If you’ve heard anything about the NAMM show it’s how big it is, how many people, etc. etc.
Well I’m going to skip that bit and just tell you about a handful of very cool bits of gear that I found there.
Most are pro audio, but synths and guitars get a look-in too…
Chandler – REDD Microphone
Developed with Abbey Road, this is a really interesting design where the mic amp is actually built into the body of the mic.
Not only that, but you can also take a signal without amplification and run it through your favourite mic amp. I think that is unique amongst microphone designs.
Aside from all that though, it sounds amazing! A trade show is no place to do rigorous testing, but the guys from Chandler had a recording of the mic over a drum kit from a studio recording. Apparently, it was a completely untreated signal and to be honest, it blew me away.
Such a detailed and deep sound. I’ve never heard a mic sound so good on it’s own. I’d love to hear it on vocals and acoustic guitars, but I guess I need to start saving up (it’s not cheap, not at all).
Analogue Tube – AT-3 Mic-Pre
I’ve known these guys for a long time (I used to work with Simon way back when I was an in-house engineer at Metropolis Studios) and have always been a huge fan of his AT-101 compressor.
The 101 is a dead-ringer replica of the classic Fairchild 670 stereo compressor, and it’s seriously the best mix compressor I’ve ever heard. The only problem is, it’s pricey. Don’t get me wrong – it deserves to be pricey! No expense spared in parts, all hand-wired, a real work of art.
For years I’ve been nagging at Simon to develop a mic preamp worthy of the Analogue Tube badge. Something of that ultra-high quality level, but a simple enough unit that us ordinary people could afford it.
Well, he’s done it. So if you’re looking to get the very best in mic amps, go take a look at this little box of joy.
A company I hadn’t come across before, but they have a product range all ready to roll out, with compressors for sale right now. What these guys are pushing the boundaries on is the analogue / digital hybrid.
Their outboard gear is all analogue (nothing new here) and can be entirely controlled digitally via plug-ins (I love it, but a couple of companies already doing this well), on top of that, though, they run complete diagnostics of the gear when you fire it up (WHAT!). They are so ahead of the game here.
It goes so far that if you accidentally put the wrong power into your unit, it will shut down and email you to tell you what you’ve done and how to sort it out. Incredible.
Arturia – MicroFreak
A brand new synth from the company that consistently delivers quality synths. I had a little play on this for about 10 minutes and it was very impressive.
It sounds really good (lovely filter), has all sorts of waveshape options, includes an arpeggiator and many other cool features. And all in a size and shape small enough to throw in your back pack.
If you’re looking for a portable budget synth then you’ve got to check this one out.
Tree Audio – Three In The Tree
This is essentially a unit to carry three 500-series modules in a package that acts like a recording channel.
So you add a mic pre, an EQ and a compressor, then this does the metering, output level control, headphone socket (and level), bypass switching etc.
It’s built like a tank and expensive, but by far and away the most beautiful bit of gear I saw at NAMM. My pictures do it no justice at all. You have to see it in real life to appreciate its beauty!
If you are a guitarist then this is a piece of kit that will expand your tonal possibilities overnight.
It’s something that hooks over your strings near the bridge and has tiny wheels that effectively ‘bow’ the strings when you press the buttons above them. It’s like a six-string EBow that’s actually simple to play.
Apparently, this was originally designed by the guys from the band 10CC, but has been completely re-designed (hence the ‘2.0’ in the name) and re-launched with a new company and team. It’s a fascinating bit of gear, and great for guitarists wanting to create completely new textures.
NAMM ’19 Roundup
OK, so those were my highlights.
Well, those things and some really good Mexican food. I hope you found something interesting in there.
Now put your wallet away and get back to mixing!