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It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for music gear news and announcements.

The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2020 trade show just concluded.

With every serious gear company in attendance, there was so much breaking news that it’s hard to keep track of every single juicy reveal and teaser.

That’s why we’re going through the top 9 most exciting NAMM highlights of 2020.

1. UAD LUNA

uad luna namm

I’ll dive right in with one of the biggest and most surprising announcements of NAMM 2020. Universal Audio is building a DAW!—or something very close to it.

UAD LUNA is the groundbreaking new recording environment based on the respected analog-modelling technology in the Apollo series of interfaces.

UAD LUNA is the groundbreaking new recording environment based on the respected analog-modelling technology in the Apollo series of interfaces.

There aren’t too many details available yet, but LUNA will integrate deeply with the UAD Apollo hardware.

It will also have multi-track tape emulation and Neve-style summing built directly into the mixing environment.

And perhaps the most exciting reveal—virtual instruments! If UAD’s plugin expertise is anything to go on, their instrument plugins should be top notch.

2. Behringer synth reveals and releases

behringer namm

Behringer has been hard at work disrupting the synthesizer market in the last few cycles.

But this year’s showing was particularly mind-blowing. Behringer’s upcoming releases could put some of the most sought after electronic instruments of all time in your home studio.



Here’s what Behringer announced or debuted at NAMM 2020

The extremely low prices Behringer have achieved are raising some eyebrows. But there’s no doubt that their analog synthesis gear is the most accessible on the market.

The extremely low prices Behringer have achieved are raising some eyebrows.

Will Uli take over the world?

3. Great things from Korg

wavestate namm

Korg has also been busy creating equipment with high expectations from the gear community.

The Korg Wavestate is a welcome update to the well-loved 90s era Wavetstation that promises even more powerful multi-timbral wavetable synthesis.

There are full-sized versions of the MS-20 coming in four different colours, intriguing DIY kits and even an update to the legendary Keytar!

But Korg’s most exciting news might be the no compromises reissue of the ARP 2600.

This beast of a monosynth packs all the enormous sound of the original into more practical package with modern conveniences.

But it’s certainly on the high end of the price range at a sticker shocking €3999.

With the announcement of a Behringer version at roughly the same time it will be interesting to see how Korg’s spot-on recreation that spares no expense will fare against a much cheaper edition.

Just when we thought it was all over Korg teased the Opsix, a brand new 6-operator FM synth that was only displayed behind glass—exciting!

Just when we thought it was all over Korg teased the Opsix, a brand new 6-operator FM synth that was only displayed behind glass.



4. Fender/Squier offsets, paranormals and parallel universe

fender parallel universe namm

It was a spectacular year for unlikely combos and non-standard configurations over in Fender-land.

CBS era Teles back with a 60s thinline with classic stylings and the smart looking 70s custom featuring an all new take on the Seth Lover Wide Range Humbucker pickup.

80s shredders are also seeing a resurgence with the retro-styled, Floyd Rose equipped Limited HM Strat.

The Parallel Universe line continued its convention defying weirdness with all sorts of unexpected mashups:



The affordable Player series revived the late 70’s “Lead” models in single coil and humbucker configurations, as well as some beloved short scale offsets like the Mustang and Duo-sonic.

Meanwhile, Squier’s own Paranormal 2020 series leaked, with product pages surfacing for P90 equipped baritone and thinline Cabronitas, offset Teles, dual humbucking Supersonics, Tornados and pastel Cyclone IIs.

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If that weren’t enough, Squier Starcasters are on the way at a ridiculously affordable price-point—just $399 USD for the well-appointed Classic Vibe edition.

It was a spectacular year for unlikely combos and non-standard configurations over in Fender-land.

5. Antelope’s enormous converter

converter namm

Antelope is pushing the channel count envelope again with an unprecedented 64 channels of AD/DA in a single converter unit.

The 2U behemoth Galaxy 64 is also the most powerful configuration of Antelope’s Synergy Core DSP platform yet, boasting 12 ARM chips for real time mix processing.

I can’t imagine too many workflows where all 64 channels would be in use simultaneously, but the technology is seriously impressive.

The Galaxy 64 also confirms another one of the most prevalent trends seen at NAMM this year and in the interface market in general—network capabilities.

Antelope’s flagship sports network connectivity over the Dante standard, something we’ve seen from Focusrite, Avid and others in the past.

6. The Eurorack boom continues

empress zoia euroburo

The Eurorack scene shows no signs of slowing down, despite persistent claims of a growing market bubble.

Behringer’s aggressive entry into the market may be shaking things up, but boutique manufacturers are still developing unique and great-sounding modules.

One of the most exciting developments came from the guitar pedal universe.

The Empress Zoia Euroburo edition brings all the power of the Canadian company’s semi-modular digital sandbox to the format.

Here are the Eurorack highlights from NAMM 2020

The Eurorack scene shows no signs of slowing down, despite persistent claims of a growing market bubble.

7. Pedal sized guitar amps

small guitar amps namm

The recent boom in compact power amplifiers has resulted in lots of interesting gear, including the powerful pedal/lunchbox sized amps on display at NAMM 2020

Each promise big tone in tiny, easily giggable packages:

  • Orange Terror Stamp is the tiniest terror from Orange yet.
  • The Victory V4 Amp is a powered edition of the British boutique builder’s popular Victory preamp.
  • Bluguitar Amp X is a pedalboard amp designed to create great vintage guitar tones in a small and portable format.

8. Innovative boutique pedals

new pedals at namm

Left field guitar pedals have been another fixture of the NAMMscape for years.

2020 is no different with innovators like Chass Bliss, Pigtronix, Walrus and Beetronics debuting exciting new offerings.



Here are my picks for the most interesting guitar pedals released this year at NAMM:

  • Chase Bliss and Meris collaborate on the CXM1978, a pedal version of the legendary Lexicon 224 digital reverb
  • Pigtronix offers its respected Infinity Looper technology in a compact form factor
  • Walrus debuts a super hi-fi digital delay
  • Rainger FX made a pedal that somehow creates overdrive by analyzing liquid (???)
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours Visitor lets you explore modulation in parallel.
  • Beetronics releases an aggressive fuzzy overdrive with their signature (and bizarre) insect stylings.

Left field guitar pedals have been another fixture of the NAMMscape for years.

9. The return of the stage piano

stage piano namm

The humble stage piano is getting a fresh lease on life with new models from Dexibell, Viscount, Roland, Yamaha and Korg.

The Yamaha YC61 looks especially exciting with its slider-style drawbar registration, sample based instruments and onboard realtime FM synthesis for classic DX tines.

The Viscount Legend 70s offers an interesting take on the format with an intriguing modular concept and retro styling.

Each piano will include a basic module, but expansions can be added later to create the perfect stage piano for your needs.

NAMMaste

NAMM is an exciting time of year for gear aficionados and music tech fans. With all the fresh releases and breaking news, it’s easy to get lost in the flow of new products.

Who knows, one of them will make it into your workflow in the coming year.

The post The 9 Best Highlights From NAMM 2020 appeared first on LANDR Blog.

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