In no particular order, here are my highlights from NAMM 2013.
Vintage Vibe LLC
Clavinet remake! It’s called the Vibanet and it plays and sounds better than the real thing. I can say this because I’ve owned a Clavinet D6 for over a decade now. They’re also making Clavinet strings which is a huge relief because the only Clav strings out there suck. I paid a lot of money to get mine restrung in 2011 and the crossover in string thickness is so noticeable that I get disappointed every time I play it. Not the kind of experience you want from a vintage keyboard. Check out http://www.vintagevibe.com.
Keith McMillen Instruments
Really cool Controllers.
Sean Halley showed me some hybrid picking techniques. He also talked about building his own gear and I should follow up with him on that because he’s saving a ton of money while building a killer studio. The new L2t loud speakers are nice. I have a L3t and love it.
H9 harmonizer. Due March 2013.
CME Pte. Ltd.
Xkey MIDI controller. Looks just like an Apple keyboard. Didn’t feel great but it’s usable and a nice size if a bit heavy at 1.3 lbs.
HTML5 scoring app from a Cambridge, MA company. I like the idea of embedding scores on my web pages.
Score cleaner did a good job of interpreting a jazz solo I played. I’ve been looking for a fast and light weight way to score and transcribe. This was the closest thing I found. Lounge Lizard is a physical modeling virtual instrument. The video demo on the site has some hot playing.
Next preamp on my buy list is a Neve 1073. This clone is probably the one. A 500 series 1073d.
PSPaudioware.com makes excellent plugins. I’m looking forward to seeing their VU metering plugin get an update.
Eleven Dimensions Media, LLC
The Pitchmap demo was pretty extraordinary even if I don’t see myself using it. DJs and remixers will probably love it. I met Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher at the booth.
Davis Muller Instruments, Inc.
A B3 clone I haven’t seen before.
I live next to a firehouse, police station, hospital, and middle school so this vocal booth could solve all the interrupted recordings I make.
My ultimate vocal chain would probably include a Tube Tech CL1b.
Wild speaker design. Awful site design though.
Speaker stands. My monitors are on Auralex now.
Crazy controller guitar! If you want a laptop guitar rig, this instrument will control anything and everything. I want one.
I’m getting an i series acoustic case for my Gibson Hummingbird. I travel with a Mono Case and an electric usually but the hassles have been increasing. Just try to take your guitar to the gate with a small suitcase and personal carry on. It only takes one TSA agent to make your travel day extra shitty.
Four Force, LLC
Extremely light amps.
Triple Play Wireless Guitar Controller. Due early summer. Had some latency issues in the demo but is a great idea. They tested it with Notion which is another contender for fast scoring and transcribing.
Modular vocal booth, gobos, and general soundproofing.
New Zoom pedals.
EC Custom Shop
Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc.
I love my Peterson Bodybeat. Also in their booth was Sonuus pitch to midi hardware, G2m guitar-to-midi iPhone/iPad app, and the sick Wahoo filter pedal.
These guys blew my mind last year. This year they added new rack versions as well as powered versions. I have most amp modelers but Kemper fills a hole the others don’t yet.
Ever since I sold my Leslie a few years ago I’ve been kicking myself. I knew it wouldn’t be hard to replace but I just really miss the sound. Hammond is coming out with a smaller Leslie Studio 12 that I’m definitely getting for the gig. They’re also coming out with a digital Leslie pedal that I’m sure to get. The other cool thing was the distressed finishes they’re offering. It makes me thing of getting one but I’m going to go the vintage route and buy a Hammond B3 and Leslie this year for the home and stick to my Nord C1 for live. I see good deals hit Craig’s List regularly and I’m saving the cash to pounce on one.
Korg USA, Inc.
I already put a Korg MS-20 Mini on order with Sweetwater. This was probably my second favorite thing at NAMM right after the Vibanet. The new Kaossilator Pro + also looks really cool, especially as an input to the MS-20.
P3 Phantom Powered Pedal System
Phantom powered pedals and mods. Batteries are a pain in the ass.
Manley Laboratories, Inc.
Wouldn’t kick a Manley VoxBox out of the studio.
Gotta get my soldering gun out and start practicing. Save some money and DIY.
Mix With The Masters
Al Schmitt and CLA in May 2013. Michael Brauer in August. Definitely planning a future trip to mix with the masters.
One of my all time favorite synth manufacturers. I’ve got a Stage Compact 73 and C1. The new Electros look cool, especially the 4D. If I could, I would get a new C2D, a Stage 2 73 for gigging, and Stage 2 88 for home. That would only set me back around $11,500 not including cases. Maybe it’s time to start a Kickstarter campaign.
I love my NI Maschine Mikro but the Spark LE looks like a killer controller, especially for traveling. The MiniLab is probably going to make its way to my desk and my suitcase when it comes out.
Seymour Duncan always has a good looking booth. I’ve been wanting to put some Antiquity pickups in my Strat for awhile now.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
I’m definitely getting an American Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass with Rosewood fingerboard in a 3-color sunburst. My bass player (or am I his keyboard player?) has one like it and it feels so good that I have to get one to compliment my P-Bass. I also got an email today for the Custom Shop Brownie. I don’t even want to know the price because then I’ll start doing the math and whenever I do addition I end up with less money.
Online degrees coming in 2014!! Music production or music business!! Credits transfer!! I’ve got a Songwriting Master Certificate and it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I started taking some music production courses that have taken my ears to the next level so I’m going all the way now. This was great news for me.
Ultimate Support Systems
Hyperstation, hypermount, and hyperpad. These are really cool stands as well as accessories to keyboard stands. I always take my iPad to the gig and drag a music stand to hold it. I’m getting one of these.
Slate Pro Audio
Raven MTI, a miniature Raven that’s affordable. Here’s a Gear Slutz thread. I met Steven Slate a few times over the trip and he’s a great guy and really cares about audio and his customers. That’s why I keep buying his plugins and drum sounds.
Dave Smith Instruments
A brand new Prophet 12. If it had a joystick pitch/mod controller instead of the anti-ergonomic up/down wheels, I’d get one. That’s the only reason I don’t buy Moogs either. I really don’t like up/down wheels but I’ll save you the well rehearsed rant.
Diablo FX LLC
The SC6 wireless pedal board is a great idea.
My life is filled with regrettable instrument sales. At the top of the list is selling my Selmer Radio Improved tenor sax. The dude who bought it off me is one lucky bastard. If he reads this, I’ll buy it back! When I’m ready to begin playing sax again, it looks like the Mantra sax could be the one.
These are some really nice guitar straps.
Etymotic Research, Inc.
I bought a pair of Music Pro earplugs after an amazing demo. They’re the first electronic earplugs. In the 9 dB mode, they provide a 6 dB boost before they gradually attenuate at around 75 dB. So when you’re playing soft, as I often do in a jazz setting, you can actually hear better! I’ve been using custom molded earplugs since my mid to late 20s and it’s one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made. But they’re not very transparent. Since then, my ears have changed a bit so it was time for a new pair. The demo blew me away. They provide the best transparency I’ve ever heard in earplugs. You hardly know they’re in. And the 6 dB boost makes a huge difference. So when the Sensaphonics custom molds come in, I might just wear them all the time.
Radial Engineering Ltd
Several cool new products from Radial. The Voco-Loco, Gold Digger, Cherry Picker, StageBug SB-5 sidewinder laptop DI, and USB Pro. I’m most excited about the USB Pro because I’ve been wanting to incorporate my iPad/iPhone into live gigs but need more robust connectivity.
Graph Tech Guitar Labs
Chops preplay lotion and Tusq picks.
StageTrix demoed the setting saver pen, pedal and wah fasteners, and pedal risers.
Matrix Amplification Ltd
Power amps for guitar modeling or slave amps.
Insight metering app.
Big City Music
Mellotron M400d Mini
OP-1 portable synth, the ultimate couch synth.
The Apollo is getting an upgrade. I love mine.
They taped a live show and beforehand I got a chance to tell Dave how much I appreciate his show and everything I’ve learned from him. I hope you’re watching Pensado’s Place. It’s undeniably great.
I saw a lot more than this. The Moves app registered 14.3 miles and I only started using it on Friday so I could conservatively add another 5 miles to that. Epic gear that requires epic walking.