This year was the second year we've handed out physical awards so without further ado, lets get into it:
Pictured: Joerg Schaaf of Radikal Technologies
These guys have been making interesting and unique machines for some time - the Accellerator and before that the Spectralis 2 were extremely powerful intrsuments. Since then they've been exploring the world of Eurorack with some excellent sounding filters and oscillators. The Delta CEP A brings much of this together in a hybrid instrument utilising their Swarm Oscillator (2 of them) plus a hybrid filter with multimode analog and digital modes - both sounding pretty tasty.
Delta Cep A also has patch memory and on board DSP effects. It packs a lot of features into a small desktop format. That, and and it sounds pretty good.
Pictured: Rolf Wõhrmann
Waldorf have been working on what can only be described as something of a mega synth - harking back to the days of the Wave in terms of ambition, its an unashamedly expensive, original synth. It reminds us of the concept of the Korg OASYS - in this case it sort of features pretty much all of Waldorf's synthesis technology past present and future. With three stereo oscillators, which can also be multi-sample sets as well as granular, wavetable, resonator and virtual analog, you've got many bases covered. Add the dual analog filters, 6 LFO, 6 Envelopes, effects, touch screen and tasty UI its a compelling instrument.
Pictured: The Empress Effects Team
Gaz Spotted this one, we were blown away by the whole idea - essentially a way to run Pure Data patches in hardware, Empress Effects have created a highly configurable pedal - though its way more than that - modules can be loaded into rows on the grid, connected to pedal functions, modulation sources and destinations using the physical interface to create insanely complex routings and setups, From regular effect type functions, to fully blownsynthesizer voices, with MIDI and CV inputs to boot. Its a really impressive peice of work and as such is the deserved winner of the New Technology Category. Expected to be available later in the year at a price of around $449 US.
Doepfer Polyphonic Modules
Picured: Dieter Doepfer and Nick
Herr Doepfer was showing his series of polyphonic Eurorack Modules, comprising of a Polyphonic USN/MIDI to CV/Gate Module A-190-5, A-111-4 Quad VCO and A-150-8 Quad Octal VC Switch - with 8 voltage controlled switches and finally the A-105-4 Quad Poly SSI VCF, A-132-8 Octal Poly VCA and A143-4 Quad Poly VCADS. Together these can provide a complete four voice poly system without having to tune each voice, filter, VCA and ADSR. Creating poly voices in modular can be quite a fiddly process, so these modules really simplify the process.
One of those left-field winners, a neat idea this. The SmashMouse floor pedal controller can be used in both MIDI control mode and macro key modes, with full mouse control too. Transport control, custom triggers and events, multi and omni dimensional expression modes. Its a good idea and looks to be pretty affordable. Bonus points for the enthusiastic presentation.
Pictured: Phil Dudderidge
The Focusrite Clarett range offered some pretty good mic preamps for Thunderbolt interfaces. The new USB range - USB-C now brings the same high quality converters (up to 119dB dynamic range) to USB format. Also included is a USB-C to regular USB adapter. Available in three models, each with more Mic Preamps 2, 4 and 8 all with ADAT inputs (on the 8 you get ADAT In and Out).
Pictured: Herr Doepfer and some bloke
This one was pretty simple, certainly a charming gentleman and also such an innovator - mostly responsible for the adoption of the Eurorack format, without Dr Doepfer where would we be? Not only that, but he continues to be creative in the Eurorack space. Without exception whenever we talk to him, he's always cheery and self deprecating. A worthy winner.
This one came out of nowhere, the new Elektron Digitone being of the same form factor as the recent Digitakt - which as we understand is still selling like hotcakes. The new Digitone is a four track, 8 voice FM synth which leverages the Elektron paramter lock sequencing power accross 4 internal sequencer tracks. Its also a new front end to the notoriously tricksy FM synthesis. With Elektron aiming to bring it into a more accessible way of working. With a 4 operator voice structure and 8 algorithms, subtractive filter, effects and the powerful p-lock sequencer (with 4 external MIDI tracks too), trig conditions and all that Elektron sequencing good stuff. Available soon priced at £699
Another well desereved award in a new category for us, Cenk AKA Dataline makes product demonstrations look easy, his in depth knowledge and musicality result in effortless, flowing demonstrations. He's visited us in the UK for several we shot at our studios, but also in the chaos of the show floor he also manages to do the same. Believe us, its not easy and he is the master. He doesn't only demo Elektron gear as part of his job, but also performs all over the world as Dataline using pretty much exclusively Elektron gear.
So thats it for another year, we'd like to thank the whole team for helping make it possible, in no particular order: Jim Heywood, Mera Roberts, Rob Hicks, Edd Butterworth, Gaz Williams, Andy McCreeth, all the NAMM press office people for their excellent admin, and of course our sponsors.
See you next year!
Melbourne Instruments launch
New subscription model launches
A detailed look at the new Wavetable synth
OP-Z Expansion, FC Pro Audio Mixthesizer