Wes’ Picks: A Quick Look Back at Winter NAMM 2013

Anaheim, Calif.—Now that I’ve returned home from the Winter NAMM show held at the Anaheim Convention Center this past Jan. 24-27, I wanted to offer some very quick thoughts on a few interesting items that caught my eye at the massive gearfest.

As always, Winter NAMM had a lot to offer the DJ and producer, in terms of new product introductions. And as a frequent contributor to DJ Times’ two review columns—Sounding Off and Making Tracks—I’m always game for new gear.

So with that in mind, here were some of my favorites that I saw while strolling the showfloor with DJ Times staff:

From Trusst: Goal Post Kit & MotionDrape LED. From Trusst: Goal Post Kit & MotionDrape LED.

Trusst, a new trussing brand from lighting maker Chauvet, was showing the new Goal Post Kit, which can be used to create a great booth backdrop for the mobile DJ, and while disassembled still fits in a single, compact, portable bag. Add Chauvet’s MotionDrape LED—perfectly matched size-wise for the Goal Post Kit—to add 176 LEDs’ worth of animated effects for an even more compelling presentation. Both available now.

Has the influence of Nintendo’s venerable Wii gaming system reached DJs? It appears so; Numark was showing their new Orbit, a wireless, programmable MIDI controller for DJs. Think wireless game controller here—it’s about that size, sports an array of buttons and a rotary knob, and is designed for two-handed use. The sizzle comes from the inclusion of accelerometers that allow you (for example) to control an effect parameter by tilting the controller, Wii-style. Scheduled for mid-year availability.

Blast from the Past: Korg’s MS-20 mini synth. Blast from the Past: Korg’s MS-20 mini synth.

Even in the age of DAWs and software-based instruments, it was clear at NAMM that hardware-based synths are still going strong in every music genre. Korg introduced the MS-20 mini, an updated version of the classic, circa-1978 (and still highly sought-after) MS-20. And Dave Smith Instruments took the wraps off the Prophet 12, with 12-voice polyphony—each one with four oscillators, filters and analog VCAs. With a range of sound sculpting options, it makes for some pretty heady sound generating capabilities, as well as pure fun at the keyboard. The Prophet 12 is expected to ship Q2 this year, while the MS-20 mini is slated for April.

On the home recording front, Blue Microphones was showing its new Nessiemicrophone—an unusual USB microphone designed to make recording vocals a bit less problematic. Blue makes the analogy of the red-eye reduction built into many cameras these days. Similarly, Nessie’s design and on-board smarts control plosives, and rumble, while automatically de-essing and controlling EQ and level, promising a better result with less effort in less-than-ideal conditions. Shipping later this year.

Distributed by Mixware, the Electrix Tweaker. Distributed by Mixware, the Electrix Tweaker.

Distributed Stateside by Mixware, the Electrix Tweaker is a performance MIDI controller that’s been talked about for awhile, but is now shipping. With supplied mappings (and panel overlays) for Traktor and Ableton Live, its array of 32 buttons, 8 velocity-sensitive pads, 6 push encoders and other elements, provides comprehensive control over even complex software operations, such as Traktor’s granular effects capabilities—all in a package that’s decidedly outside the DJ controller norm. Available now.

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