Best gear of NAMM 2020
Find out who makes the cut in this year’s roundup of best gear.
arturia keystep pro with laptop, modular rig and microfreak
NAMM 2020: Our feet are blistered and our ears are still ringing, but as the dust settles on Anaheim Convention Centre, we’re taking a moment to look back on the past four days. The new decade has brought about a tonne of great new gear, but some shine brighter than others. In this list, we take a gander at the best of the best from Winter NAMM 2020. Until next year’s show, we’re signing off.
Arturia KeyStep Pro
This NAMM, Arturia introduced a new member to its Step family: KeyStep Pro (see above). This is a MIDI controller and multi-channel polyphonic sequencer with impressive connectivity options. Over at the booth, we got exclusive drum and bass improv session from Seb Rochard, the Keystep Pro’s designer. Check it out above.
Akai MPC One
The new MPC One brings critical button-per-function workflows from old-school MPCs and pairs them with the same brain as the excellent MPC X and MPC Live. We also get confirmation that the rumoured Akai drum synth for the new MPC range will be coming very soon…
Universal Audio Luna
Universal Audio’s much-hyped DAW, Luna has more going on inside than is immediately apparent from a skim of the headlines. The system is designed to be more like working with tape than traditional DAWs, boasts Trim Automation, and the company’s first virtual instruments. Plus, the DAW itself is free to UA Thunderbolt interface owners.
Sequential Pro 3
New from Sequential at NAMM 2020 is the Pro 3, touted as a “worthy successor” to the classic Pro-One and modern Pro 2. Key to this brand-new hybrid mono/paraphonic synth are three oscillators: two VCOs with waveshaping and a third digital wavetable oscillator. Watch the video above for a detailed demonstration of the Pro 3’s wavetable capabilities.
Denon DJ Prime Series
Denon DJ may have blown Pioneer DJ out of the water with its new smart DJ consoles with built-in wi-fi streaming and 10.1-inch touchscreens. The new devices run Denon DJ’s new Engine OS for on-the-fly musical analysis, track previews and time-stretch/key-change processing. The Prime series gives you access to TIDAL, SoundCloud, Beatport and Beatsource libraries. This is quite probably the future of DJ’ing.
Presonus iOStation 24c
Pairing the Faderport with an audio interface, the iOStation 24c could be the only piece of recording gear that solo musicians/producers need. With two mic preamps, high-quality conversion, a motorised fader, transport and deep DAW control, it’s an attractive bundle and affordably priced, to boot.
Mammoth Audio Density
Designed for media composers, by media composers, the first instrument from London-based newcomers Mammoth Audio is made to be chilling, featuring a playable 300-year-old cello, a throat singer and a tuba, all recorded with hair-raising soundtracks in mind.
Novation Launchpad Pro Mk3
Novation‘s latest iteration of the popular Launchpad controller is designed to be a great partner for hybrid hardware/software synths. On the hardware front, its design highlights include a four-track, 32-step polyphonic sequencer and a pair of MIDI outs. And on the software integration side of things, it features dedicated controls for transport, tap tempo, Print To Clip and Capture MIDI for an intuitive workflow.
Korg has unveiled a successor to its classic Wavestation synth from 1990: Wavestate. The classic synth made use of a technology called Wave Sequencing to create ever-evolving pads and textures. The new synth features an updated version of that tech – Wave Sequencing 2.0 – that provides an even deeper level of control for more complex textures. Wavestate’s other highlights include 64 voices and built-in modelled effects
Nord Wave 2
The Nord Wave 2 is an absolute unit of an instrument that rolls four keyboards into one. Key among its features are a 61-note keybed with aftertouch, four independent synthesis engines, 48-voice polyphony, an arsenal of effects, modulation sources and performance mode. All for a tidy £2149. Ships in Spring 2020. Listen to it in the video above.
AMS Neve RMX16
AMS Neve has unveiled the RMX16 – a remake of the world’s first microprocessor-controlled, full-bandwidth digital reverberator. Although the RMX16 has been modelled in software with Universal Audio, this release marks the RMX16’s return as a hardware studio device, almost 40 years after its initial release. If you want to recreate the sound of the 80s, this is the reverb to do it.