Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …


The Best New Stuff from NAMM, in Videos: Akai, Arturia, Livid, Moog, Smithson-Martin, Teenage Engineering

Can I have this fun, wacky, sound-shaping Arturia monosynth and the new Moog Minitaur, please? Actually, at their prices, you really could – and still spend less than the cost of a lot of standalone synths. There’s lots of new stuff for musicians. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave some of it out, and skip to what’s really interesting. Neil Bufkin did a great job last year covering NAMM for CDM, shooting some lo-fi, informal videos that got right to the heart of what we wanted to know. So, I’m pleased to share Neil’s work again, since …


The Live Mixer, Reimagined, in a Futuristic Touchscreen Device from Line 6

Photo: Marsha Vdovin, snapped for CDM in the mood lighting of the Line 6 press room at the NAMM show. Few things are as essential to music making as the experience of a live show. So it’s about time someone took some risks to see if there’s a better way to run live sound. Line 6’s new StageScape M20d is important because it does just that – it finally says the mixer as you know it doesn’t have to be sacred, and tries to build a better one. Traditionalists might be skeptical – and with good reason, as we see …

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Teenage Engineering: Opbox Sensors and Shoes, OP-1 Drums and MIDI Sync

Stockholm-based design technistas and boutique synth shop Teenage Engineering have evidently worked out how to keep busy and brighten those dark Swedish winters. They showed up in Southern California this week with a slew of new stuff to show off. And while mention of their OP-1 synth may elicit controversy in comment threads online, their booths are crowd pleasers. In contrast to the buttoned-up, business-like atmosphere of a lot of tech vendors at NAMM, TE’s whimsical science lab seems to spill out onto the show floor, and – along with more analog-tilted booths Big City and Analog Haven – attracted …


Apollo: UA Adds Low-Latency Effects in Audio Interface, Proves FireWire, Thunderbolt are Cool

Universal Audio has long had a successful business selling hardware DSP effects, many of them carefully-modeling classic analog gear. These products use dedicated DSP hardware for number-crunching, requiring that you connect an extra box to your computer. UA has certainly had their loyalists, and for fans of the products, the dedicated gear is simply a convenient way to get all of these sound-processing goodies. But it’s fair to ask the question, as many producers have who read this site, what’s the advantage? Why not simply use native processing on your computer? Apollo, UA’s new hardware, answers that question more emphatically. …


Casio’s New Synth Keyboards: Workstation Keyboards for Synth Rockers, DJs, Organists?

From top: “DJ,” “performance” versions of the new Casio synth, though the functionality of each is fairly close. Photos from Casio, and yes, it’s time to get better photos. What if a workstation arrangement keyboard were designed for DJs and synth rockers instead of, uh, whoever normally buys workstation arranger keyboards? Casio has taken the wraps off their new keyboards, and they appear to be affordable, all-in-one electronic beasts. Oh, except one of them has an organ. And an arpeggiator and step sequencer. So you can certainly step-sequence your drawbar organ, if you like. There are also some retro-Casio CZ …


One More Teaser: KORG Kaoss in Store?

I think I’m going to have to start teasing random projects I’m doing, like taking a picture of the corner of a dirty dish before I do the dishes, or showing a corner of my shoe before I tie them in the morning. But here’s one more teaser for you, especially since Americans today have the day off. One reader tips us off to an image inserted in iKaossilator. It sure looks like a new KAOSS product. Aaron lazytrap writes some reasonable speculation: New KP, red & yellow = Kaossilator+KP in one h/w box? New `tribe (play/stop buttons)? Hrmn. I’m …