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Mix Blog Studio: Hardware Shines at NAMM

Mike Levine ended up spending time with the revival in hardware products at the recent virtual NAMM show, reminding him a bit of a typical AES event.

There was no shortage of new products at the recently completed “Believe in Music” Week, the 2021 virtual version of the annual NAMM show. Most of the buzz came from hardware products, which was a bit of a surprise.

Interestingly, it almost seemed like an AES show because there were quite a few debuts in the pro audio realm. Here’s an abbreviated look at just some of the cool new gear.

Rupert Neve Designs showed three new units, including the 5060 Centerpiece, a 24×2 desktop mixer ($7,999). The company also debuted two summing mixers, the 16x2x2 5059 Satellite ($3,999) and the relatively affordable 5057 Orbit, a 16×2 ($1,999) summing mixer.

Daking displayed its IIT ($1,699), a 2-channel version of its Mic Pre One, featuring Jensen transformers and both mic and instrument inputs.

Heritage Audio showed the Symph EQ ($1,499), a stereo master bus equalizer that’s equipped with what the company describes as the “functional equivalent” and “much more musical” version of the Baxandall topology.

Looking for a high-end converter? Lavry debuted the Savitr AD-24-200 Gold AD Converter ($8,100), which the company refers to as its “new flagship.”

H2 Audio’s Helios 2128 ($1,095) is a 500 Series re-creation of the 0011 “Type 69” module from a Helios console.

Some guitar pedals caught my eye as well. One was Chase Bliss CXM 1978 ($899). Announced in 2020 but just released, it’s a reverb pedal that harks back to early digital reverbs, specifically the Lexicon 224. Its features include 32-bit AD/DA, moving faders and stereo I/O. I heard a video demo and was quite impressed. It sounded so sweet you could use it in the studio.

Speaking of pedals, Universal Audio dipped its toes into the effects pedal realm with the announcement of three UAFX pedals: the Starlight Echo Station, the Golden Reverberator and the Astra Modulation Machine. All three are stereo, and they all will sell for $399 when they’re released. UA actually announced the pedals a few days after the show ended, but since it was a virtual show anyway, I’ll consider the pedals to be NAMM products.

That’s just a sampling of the new hardware from NAMM. It may have been a virtual show, but it featured a lot of solid products.