The annual winter NAMM trade show in California is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for new gear releases. We look forward to this month’s event with some predictions of what to watch out for.
The biggest open secret in music tech over the last few months has been the fact that Akai are set to hit NAMM with two new MPCs. Thanks to leaked documents confirmed in the last few days by Akai, we know that the latest additions to the iconic sampler/sequencer workstation range are both standalone instruments, not requiring a computer like the other current models in the MPC range. The MPC Live is like a standalone MPC Touch, while the MPC X is a new flagship model. Both run an updated version 2.0 of the MPC software, introducing new features and standalone functionality.
Korg released details of the Minilogue analogue synth just before NAMM last year, and in much the same way we know at least one or two things to expect this year. The new Monologue will be getting its first major public outing (read our full review here), while there’ll also be a new version of the ARP Odyssey with full-size keys. We’re interested to see whether there’ll be any additions to the Volca range, but with the Volca Kick only a few months old it might be a little too soon to expect anything else new from Korg.
In a tweet at the start of the month, esoteric Swedes Teenage Engineering announced that they’ll be “bringing a brand new product catalogue” to the show. The contents remain a secret, but we’d guess at new Pocket Operators or perhaps a finished version of the OP-Z 16-part synth/sequencer (as featured in the main image at the top of the page).
Roland can usually be relied upon for a new product or two at major trade shows, but the extensive list of new gear released during their 909 day celebrations just four months ago could mean that we don’t see too much action in the Boutique or AIRA ranges.
Moog’s main focus in 2016 was on bringing back their old instruments. In the hardware realm, they reissued the classic Minimoog Model D, first in ‘pilot production’ form, then in full production. Meanwhile, a software emulation of the giant Model 15 modular synth was also released. The last completely new Moog was the Mother-32, announced in September 2015. By the company’s recent standards, that’s a long time. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a new addition to the range.
We noted in our recent Analog Heat review that Elektron have very quickly ascended to the level of major players in the synth and drum machine market. With the addition of the Analog Drive and Heat, they’re now also involved in the effect market. Might they expand the effect line-up? Or could we see something bigger? There have been rumours of an updated Octatrack, a completely new sampler or even another drum machine…