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Our 10 Picks from NAMM 2015

NAMM 2015 may not have the fireworks and excitement of products from previous years, but there were still many significant announcements. Here’s our favourite 10.

ATC SMC45A PRO

ATC used the NAMM 2015 Show to launch a brand new midfield monitor the ATC SCM45A Pro. There’s a similarity in design and appearance with their already extremely successful model, the SCM25A, but yet significant higher output and extended low end improvements mean this was certainly a head-turner.

ATC SCM45A Pro

It’s ATC’s first 3-way professional monitor to incorporate their new high performance dual-suspension amazing tweeter, and this, in conjunction with their hand built soft dome midrange, has already caught the interest of KMR customers and staff alike!

They’re expected to start shipping in mid February, and could be used for near field monitoring with the horizontal aspect and size still allowing for use on traditional Meter Bridges, as well as use as a centre speaker with other SCM45A Pros or SCM50ASL in a surround environment.

WARM AUDIO EQP-WA

We all like it in life when we get a bargain, and sometimes just sometimes, they come along again without knowing. WARM Audio have this knack for creating equipment that is both sonically exciting and financially pleasing…and yes they’ve done it again with their new Warm Audio EQP-WA.

Warm Audio EQP-WA

Whilst not for one minute suggesting it’s a unique new design, the man behind Warm Audio, Bryce Young, has focused on a quality, classic audio design and brought it into the realms of audio lovers worldwide.

Keeping manufacturing costs down, by making 500 pieces at a time, he has brought to market a Pultec EQ which has more than a nod to the classic of yesteryear, whilst featuring CineMag input and outputs transformers, a CineMag inductor and Tung Sol valves.

WARM AUDIO EQP-WA inside

Not content with this, he has also added some functions like indented pots for easy recall and extra frequency points, 200, 400 and 800 Hz in the Low Mid, and 3 and 4 Khz cut options.

And the price? £649 inc. vat... Seriously.

IZ RADAR STUDIO

This is certainly an intriguing announcement by iZ Technology, a 24-channel RADAR system that also lets you run Pro Tools HD, Harrison Mixbuss in one 4U rack.

IZ RADAR STUDIO

iZ RADAR Studio is a very interesting solution for producers and engineers looking for the pristine sound quality, near-zero jitter and the lowest latency offered by RADAR systems but mix it with the editing power of Pro Tools HD or Harrison Mixbuss (or possibly your favourite PC-based DAW).

This will certainly appeal to recording engineers or producers who work in different studios or on location, offering them the uncompromising sound quality and near latency-free performance of the RADAR System while integrating seamlessly with your DAW of choice.

What’s more RADAR Studio is expandable allowing you to add DSP cards and other peripherals to make your system a true powerhouse for audio production.

BETTERMAKER EQ232P MKII

We’re big fan of Bettermaker here at KMR, that’s why when we learned about a mk2 of the EQ232P (which was already an improvement on the EQ230P) we were really eager to see what it was about.

BETTERMAKER EQ232PMk2

The outer shell is very similar as the original but only two outputs are featured instead of the four, but the inside hides many interesting new features. First of all the 12dB/oct high pass filter has been replaced by a 24dB/oct. The EQ232P MkII also now has a MS Matrix allowing users to choose between dual-mono, stereo and MS mode.

This adds so much more flexibility to an incredible EQ and in combination with the new dual mono plug-in, this opens up a lot of possibilities for sound engineers.

Sound performance is also increased with a signal to noise ratio dramatically improved. Finally and “BETTER” of all, the EQ232P Mk II should be available at a lower price. We are waiting for new pricing confirmation at this time.

ARP ODYSSEY SEQUENTIAL PROPHET 6

This year has seen some of great resurgences from the past;  Moog re-issued their legendary Modular systems with the Model 15, system 35 and 55, Korg re-issued a version of the iconic ARP Odyssey and Dave Smith re-acquired the Sequential name and released the Prophet 6 under his original moniker. It’s the last two that have particularly grabbed our attention.

ARP Odyssey

When Korg announced a few months ago that it was to recreate the ARP Odyssey it sent the whole synth community to a whole new level of excitement and anticipation. After having successfully re-launched their iconic MS-20, it was obvious that Korg were doing something right.

Similar to the release of the MS-20 Mini, the Korg reissue of the ARP Odyssey is a smaller version than the original (86% of the size) but is otherwise a perfect replica of the original. Not only that, Korg have added some extra features such as a great drive switch for really gnarly distorted sounds, MIDI and USB connectivity, but most excitingly they have included all the ARP filter types, to cover all different iterations of the original.

Dave Smith caught us by surprise when announcing that he had reacquired the name Sequential Circuit and to celebrate, released the first synth to proudly sport this legendary company’s logo, the Prophet-6 synthesizer.

SEQUENTIAL PROPHET 6

The Prophet-6 is clearly a tribute to the legendary Prophet-5 and boasts many features of the original such as true analogue voltage controlled Oscillators, filters and amplifiers whilst being augmented by many of the great functionalities found on a modern Dave Smith Instrument such as polyphonic step sequencer, arpeggiator and much more. The look and feel is as close to the original Prophet-5 as it could be and the sound is absolutely incredible!

SHADOW HILLS DUAL GAMA

Shadow Hills used NAMM to show a new 2u Dual Channel version of their Golden Age Microphone Amp ( GAMA ). Currently the GAMA preamp is available in two versions, the 2u QUAD GAMA, with four mic preamps and the MONO GAMA which is available for the 500 series format.

SHADOW HILLS DUAL GAMA

The beauty of the Shadow Hills mic preamp design, apart from their appearance, is the ability to select between different transformers to shape your recordings with the current choices being Nickel, Steel and Iron. Whilst sharing the same design, the MONO GAMA due to space restriction, is unable to include the IRON transformer, replacing this choice with a Discrete option.

So until now, if you required the Iron as an option, the 4 channel QUAD was the only way to go. Not any more.

The New DUAL GAMA has two preamps with all of the transformer options including the Iron, two DI's, Pad select, Phantom Power and a new intriguing Saturation control...and as always, is as impressive sounding as it is looking!

MANLEY FORCE 4-CHANNEL MIC PREAMP

Last year Manley released the Core, a channel strip using some of Manley’s most favoured circuitry, but built to a price point without compromising on the quality that has made Manley one of the Pro Audio’s most revered brand.

MANLEY FORCE

This year, Manley announced Force, a 4-channel valve mic pre using the same Class A 12AX7 Vacuum Tube mic preamp circuit design as the Core. This will be a definite winner for people wanting the lush, big sound of Manley designs and require multiple channels for recording.

Each channel includes XLR and ¼” jack instrument input, 120Hz high-pass filter, Variable input pad, polarity reversal, +48V Phantom Power and High/ Low gain switch.

HERITAGE AUDIO MCM-8

Heritage Audio released a couple of new products at NAMM which caught our attention, the 2264JR 500 series compressor/mic pre and the MCM-8 8 Slot 500 series power enclosure.

HERITAGE AUDIO MCM-8

The MCM-8 impressed us the most being a new 8 Slot enclosure for 500 series modules, with a built in 10 channel passive summing mixer. Featuring Pan and Fader controls on each slot, VU meters and stereo Master Fader, the output gain is made up using the same transformer stage Heritage Audio use in their 1073.

Connectivity is via Dsub and XLR, with the option to daisy chain more racks via the Stereo input, allowing you to create a custom mixer in conjunction with any 500 modules of choice.

The other great design they’ve added to this is their ‘On Slot Technology’, which means they have designed the chassis to isolate the power on each 500 enclosure, providing separate regulated power per slot, meaning the 500 modules share the enclosure not the power.

PRO TOOLS 12

Avid chose NAMM to release Pro Tools 12 software, leaving behind more questions than answers, which hopefully will become clearer over the coming weeks.

AVID Pro Tools 12

Many great aspects of their software and new AAX2 Audio Engine has been in use since version 11 so it seems their main focus is on CLOUD collaboration, their AVID marketplace and Metadata tracking, but are yet to be seen in real world use. Whilst these are all aspects of the modern recording engineer, are they as in demand and important as we are led to believe?

Certainly the most exciting development is TRACK FREEZE which is listed on their upgrade page as coming in 2015 with many other exciting features, yet to be mentioned.

Which brings us to the upgrade path point. AVID have chosen to offer a few subscription plans, or Annual upgrade and Support plans. Depending where you are in your version number this can range in price but an annual HD Software renewal Plan is £399 and the annual Pro Tools software renewal is £129.

We wait to see what extra features are being added, and what the take-up of the renewal plans will be. But Pro Tools 12 was definitely a talking point.

So there it is our selection of the most significant announcements this year. What has been your favourite announcement this year? Do you agree or disagree? Did we forget anything? We’d like to hear from you so leave a comment below.

By Paul Lavigne and Nick Mitchell

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