The 10 biggest music tech releases at NAMM 2024
We were spoilt for choice writing this article – but we’ve managed to boil it down to the 10 most exciting NAMM 2024 launches you need to know about.
Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images
Just as we thought the popularity for the NAMM Show – one of the world’s largest music tech trade shows that’s been going since 1901 – was starting to dwindle, 2024’s winter edition swiftly became one of the most exciting yet. Taking place last week in Anaheim, California, brands such as Korg, Yamaha and Suzuki shocked us with a heft of innovative new gear releases, reigniting excitement for what will be another exciting year for new music gear.
The team here at MusicTech were there in person on the show floor to learn more about and to have a play on all of these new pieces of gear. Here’s our list of the top 10 music tech releases that took place at NAMM over the weekend:
The MicroKORG makes a macro return
There’s not much argument to be had about it: Korg stole the show this year at NAMM. We saw an updated Opsix MKII, new Nu:Tekt additions, a fun new portable record player in the form of the Handy Traxx Play. The new Grandstage X electric piano was a big deal and, of course, there was also the re-issue of the classic PS-3300 synth.
The headline act, however, had to be the genuinely unexpected return of the microKORG, a hugely popular synth/vocoder that was originally launched in 2002. The new microKORG 2 “is not just a new instrument; it’s a new chapter in synth history,” says the brand in a bold statement.
Read more about the microKORG 2.
The first new Omnichord in 26 years arrives
Ever since Gorillaz’s frontman Damon Albarn revealed that the main body of Clint Eastwood was an unedited preset from the Omnichord, Suzuki’s retro strummable synth has been on the lips of gear nerds worldwide. At NAMM, it made a long-awaited comeback with the release of the new Omnichord OM-108, set to commemorate 70 years of Suzuki Musical Instruments. It has all the character of an old school Omnichord but with new presets for modern genres such as trap and an expanded chord pallet from 84 chords to 108.
Read more about the Omnichord OM-108.
Yamaha goes portable with its SEQTRACK creation station
When Yamaha unveiled its new SEQTRACK, a portable all-in-one creation station, just before NAMM, it looked to be the headliner of the trade show. In many ways, asides from the rehashing of classic popular synths, it did.
Taking inspiration – we think it’s fair to say – from Teenage Engineering’s OP-1, the SEQTRACK is a small unit that packs in a drum machine, a sampler/synth and a modulation station so you can create a whole track in the palm of your hand. No, it’s not a big heavy analogue synth, nor is it a blast from the past. What it could be, however, is a nod towards a future of more portable, accessible music creation.
Read more about the Yamaha SEQTRACK.
AlphaTheta makes a splash with two products for on-the-move DJing
Another juicy takeaway from last week’s NAMM Show is that AlphaTheta, the parent company that owns Pioneer DJ, released two products. It also announced it would be retiring the Pioneer DJ name for future products, simply going with AlphaTheta from here on out. How huge is that?!
With big shoes to fill, it did so in style with its ultra-portable DJ setup, consisting of the Omnis-Duo, a denim blue all-in-one DJ system, and Wave-Eight, a Bluetooth speaker that caters for DJs and works seamlessly with the Omnis-Duo.
PWM gives us Mantis, a new synth built with synth legend Chris Huggett
British synth maker PWM released the Mantis, a duophonic hybrid-analogue keyboard synthesizer, in collaboration with the late synth pioneer Chris Huggett. Inspired by Huggett’s Wasp and OSCar synths, the Mantis features digital oscillators and an analogue signal path.
It was originally teased at Superbooth, and offers two oscillators and a sub-oscillator per voice, analogue filters, LFOs, envelopes, and modulation routes. Additional features include an arpeggiator, digital effects, USB MIDI control, and a 37-note semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch and velocity.
Read more about the PWM Mantis.
Audient reveals ORIA, an audio interface tailored to immersive mixing
More listeners these days are expecting to be offered the opportunity to listen to their music in spatial audio. Heck, Apple Music even recently said it would pay artists who mixed in spatial audio 10 per cent more in royalties.
That’s why when Audient launched ORIA, an all-in-one interface and monitor controller designed specifically for multi-speaker arrays, it really got us excited. That’s because it gives yet more producers and engineers the tools to mix music in this way and keep up with a growing trend. They can also do so for a lot cheaper now, thanks to ORIA, as it comes in at around $3k.
Read more about the Audient ORIA.
Heritage Audio’s i73 PRO I/O range makes “the golden era of recording available to everyone”
Heritage Audio’s new family of audio interfaces, the i73 PRO ONE, i73 PRO 2, and i73 PRO EDGE, really sparked major interest at NAMM, as the brand promised to make “the golden era of recording available to everyone”. How? Each interface features built-in Class A 73-style preamps, which is a first for USB-C interfaces. They give you varying input options and analogue warmth reminiscent of the early 1970s, which is certainly an exciting innovation.
Read more about the Heritage i73 PRO range.
Dubreq’s CPM DS-2 is modulation mayhem
Dubreq launched its updated Theremin recently, which was awesome. We were most interested, though, in the Stylophone CPM DS-2 (CPM meaning ‘compact, portable, modular’).
Key features of this small synth include two analogue oscillators, sub-oscillators, and filters, with pitch linking and hard sync options. The robust LFO section offers 14 waveforms, vintage modulated delay, and eight reverb algorithms. Additional features include built-in speaker, stereo outputs, modular patch points, and Eurorack compatibility.
Read more about the Dubreq CPM DS-2.
Korg takes the Opsix up a level with its MKII model
Korg delivered yet another new synth in the form of the Opsix MKII at NAMM. It builds on its predecessor with expanded sound components and 30 high-definition effects. With polyphony increased to 64 voices and a 16-step pattern sequencer, users can create intricate soundscapes.
Read more about the Korg Opsix MKII.
New Finnish brand Supercritical unveils a stunning desktop synth, Redshift 6
Supercritical, a new synth name from Finland, looked to make a scene at NAMM with its beautiful Redshift 6. The synth offers a versatile sound palette, from warm analogue tones to digital cleans and chaotic distortion. Featuring an analogue four-pole state variable filter and modern synth features like modulators, flexible routing, MPE, and DSP effects, Redshift 6 is described as a “Variable Character Synthesizer.”
Read more about the Supercritical Redshift 6.
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