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Certified Hits: Mix Picks NAMM’s Top 20 Product Hits

With 1,373 exhibitors and a respectable 87,569 registrants, the Winter NAMM show clearly indicated a surge in market enthusiasm—both M.I. and pro. The overall vibe at the show was gratitude that 2009 is over, and with everyone ready to move forward with new ideas, new technologies and new optimism, there were plenty of interesting new products. Here, listed alphabetically, are the Certified Hits—the Top-20 products at NAMM, selected by the editors of Mix.

A Designs The Nail Compressor

A Designs The Nail Compressor
As a complement to its The Hammer tube EQ, A Designs’ The Nail is a two-channel, stereo linkable compressor designed for tracking or stereo bus inserts. Watch the video demonstrating A Designs’ The Nail Compressor.

Akai Professional iPK25/SynthStation
Everybody’s favorite new synth at NAMM was Akai’s $99 iPK25, a 25-note keyboard your iPhone snaps into. Load the SynthStation iPhone app ($9.99) and play synth parts using your iPhone as the audio engine. It also doubles as a conventional MIDI/USB keyboard controller. Watch the Akai iPK25video.

Brace Audio DWG 1000 Digital Wireless
Brace Audio’s DWG 1000 is a little—including the cost, only $149 MAP—digital wireless system for guitar/bass. It operates in the open 2.4 GHz range and has a fast, no-hassle setup function that searches for an open frequency and then locks the receiver and transmitter onto that range. The company plans to expand its line with similar units for in-ear and handheld use.

Focusrite Octopre MkII Dynamic
The Octopre MkII Dynamic ($799) combines eight Focusrite preamps, eight VCA-based, Red 3-derived compressors and built-in 24-bit/96 kHz digital inputs and outputs. Watch the Focusrite Octopre MkII Dynamic video.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3
AmpliTube 3 ($349) from IK Multimedia offers 51 stompboxes and effects, 31 amplifier, preamp and power sections, 46 speaker cabinet models, 15 stage and studio mics, and 17 post-amp rack effects. It’s offered as VST, RTAS and Audio Units plug-in formats and as standalone software for Mac OSX and Windows. Watch the IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3 video.

JDK Audio R22 Compressor
JDK Audio’s (, part of API Audio) R22 is a hardware stereo bus compressor based on the one used in the Paragon touring console. A Thrust switch feature preserves the high-end transients when you’re really squashing the sound. Retail is $1,195. Watch the JDK Audio R22 Compressor video.

Little Labs VOG
The new VOG processor (Voice of God) from Little Labs comes in a 500 Series module format and lets users add a proximity effect without the source being close to the mic. VOG features a sweeping sharp peak resonance from 20 Hz to 300 Hz while everything below the peak is rolled off at a steep -24dB/octave. This gives the ability to focus on the low end while eliminating mush and unnecessary woofer excursion.

MOTU Ethno Instrument Version 2
Version 2 of MOTU’s
Ethno Instrument ($395) offers 21 GB of ethnic-instrument samples and
loops. Also new are new time-stretching algorithms, licensed from
IRCAM. Other features include access to a huge range of non-Western
tunings that can be applied to any instrument. So you could take a
Persian tuning, say, and apply it to a Japanese instrument. Lots of
interesting possibilities here! For more, watch the MOTU Ethno Instrument Version 2 video.

Movek myMix

Movek myMix
The first networked personal mixer/multitrack recorder is myMix from Movek.
myMix allows creating up to eight independent stereo mixes and storing
up to 18 tracks as a multitrack recording to an SD card, using a simple
interface with color LCD screen where all input channels appear as
separate named channels with control over volume, tone, pan and
effects. Stereo analog outs can route to headphones, in-ear monitors, a
main P.A. or stage wedges. Systems with more than two units connect via
standard Ethernet switches.

NewTek TriCaster TCXD300

NewTek TriCaster TCXD300
Ready for the jump to video? NewTek’s
TriCaster TCXD300 high-definition, network-quality, portable live video
production solution puts multi-camera switching, network-style virtual
sets, titling, digital disk recording, audio mixing, editing, streaming
direct to the Web and more—all in a stand-alone box (no computer
required). Priced from $3,995 to $14,995, TriCaster family units offer
simple, straightforward solutions, providing network-quality production
at a fraction of the price of the competition. Watch the NewTek TriCaster TCXD300 video.

Peavey/Muse Research MuseBox

Peavey/Muse Research MuseBox
Muse Research joined with Peavey
to create the MuseBox musical instrument and effects box, which lets
players of all types easily take software-based synths, sounds and
effects to rehearsals, gigs or to the studio. Plug-ins run at
pro-quality, 24-bit/48kHz audio and a CF card slot provides instant
access to new software synths and effects.

PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 Mixer
Besides additional inputs, the 24-input StudioLive 24.4.2 digital live console from PreSonus
expands on the earlier 16.4.2 version with added features, and offers
onboard 32-bit effects, four buses, 10 auxes and 32 outputs (and 26
returns) via FireWire for direct-to-computer recording. Street price is
$2,999, including Capture recording and Studio One Artist digital audio
workstation software for Mac and Windows. Watch the PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 Mixer video.

Primacoustic Acoustic Tools
The “why didn’t I think of this first?” nod goes to Primacoustic’s
range of inexpensive acoustic tools for live performance and studio
recording. VoxGuard is an ambient sound attenuator for recording
vocals; TrashGuard is a boom-mounted gobo for controlling spill between
instruments; the CrashGuard shield fits around a drum mic to stop
cymbal or hi-hat bleed; TriPads ($20) are shock absorbers for tripod
mic stands; Kickstand ($99) reduces drum riser resonance; KickPad is a
boundary mic isolator for miking kick drums; and Telepad is a mic stand
mount for an iPod or iPhone. Watch the Primacoustic Winter NAMM 2010 video.

Prodigy Engineering Anima 8-channel remote control preamp

Prodigy Engineering Remote Control Preamps
Prodigy Engineering
specializes in high-performance analog products with digital control,
including its Anima 8-channel remote control preamp, which integrates
with DAWs such as Logic, Pro Tools and control surfaces like ICON.
Taking control to the next step, its Bella is a single-channel mic pre
in the popular API 500-series module format, but with a front panel USB
port for remote DAW control and internal jumpers for cascading control
data when using multiple units. Watch the Prodigy Engineering Remote Control Preamps video.

QSC K Series loudspeakers

QSC K-Series Speakers
The K Series of lightweight, high-performance powered loudspeakers from QSC
feature molded ABS enclosures, 1,000 watts of onboard amplification and
1.75-inch HF devices. The line comprises the K8, K10, and K12 2-way
cabinets and the KSub dual-12 subwoofer to extend LF performance to 44
Hz. QSC’s proprietary DSP Digital Extension and Excursion Processing
(DEEP) actively manages transients for extended LF response.

Sony PCD-M10 Recorder
The Sony
PCM-M10 palm-sized compact recorder has electret condenser stereo mics,
96kHz/24-bit capability and is bundled with Sound Forge software. Watch the Sony PCD-M10 video.

Solid State Logic X-Patch
The X-Patch software-controlled routing system from Solid State Logic
brings the flexibility of plug-in style routing to boutique analog
processing. X-Patch lets you build analog processing into your favorite
processing chains and then easily place it into signal paths—for
example, favorite mic pre, EQ and dynamics processors can be recalled
as the perfect vocal chain at a single stroke. For more, watch the SSL X-Patch video.

Synthogy Ivory II Piano
The latest version of Synthogy’s
flagship software, Ivory II is easily the most realistic sampled piano
we’ve ever heard. Ever since Kurzweil released the K250,
authentic-sounding sympathetic resonance has been the holy grail of
digital-piano designers, and the folks at Synthogy have finally hit the
mark, doubling the realism of an already fine virtual instrument in the

TASCAM DR-680 Recorder

TASCAM DR-680 Recorder
The DR-680 from TASCAM
offers multichannel portable recording for pro location and surround
recordings. Up to six simultaneous tracks can be recorded to
solid-state SD card media at 96kHz/24-bit Broadcast WAV quality. It
also captures stereo audio at 192kHz/24-bit and two DR-680s can be
cascaded for up to 16-track recording. Watch the TASCAM DR-680 video.

Waves Expanded Signature Series
announced new Signature Series from Chris Lord-Alge and Jack Joseph
Puig with dedicated plug-ins for vocals, guitars, drums, etc., as well
as two plug-ins modeled from classic processors used by Eddie Kramer: a
Helios mic pre and a PIE compressor. Watch the Waves Signature Series video.

For more NAMM fun, check out our 2010 Winter NAMM microsite
with blog posts, dozens of hot videos from the show floor and our
exclusive New Products Guide. Meanwhile, Winter NAMM returns to Anaheim
next year from January 13 to 16, 2011. See you there!