Last week, the Anaheim Convention Centre saw thousands of music brands and fans turn up for Winter NAMM 2018. Don't know what NAMM is? Well, it's easily the biggest and most popular Audio Convention in the world! If there's anything, I mean absolutely anything you can imagine audio technology wise, it would be there at NAMM. Like most years, various brands across the board came to NAMM to showcase their best and lead the next age of innovation in music technology. This year was nothing less, so here's our 5 personal favourites out of all the products released at Winter NAMM 2018 this year:
1. Universal Audio Arrow Interface
[caption id="attachment_3677" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
Universal Audio is a highly respected company in the Pro Audio Community. They make high quality products for professional studio use and have been known for the uncompromising quality of their products through the years. Last year, they added USB 3.0 functionality to their line of Audio Interfaces. This year though, they have gone and released a brand new/highly affordable Audio Interface with Thunderbolt 3 technology! As with every Universal Audio Audio Interface, the Arrow is bus powered with 24 bit/192 KHz A/D converters. At a price tag of $499
, this interface is beyond affordable for what it provides - superior quality at a compact size, along with access to the award winning Universal Audio Technology. This is a serious game changer in the small/affordable audio interface market. Check out Sweetwater Sounds' review here:
2. Samson MediaOne M50 Powered Studio Monitors
[caption id="attachment_3678" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
Samson is a popular sound and Audio company known for it's affordable yet high quality gear. In the plethora of products they provide, they are specifically known for their Studio Monitors for mixing purposes. Well this year at NAMM, they have taken that concept and made it even bigger! The Samson MediaOne M50 Studio Monitors are brand new monitors in their range and guess what, A PAIR COMES IN AT THE PRICE OF $120!!!!!
These monitors are designed specifically for a wealth of desktop applications from gaming and video work to full on music production. It comes in-built with a studio grade 80W (40-watts per channel) studio grade A/B Amplifier. The solid wood construction is backed up by 5.25-inch polypropylene woofers and 3/4-inch silk-dome tweeters that are housed in a custom waveguide, which the company says adds smooth highs with a wide sound stage. You’ll also find rear stereo RCA and 1/8-inch inputs, a front panel headphone jack with auto muting, and a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) output for an additional subwoofer attachment or something like that. If that wasn't all, there is also a “Bass Boost switch” if you need a little more low-end. What more could you want for the meagre price tag of $120?
The Samson M50 Studio Monitors will give a serious competition to companies like PreSonus and M-Audio in terms of affordable studio monitors that provide high quality features! This seems like a perfect investment into getting into music production.
3. Sensel Morph Controller
[caption id="attachment_3679" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
The Sensel Morph Controller was launched as a Kickstarter back in 2015. Over the years, it kept gaining momentum and now finally it's been completely funded and is available to buy! The company showcased it's Morph Controller at the NAMM 2018 show. Sensel is basically a highly sensitive and high resolution Pressure pad, on top of which you can overlay silicon control surfaces. These auto configure as the magnets in the pads tell the base unit what it is.
What does that mean?
It basically means that the Sensel is something almost anyone can use. With their overlays that you can purchase ($35 each
), the Sensel can be useful to Musicians, Video Editors, Software Developers, Writers, Audio Editors etc. Whilst there are many companies that are making pressure pads for various uses, there doesn't seem to be any that is as compact and versatile is the Sensel Morph. At $299
, it is a wonderful tool for someone looking to expand their working environment. Check out SonicState.com's video of the product at NAMM 2018 here:
4. Paul Reed Smith MT15 - Mark Tremonti Signature Amplifier
[caption id="attachment_3681" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
Source: Paul Reed Smith[/caption]
Paul Reed Smith is considered to be one of the best guitar companies in the world alongside Fender and Gibson. Over the years, they have slowly ventured into the Amplifier world with their flagship PRS Archon Series amongst others. With the recent explosion of lunchbox amplifiers, PRS have now entered that market with their MT15 - a signature 15-watt amplifier head made in conjunction with Alter Bridge guitar player Mark Tremonti. Mark Tremonti has been a long time PRS endorsee and this product brings a new light to his relationship with the company as well. Most PRS products are quite pricey considering they are made in the USA with high quality control. The MT15 on the other hand is only going to be priced around $600!! This is probably one of the cheapest pieces of gear PRS currently has on their product list.
But don't let the low price tag fool you. It is the first lunchbox amplifier to feature 6L6 tubes in it's pre-amp section. The transformer of the amplifier is also bigger than most lunchbox amplifier's. That is something Tremonti wanted to specifically focus on. Another big win for the MT15 is that not only is it's dirty channel huge and barky, it also has a pristine and round clean channel. This is something that lacks in most big watt amplifiers around the market. Further, it also has an FX loop at the back so you can connect your pedals without them hitting the front. It also has a button that can turn down the wattage from 15 to 7-watts. If that wasn't enough, the amp also won the 'Best Guitar Amp' prize at the NAMM 2018 awards. Check out Sweetwater Sounds' video with Mark Tremonti about the amplifier below:
5. Apogee Symphony I/O Mk II 2×6 Special Edition
[caption id="attachment_3682" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
Source: Apogee Digital[/caption]
This year at NAMM, it's not only the cheap and affordable gear that has made a mark. Enter the Apogee Symphony I/O Mk II. The Symphony series by Apogee is an AD/DA interface designed for Mastering Engineers. The earlier model of the same has been quite popular and the new model released at NAMM 2018 is set to take that quality to another level.
Priced at $2699, the 2×6 SE takes advantage of the latest advancements in digital and analog audio technology to offer inputs with 124 dB (A) of dynamic range, THD+N of -116dB and outputs with 131dB (A) dynamic range and an astonishingly low THD+N of -118dB. Further, the converter comes programmed either for Thunderbolt use or for direct use with Pro Tools HD. It's a serious competitor for AD/DA converters given the price range. Watch Vintage King's video of the product at NAMM here:
There you have it! Here's our top 5 overall picks at Winter NAMM 2018. But don't worry, we're just getting started. Stay tuned for further lists on the plethora of products released at NAMM through this week. Until then, check all these cool products out. Who knows, you might be getting one of them to your home soon! :D