July 21, 2014

Best of Summer NAMM 2014

Summer NAMM might not have all the pageantry and hype that surrounds Winter NAMM, but Nashville’s conference always serves up some new and interesting products from top manufacturers. Sometimes products that weren’t ready to show at Winter NAMM get passed along to Summer NAMM and they can be just as hype-worthy as some of the offerings at the top of the year.

So what came out of Summer NAMM 2014 that’s got us intrigued? We break down the top products from this years show.

Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2

Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) have been putting out some sought after synthesizers over the decades. They have seen a resurgence in popularity within the past few years and have been putting out some pretty fantastic gear like the Tempest and the Prophet 12. Their latest instrument is the Pro 2 which Dave shows off in the video above. It’s a monophonic synthesizer with four digital oscillators, a sub-oscillator, dual analog filters, a multimode arpeggiator, tuned feedback, and analog distortion just to name a few. The real standout feature for us is the inclusion of a step sequencer with real-time input. While it is built as a monophonic synth, it is actually a 4-voice paraphonic synthesizer.

One other product coming soon from Dave Smith is for the modular enthusiasts out there. It’s called the DSM01 Curtis Filter and it’s the first modular piece to come from DSI. The Curtis Filter is a resonant low pass filter with switches to control the slope at -12db or -24db, as well as a switch for the boost. As of now there are no sound demos out there so keep a look out for those as the year rolls on.

The Pro 2 will set you back with a hefty price tag, but it’s well worth the money if you are in the market for a new professional synthesizer. You can read more about the Pro 2 on the Dave Smith Instruments website.

Novation Launch Control XL

Capitalizing on their already popular line of LaunchPad products, Novation have released the perfect compliment to your LaunchPad S with the Launch Control XL. It has all the features that the LaunchPad lacks with faders, knobs and additional pads. It integrates perfectly with Ableton Live but since it is a MIDI controller, it has the potential to be mapped to your preferred DAW. If you don’t have software, the Launch Control XL ships with Ableton Live Lite. In terms of functionality it is very similar to the Launch Control but with an expansion on the number of knobs, faders, and pads you have at your disposal to control. It looks great in terms of a performance controller but it can also be used in the studio for simpler solutions like recording effects, levels, or panning automation on a control surface rather than a keyboard and mouse.

No details on pricing at the this time but you can read more about the Launch Control XL on the Novation website.

Pioneer PLX-1000

This is a great year for the vinyl enthusiasts out there with the release of a new Pionner turntable dubbed the PLX-1000. You can watch the video above to check out some legendary DJs doing cuts and talking about what they like on the PLX-1000. On the surface it looks like any other turntable but Pioneer has gone to great lengths in improving sound quality through stable design. Underneath the zinc die-cast chassis is a thick vibration-damping material which is great for scratching. The tone arm has a rubber insulation, protecting the cables from any playback anomalies.

All of the usual suspects are there with tempo control, a user friendly layout, and RCA phono outputs. If you want to read more you can check out the PLX-1000 at the Pioneer website.

TC Helicon Play Electric

TC Helicon debuted their new pedal for the guitar playing vocalist called the Play Electric. Those of you familiar with TC Helicon know they have been putting out a lot of vocal FX pedals and guitar FX pedals. This pedal combines guitar and vocal effects so you can have tones which compliment your vocals and guitar. The guitar effects are modeled after their popular Tone Print pedals and the pedal also includes tons of amp models for you to select and tweak till your heart’s content. There is also a performance looper which can be just as useful for performances as it is doing your own sound check. Vocalists will find lots of FX options for harmonies, delay, reverb, and a whole host of tweakable vocal effects.

No official word on pricing yet but you can check out all the features on the TC Helicon website.

Presonus AudioBox iSeries

Presonus are releasing two models of audio interfaces that connect directly to your iOS device or computer called the AudioBox iOne and iTwo. The great thing about these is you don’t need the Apple Camera Connection Kit to get your iPad connected. The back of the unit features a USB input so no matter if you have a Lightning or 30 pin iPad connection, you can still connect to the interface with the USB end. The iOne and the iTwo have one and two mic/instrument inputs respectively, 48v Phantom Power, and record at 24 bit 96kHz. The real power is when you connect this to the new Capture app for the iPad to do truly mobile recording. Getting your tracks form the iPad to your computer is easy and can be done wirelessly with no problem. A great interface if you are looking for the ultimate portable recording solution.

The AudioBox iOne will retail for about $129 and the iTwo will retail for around $159. You can read more about the AudioBox iSeries on the Presonus website. 

So those are the new products from Summer NAMM 2014 that have us the most excited. If there is something you saw on the web or even from the show floor that we didn’t cover, please let us and other folks know what you liked from the show.

Many of these products will be available for purchase from as they are released so keep checking back with us to see when they are available.