) will live on.

One of the most memorable new products announced this year is Focusrite's iTrack Dock. Looking slick as hell and offering two of their excellent Focusrite Pre-amps, this is the new dock for the new generation of iPads. The design looks so good, and is surprisingly functional with support for both iPad mini and iPad Air form factors. You can even slot in the old and busted iPad 4s. Available in the second quarter of this year for $200; giving us all some time to save up for this one.

Miselu was in the Southern California wasteland to demo their final prototype of the C.24 keyboard, which doubles as a case for older iPad generations. They shared some excellent technical details in the demo, and Miselu's Jeff Horton stopped by here to reveal that their release has been scheduled for April, also for $200.

Also at the Miselu booth were several iOS developers, including Sebastian Dittmann from Audiobus! Sebastian gave a demo of the next update, dubbed Audiobus 2, and showed off some of the new features in this version, like multiple discrete app routings.

Last year's Best of Show, the iConnectMIDI4+, has still not materialized. iConnectivity were once again showing it off this year, along with a new iConnectAUDIO4+ that will allow multiple computers and iDevices to share instrument inputs. Hopefully this is not also lost in the sands of time.

NAMM Best of Show 2014

The most exciting, and completely unexpected, announcement this year was definitely Arturia's BeatStep. This small controller offers 16-knobs, 16-pads, and a stand-alone step-sequencer. All of this will work with not only iPads and PC/Macs, but also classic analog gear via CV or MIDI Din.

Arturia have shown a lot of forethought in this design, with features like output through multiple connections simultaneously and external clock sync. It is easy to imagine a scenario where this thing is receiving a clock from a DAW, sequencing an app, while simultaneously controlling an effect app (or two) with the knobs.

I'm personally going to be grabbing one of these at release on March, and for just $100!

Reader Comments 15

Completely agree that the BeatStep is the stand-out product announcement from this show. I can't wait to see demo of this and a micro-brute tearing it up.

Behringer controller with motorized faders? I think this is something to watch, only because they've done the motorized faders in a fairly-priced package before, and they actually worked (albeit, not for more than a few years, but at their typical price-point its worth it.)

Trigger Finger Pro seems interesting to me - as I've never needed the "all-in-one studio" that Maschine boasts and I've never liked to organization of the pads on Spark (4x4 is infinitely better than 8x1). Plus that nice large screen and MIDI din out! But again, have to play with it to see how it feels. Concerned too that the hardware will be dependant on the software.

January 27, 2014  | person_outline UglyKidMoe

in the non-hardware, non-ios, category this caught my attention. in large part because of the ease of layering drum samples; but it seems to also bear a remarkable similarity to different drummer in the way it uses an lfo to modulate, and the ability to have different track speeds. hmmm


January 27, 2014  | person_outline a1

$100? Ok it's coming. Put it in the cart.

January 27, 2014  | person_outline CoopMusic247

Agree with your choice. I also liked a lot the new Moog.

January 27, 2014  | person_outline A.C.

Oh yeah, that Sub 37 looks great and sounds even better. I'm glad I don't have any room left in here or I'd be trying to scrounge together a lot of money this year!

For me, the stand out product was Elektron's Rytm. That thing is the business albeit quite expensive. Who else has ever made an analogue drum machine where each voice can have a stereo sample layered with it? Elektron are streaking out way in front of everyone right now. Their products aren't cheap and certainly not easy to learn to use either but in terms of cutting edge production, nothing comes close. I love the way they embrace the best of analogue and the best of digital too.


January 28, 2014  | person_outline Gaz

Alex from iDesignSound and I are trying to talk each other out of the RYTM, because we love our Elektron A4s and don't want to pop for the expense of a RYTM to go with them! It is a seriously tempting device... I think one of us is going to cave and it will probably be me.

An Analog 4 plus a RYTM would be an awe inspiring combo. That's a big cash splash though!

January 28, 2014  | person_outline Gaz

Overall though, I am quite disappointed by this Namm. I agree about the Beatstep and the Moog Sub37 but apart from aforementioned RYTM that's about it for me. I did not see many inspiring offerings to be honest and most stuff I thought was just a bit ho hum.

January 28, 2014  | person_outline Gaz

You should make up for the lack luster NAMM by spilling the beans on everything you know about Roland's AIRA boxes! ;)

Was there ever a NAMM where people didn't say they were dissapointed?

January 28, 2014  | person_outline Zymos

Gaz I would love to hear your thoughts on the current state of Maschine, I saw your review but outside of that I haven't seen anyone actually try to decipher what is going on at native instruments, it looks like they are having a huge head scratching moment. I can't remember any developer in recent times that has missed the opportunity to get something right and seemingly got it so wrong. it's like on one hand they kind of changed the game 4 years ago with maschine and then since then things have been so bad that it seems like they are changing the game again and getting people more interested in hardware all over again. They act like they don't know what a beatmachine drumsampler groovebox is supposed to be.

January 28, 2014  | person_outline Mr. Wonderful

Yep, that RYTM looks sweet! ...but still keen for more info on Aira. My guess is TR-8 will be include both 808 and 909 kits, with analog kicks and snares for both (hence the extended parameters on those channels) and a mixture of VA and samples for everything else. I think the TR-3 will have an analog signal path with digital control (including touchpad for inputting notes and XY control of params).

I guess I can always wait for Tim to start releasing RYTM videos before I make up my mind between the two ;-)

January 29, 2014  | person_outline Alex

Rytm is very nice but at 1500€ ($2050 usd) its $1950 more than the BeatStep! Thats a very diverse audience.

January 30, 2014  | person_outline hansendesigns

It's US$1550, so it is much more affordable than that! ;)


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