Pre-Namm Banter

I leave for the NAMM summer session this week. Good, because it means I’ll be able to check out some really great music products and my office friday will be this wednesday. Bad, because we come back on sunday (some great workshops are going to be on sunday) and I’ll really have no relaxing weekend.

Still, there are some interesting products I want to check out.

  1. Trigger Finger The Trigger Finger looks like a fantastic product. Not only is it meant to act as a drum controller (check out the demo video on M-Audio’s site) but it can also trigger samples and send out other midi controller messages (filter sweeps, panning, etc). It looks like a standard AKAI MPC module, which I think is very cool for people who are migrating from hardware to software.

  2. Keystation Pro 88 If I were a pianist I would jump all over this thing, but as a guy who likes to program with a mouse and keyboard and only uses the keyboard to bang out chords, it’s not something that’s easily justifiable at its current pricetag. Still, I want to play with it. It’s supposed to feel like a real piano, plus there are a whole ton of knobs and slider that it could make a decent DAW controller.

  3. UC-33e Okay, last M-Audio product. I’d never buy this unless they do a real good job demoing it. I do want something to control FX and things for live setups, but then again, how many knobs does one person need?

  4. Saffire I saw an ad for this product and thought about how much my Firewire Audiophile is lacking when it comes to recording possibilities (DJing is something else). The Saffire comes with DSP processing, which means that when using compatible plugins it shouldn’t make my Powerbook G4 sweat. Plus, it comes with both line and XLR inputs, which is much more convenient than hooking up a Behringer mixer to 1/4 inch inputs, which is what I do now. Plus, all the hardware powered plugins are available as VST and AUs, which is a blessing if for some reason I ever switch from Logic Pro (which I may never do!). Also comes with Cubase LE, but I believe that Cubase is the devil, but maybe it’s better these days. I have no idea if Focusrite is going to be at the show.

  5. C01U – USB Condensor Microphone This is a piece of gear you see and you just wonder to yourself why nobody thought of this sooner. It’s a standard condensor microphone, but instead of an XLR connector it features a USB connector. That’s great for people just getting into recording onto a computer (Garageband users). I’m curious as to how it works, if it’s locked into 48/24, how well it integrates into DAW, and the sound. I bought an SM58 for home recording purposes 3 years ago before I knew anything about microphones (still don’t to this day really, but I do know that I should’ve gotten a condensor instead of a dynamic mic). If this was out 3 years ago I may have jumped on it. It’s only $80.

  6. Reason 3.0 I’ve tried the demo and I liked it, although the sequencer is still a bit clunky to use compared to Logic (although it’s better than Cubase’s). Although this update comes with mastering tools, the new Combinator device and a smaller 6 input mixer, I’m much more interested in the new sound bank. It’s got a glitch category that I’ve been dying to hear (not included in the demo). Plus, it’s supposed to load samples MUCH faster and Remote (plugin your Oxygen 8 or whatever MIDI controller you’ve got and it JUST WORKS – everything, all the knobs, sliders, etc) is also an attractive feature. At $130 to upgrade I should’ve probably gotten it already, but I haven’t worked out my potential in 2.5 yet. I’m under the belief that if I can’t create something really good in 2.5, there’s no point in upgrading because the creativity just isn’t there. It’s coming. I can’t wait to share it. I just have to finish producing it.

  7. DJ Stuff Sort of a work and play thing for me. They say that the DJ market has finished maturing, but I don’t know anyone who’s got any of this kind of equipment. I’m not familiar with American DJ’s product lines, so it’s about time I did so. I’d also like to check out Numark if they’ve got a booth.

This is really all I can think of for now. I’ll probably be spending time at the M-Audio booth. I’m not sure if Propellerhead will be there, but I think Line 6 will be, and since they’re the new Reason distributors I would think they’d be showing it off. I would like to see a demo of Ableton Live 5.

What’s interesting to me is that the NAMM show is going to be full of a variety of musical instruments…even the electronic stuff is there. Every music store I’ve gone into neglects this kind of stuff because everybody still wants to learn how to play the guitar. I was in one store that had software…it was a version of Cakewalk from a long time ago. I’m glad that for at least a few days I can be someplace where I can actually see these products in person. I’m hoping that this trade show will make me as motivated and inspired as I was when I saw Derek Sivers at CMJ. I think I need to feel that way again right now more than ever.