Technology

NAMM 2016: A Little Bit of Everything

Antelope Audio Orion32+

The Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim has become a premier launching pad for new pro audio products, and while there was no dominant category this year—as in, “Everybody had a new speaker”—there were a whole lot of products that showed vast improvements or solved specific problems. Let’s get right to it.

Antelope Audio demonstrated several Orion32+ units playing more than 100 simultaneous tracks of audio from Grammy Award-winning recording and mixing engineer Brian Vibberts. The company also showed three new competitively priced product bundles, including the MP8d & Orion Studio ($4,495), MP8d & Orion32+ ($4,995) and MP32 & Orion32+($5,295).

Apogee introduced the Symphony I/O Mk II, a multichannel audio interface featuring the company’s latest converters, up to 32 channels of modular I/O, a touchscreen display, and optional microphone preamps. The new interface operates via Thunderbolt, Pro Tools HD or Waves SoundGrid network.

Apogee Symphony I/O Mk II 

 

Avid showed its new Cloud Collaboration feature coming in Pro Tools 12.5. Using the new Save Session as a Project feature, Pro Tools allows you to share files with other artists in the Avid Marketplace using a handy “share” button on each track. Your collaborators will then be able to load your files directly into Pro Tools without leaving their session, and then send them back using the same methods. Very cool.

Avid Pro Tools 12.5

 

Waves announced the shipping of the Waves Greg Wells MixCentric plug-in, created in collaboration with multiple Grammy-nominated producer, musician and mixing engineer Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry, One Republic). The plug-in offers a quick solution for putting a finishing touch on your mix.

Waves Greg Wells MixCentric

 

Asterope, maker of high-quality cables for pro audio recording, mixing, mastering and live performance applications, announced an agreement with Matchless, which will begin to offer Asterope’s cable technology as an option in select amplifiers. Asterope is also working with other audio manufacturers to evaluate installing the company’s wiring technology.

Audio-Technica introduced the ATM230 Hypercardioid dynamic instrument microphone, ideal for capturing drums and percussion. A-T also showed the AE2300 dynamic cardioid mic featuring a double-dome diaphragm, rugged, brass metal construction, and low-profile design.

Audio-Technica ATM230

 

Audiofly showed the AF100, their most affordable in-ear monitor yet. The fluid shape and durable TPE cable promise added comfort and the ability to withstand wear and tear. The AF100 comes with three pairs of single flange silicon tips, a cleaning tool, and a molded protective case to keep them safe and protected while on the go.

Audiofly AF100

 

The Auralex MudGuard v2 is a microphone shield in a multi-radii convex shape designed to direct any unwanted and off-axis acoustic energy away from the mic. The included hardware allows the MudGuard v2 to mount easily on most microphone stands and allows the user the flexibility to adjust the microphone proximity.

Auralex MudGuard v2

 

Yamaha announced the release of the HPH-MT7 headphones featuring custom drivers equipped with CCAW voice coils and powerful neodymium magnets to achieve precise definition and control even at the highest output levels. Made from aluminum wire coated in highly conductive copper, the lightweight yet powerful drivers deliver a broad frequency response of 15 to 25k Hz.

BAE Audio released two new 500 Series equalizers at NAMM, the 1066DL and 1023L, which port their 1066D and 1023 preamplifiers and make them available for 500 Series fans. The 1066 is especially well suited to guitar applications, while the 1023L takes the preamp and EQ from the Neve 1073 and adds more frequency options in the high and midrange sections.

BAE 1023L

 

Black Lion showed the Auteur MKII, featuring a revamped gain stage resulting in higher gain, lower noise, lower distortion and an extended frequency response. The MKII offers versatility and promises outstanding performance on drums, vocals and guitars.

Black Lion Auteur MKII

 

The B16 Mothership from Burl Audio is a 2U, two-slot version of the B80 Mothership. Using the same I/O cards as the B80 and a heavy-duty two-rackspace chassis, the unit employs two daughter card slots with an internal power supply and a choice of motherboards for DigiLink, MADI, Dante or SoundGrid connectivity.

Burl Audio B16 Mothership

 

The GXL-EU from CAD is designed for the multi-continent touring pro to operate within the 863 to 865 MHz frequency band, making it license free for use throughout Europe. The dual-channel GXL-EU receiver is outfitted with XLR and ¼-inch connectors, RF and AF indicator lights and volume controls.

DiGiCo announced a soon-to-be-released Stealth Core2, an upgrade to its existing Stealth Digital Processing. Stealth Core2 will provide additional processing from the audio core of every DiGiCo SD console, offering extended processing channels and functionality that can be fitted to all existing console surfaces.

DiGiCo Stealth Core2

 

Eiosis announced the E2Deesser, and AirEQ’s Air and Earth modules for the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack. The E2Deesser features Auto, which dynamically adjusts the frequency response of the sibilants, and Smooth, which brings a gentle and natural saturation.

Eiosis E2Deesser

 

Elysia presented a slick 10-year anniversary edition of the karacter 500, featuring a unique faceplate taken from a vinyl record. Karacter is a discrete Class-A 500 Series distortion module offering mastering-grade saturation, tube-style distortion or extreme waveform annihilation.

Elysis karacter 500

 

NAMM-goers saw the new RedNet A16R 16-Channel Analog I/O from Focusrite. The latest addition to Focusrite’s popular RedNet range of Dante-based audio-over-IP interfaces, the A16R features a rugged, single-rackspace all-metal enclosure matching other products in the series. The unit operates at standard sample rates up to 24-bit/192 kHz, including pull up/down, with sample rate and operating levels selected remotely via host computer software.

Focusrite RedNet A16R

 

Ultimate Ears not only had three booths, each with 10 scanning stations offering free in-ear scans to show-goers, but they also showed the second collaboration with the engineers from Capitol Studios. The UE Pro Reference Remastered high-resolution IEMs use True Tone Drivers to extend the frequency range and deliver a flat response to 18 KHz.

Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered
 

 

Genelec brought its 8320 and 8330 monitors to NAMM, featuring the company’s unique Minimum Diffraction Enclosure made of recycled die-cast aluminum, as well as the advanced Directivity Control Waveguide technology. Also in the booth was the compact 7350 subwoofer purposed for use with the 8320 and 8330.

Genelec 8320

 

IK Multimedia got small at the big show debuting the iLoud Micro Monitor, the smallest active studio reference monitoring system in the world. It comes with two bi-amplified speakers that promise an expansive stereo image, an ultra-accurate true linear frequency response, superior bass and plenty of power in a truly portable package.

IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monito

 

Mackie released the AXIS Digital Mixing System with full Dante integration. The modular AXIS system combines a 32-channel DL32R digital mixer with the innovative DC16 control surface creating a new type of live sound mixing workflow. 

Mackie AXIS Digital Mixing System

 

Melodyne 4 from Celemony offers a bevy of new features, including unique sound design through access to overtones, polyphonic audio now on multiple tracks, selection of notes across track boundaries, precise tempo detection plus better algorithms, a new interface, and more efficient workflow.

Synchro Arts was in the International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA) room upstairs at NAMM showing ReVoice 3.1. New features include a simple yet powerful toolset for manually adjusting audio timing and pitch. Also upstairs was Sonnox with its Envolution plug-in, a frequency dependent transient shaper, while Soundtoys featured Version 5 featuring all 18 Soundtoys plug-ins including a new effect rack, PrimalTap, and Little AlterBoy. No dongle required.

Synchro Arts ReVoice 3.1

 

Audionamix had ADX TRAX Pro 2.6 in its booth offering a collection of ADX algorithms, spectral editing tools and new MIDI import feature for easier pitch guide creation. The software gives audio engineers, DJs, producers and creative artists the ability to visualize and edit frequency-specific content across the full audio spectrum. Dave Pensado made an appearance and drew a crowd. Musicians and DJs also hosted demos throughout the show.

Audionamix ADX TRAX Pro 2.6

 

Optical Cables by Corning connects computers and peripherals at speeds up to 5 Gb/s through USB or up to 10 Gb/s through Thunderbolt and up to 20 Gb/s through Thunderbolt 2. There is no electromagnetic interference (EMI) with the cables, helping to ensure a smooth and balanced audio track.

UK-based manufacturer PMC used NAMM to launch its new IB1S-AIII “activated” reference monitor, a high-resolution three-way speaker that combines flexible plug-and-play design with PMC’s renowned audio quality.

PMC IB1S-AIII

 

PreSonus launched the Studio 192 Mobile USB 3 22x26 audio interface and studio command center. The Studio 192 Mobile records at up to 192 kHz and combines two digitally controlled XMAX Class-A solid-state mic preamps and premium Burr-Brown converters with 118 dB of dynamic range.

PreSonus Studio 192 Mobile

 

The MDIO-HDX Pro Tools module from Prism allows multiple Titan or Atlas units to be connected directly to an AVID Pro Tools HDX or HD Native system via AVID’s “Digilink” connection. Pro Tools users can enjoy the excellent sound quality of the Titan and Atlas A/D and D/A converters, and their equally well-regarded onboard microphone preamplifiers.

Prism MDIO-HDX

 

Sennheiser featured the HD 25 headphones in three versions aimed at different users. The classic HD 25 comes with its iconic split headband, 1.5m single-sided connection cable and a flip-away ear cup for single-sided listening. Its sister model, the HD 25 LIGHT, is the entry-level version, and the HD 25 PLUS is identical in design to the HD 25 but spoils its users with extra accessories and two included cables.

Sennheiser HD 25

 

Softube showcased the Drawmer S73 Intelligent Mastering Processor plug-in at NAMM. The processor is an enhanced multi-band compressor featuring a simple STYLE parameter to switch between readymade mastering processing techniques using multi-band compression, equalization, and mid-side processing.

Softube Drawmer S73 Intelligent Mastering Processor

 

Soundcraft brought the Si Impact Digital console featuring 40-inputs, ViSi iPad control and built-in Stagebox connectivity for I/O expansion. The Si Impact has a 32-in/32-out USB recording and playback interface that provides easy multitrack recording and playback directly from a DAW. Right out of the box, you get a free download of Ableton Live 9 Lite. 

Soundcraft Si Impact Digital

 

Vienna Symphonic Library had the newest additions to their “Dimension” series of ensemble instrument collections on hand, including Vienna Dimension Strings II, Vienna Dimension Brass II and Vienna Suite Pro offering 14 audio processing plug-ins for mixing and mastering that support surround formats up to 12.2. 

 

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