It's hard to believe that Summer NAMM (SNAMM for short), held for years
in Nashville (aka Music City USA), will now hit the road. Next year's
stop will be bigger facilities in Indianapolis followed by sessions
planned for Austin. I had a great time tracking down the best of the
best new products this year amongst so many guitars, amps and drums,
so without further ado, here they are: My SNAMM Top Ten.
AKG Acoustics WMS 400 UHF Wireless
WMS 400 system is now in full production and shipping. The significant
feature of this system is that the receiver will scan and locate a clear
frequency and then transmit that data, by way of an infrared link, to
the corresponding microphone transmitter. The advantages to using this
system for the itinerant musician are obvious—every time you change
gigs you don't have to go through the trouble of finding what you think
is a clear wireless frequencies only to have police calls blast through
your PA at show time.
The entire system can be set up and working in less than one minute
and has a 120 dB dynamic range, 35 Hz to 20 kHz bandwidth with 50 mW
RF transmitter output. Up to 12 systems can be used simultaneously in
each of its two frequency bands for a maximum of 24 simultaneous systems.
WMS 400 receivers have a full display of all operating parameters changing
from green to red if any fault condition (such as low battery) is detected.
WMS 400 transmitters deliver six hours of service from a single 1.5-volt
AA battery or eight hours from the optional, NiMH rechargeable battery.
Prices start at $658 and are backed by a two-year warranty. More at: akgweb.atiba.com/pages/featured.html
Alesis CD Twin
This little jewel caught my eye first thing at the show and I must have
it! The Twin is a dual-deck CD reader/writer with a 32X max burn speed.
You can make one-to-one copies of CDs without tying up your computer
There is also a USB 2.0 connector if you do want to burn files from
your computer to CD-R or CD-RW discs. Besides making raw copies (mirror
disc images), you can burn audio, data, VCD, CD-I (CD Interactive),
CD+G and Photo CD discs. There are even stereo audio output and headphone
jacks for listening to music CDs. MSRP is $399 and you can get more
Aphex Systems 288 Audio Interface
The Model 228 is an eight-channel unidirectional audio level interface
designed for recording/mastering, broadcast, home theater and audiophile
systems. The 228 is a high-quality problem-solver for interfacing audio
between consumer-level and professional-level gear.
The 288 takes eight, discrete channels (or four stereo pairs) of –10dBv
unbalanced audio and bumps them up 11.79 dB to eight channels of pro,
+4dBu level. The front panel extended range VU meter allows for individual
calibration and monitoring of each channel. Eight, two-color signal
presence/clip lights instantly indicate if sound is present on each
channel and if overload occurs. Front panel gain trims for all eight
channels are included for balancing and matching gain. More at: www.aphex.com/228.htm
Ableton Live 4
and M-Audio announced a significant upgrade to their popular music making
software Live 3. Live 4 retains the familiar operation of previous versions
and adds MIDI instruments in the browser just like audio. You can now
drag and drop either SMF MIDI files or audio clips into your song. In
fact drag n' drop is used again when programming the new polyphonic
Simpler instrument and the Impulse percussion samplers. Notes can be
viewed, edited and created with the Clip View Editor and both MIDI and
audio are handled the same way in the editor.
A big feature is real-time quantization—amazingly tracks jump
into the grid 'on the fly' while your song plays. Finally, Live 4 has
new monitoring and track routing and view navigation for non-destructive
track setup and recording. There are eight aux sends per Live set and
tracks can feed other tracks for sub mixing and layering.
More at: www.ableton.com/index.php?main=live&sub=WhatsNew
Audio-Technica Pro Series MicrophonesThe
Winter NAMM is the favorite place to launch new products but A-T bucked
this trend by introducing their newly redesigned Pro Series line of
microphones for live sound. The Pro Series line comprises 11 models
of both dynamic and condenser models. The dynamics for vocals include:
the PRO 31/PRO 31QTR—two versions for pro and consumer, PRO 41,
and PRO 61. All have Hi-ENERGY neodymium magnets, MagnaLock switch design,
two-stage ball-type head case, gold-plated XLRM-type connector, and
the AT8470 Quiet-Flex stand clamp.
The Pro Series instrument microphones are the PRO 63 cardioid dynamic
for both vocals and instruments; the PRO 25ax hypercardioid dynamic
for instruments; the PRO 35ax Cardioid Condenser Clip-on that works
fine on saxes, tom-toms or guitars; the PRO 70 cardioid condenser lavalier;
the PRO 8HEx hypercardioid dynamic headworn offers more isolation than
the lavalier; the small PRO 37 cardioid condenser is great for acoustic
guitars; while the PRO 24 Stereo condenser provides a single-point,
X-Y pattern pickup in an affordable and rugged design. MSRPs range from
$59 to $239. More at www.audio-technica.com
—when information on these brand new mics becomes available.
BBE Sound Maxcom Dual Compressor
Maxcom is a dual compressor/limiter with gate. Oh! — And you
get the newest, fourth-generation BBE Sonic Maximizer on each channel
too! Talk about reducing your outboard rack's height and weight—this
one space unit can make a difference and it sounds good too! My first
question with compressors and gates is always: what does the audio go
through to get processed?
In this case it's the ubiquitous THAT Corporation VCA chip used just
about everywhere now. The compressor has threshold, ratio, attack, release
and output controls while the simple gate has a threshold and an external
key input jack on the rear panel. There are LED meter trees for both
input and gain reduction measurement and both balanced and unbalanced
input and output connections.
More at: www.bbesound.com/products/maxcom/index.asp
announced that the Omega is now in shipping. This is good news for everyone
waiting for this compact, single-box DAW interface. The Omega has an
8X4X2 USB I/O mixer and comes with ProTracks Plus 32-track and BIAS
Deck 3.5 SE recording programs along with Pantheon, Lexicon's own reverb
plug-in. There are eight inputs assignable in pairs to any of four simultaneous
record channels. Two of the inputs have dbx mic pre-amps, 48-volt phantom
powering, and TRS inserts jacks for adding outboard gear in the signal
Then you have four, +22 dBu TRS balanced line inputs and a S/PDIF digital
input with DAC for simultaneous analog and digital recording. The front
of the unit has a headphone jack, high impedance instrument jack, assignable
bargraph metering, peak LEDs for each input as well as eight level pots,
and monitor assignment buttons. Lastly, there are MIDI In/Out jacks
with synchronization to USB frame.
More at: www.lexiconpro.com/Omega/index.asp
Peavey Dual Deltafex
DeltaFex is a single rack space digital effects processor. There are
16 programmable effects and the flexible, dual input/output structure
for series, parallel, dual mono and sum mono operation make this one
great for any musical instrument or sound reinforcement application.
Series and Parallel modes process a stereo input signal and provide
a stereo output signal. Dual Mono mode configures the system as two
individual processors, each with its own input and output, keeping the
two effects sections separated.
Sum Mono mode works the same as Dual Mono, except it combines the two
effects into a single stereo output. Effects include multiple reverbs
and delays, compressor, pitch shifter, chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo,
rotary speaker, distortion, exciter and karaoke (vocal eliminator).
All effects are programmable and adjustable via two individual parameters
including wet/dry mix. More at: www.peavey.com/news/snamm04_dual_deltafex.cfm
WK Audio ID Controller
had to go off the convention floor to the SAE campus see the new WK
Audio ID Controller. This is an entirely software-based controller manufactured
in Germany. It was developed in conjunction with Steinberg for used
with their very popular Nuendo DAW system. Way too deep to get into
However, some features are: 12-bit touch-sensitive faders—24 of
them; 40 continuous rotary encoders; high res 30-segment meter bridge
with 28 channels and eight masters; 52 LCS displays with 378 characters—including
one display above each fader; ASCII keyboard, jog wheel, trackball and
edit macro buttons for fast editing; and all the 'analog-like' console
facilities like talkback button, mic, transport, SMPTE display, and
master control section.
More at: www.nuendouk.com/products/idcontroller.htm
Yamaha MY16 mLAN Expansion Card
available until December, the MY16-mLAN provides the interface hardware
and connections to link Yamaha's 02R96 or 01V96 digital mixers to an
mLAN network. This connection allows multiple channels of digital audio
and multiple ports of MIDI to be transmitted and controlled over a single
IEEE 1394 Firewire cable.
The 24-bit/96kHz compatible MY16-mLAN card provides up to sixteen channels
of audio I/O and goes into any of the four designated MY card slots
on the rear panel of the 02R96 or the slot on the 01V96. MY16-mLAN comes
with mLAN Patchbay application software for both Mac and Windows XP-based
More at: www.yamaha.com/proaudio