Best hardware of NAMM 2020January 22, 2020
Now that the pandemonium of NAMM 2020 is over, we can sit back and take a look at some of the shining stars of the show. Listed here are eight of the best pieces of hardware we encountered at this year’s show. From all-in-one sequencers to revived classic reverb modules, this list is full of gems.
Warm Audio Bus Comp
First up on our hardware roundup list is Warm Audio‘s Bus-Comp, a two-channel stereo VCA compressor featuring an all-analogue signal path. Highlights of the Bus-Comp include the ability to engage USA-made CineMag transformers into the signal path, driven by fully discrete op-amps, and a side chain high-pass filter. The fact that it only costs $699 makes it all the more attractive.
Evo by Audient Evo 4 & 8
This NAMM, Audient unveiled a pair of interfaces from their new sub-brand, Evo, aimed at podcasters, home recording musicians and gamers alike. Apart from their remarkably affordable price tags – Evo 4 costs £99 and Evo 8 costs £159.99 – these interfaces feature a handy little function called Smartgain that automatically sets the input gain after listening to the incoming signal. The driver – which comes included – also allows loopback of system audio into DAWs, which is ideal for gamers and podcasters.
AMS Neve RMX16 500 series
Good news for fans of the 80s sound. 2020 sees AMS Neve reviving a classic in the form of the AMS RMX16 for the 500 Series. Like the original, the RMX16 500 Digital Reverb Module makes use of an 18kHz bandwidth and features an astonishing 90dB dynamic range and 0.03% distortion in delay mode. Other new features include a rotary push encoder for setting adjustment, a wet/dry mix blend function and a save/recall feature with a massive 100 user-defined memory slots.
Denon DJ Prime Series
Has Denon DJ blown Pioneer DJ out of the water with its new Prime Series? It may well have, thanks to the Prime Series smart DJ consoles with built-in wi-fi streaming and 10.1-inch touchscreens. The new devices, Prime Go and Prime 2, run Denon DJ’s new Engine OS, featuring on-the-fly musical analysis and time-stretch/key-change processing, among other things. And what’s more, the Prime Series provides users access to TIDAL, SoundCloud, Beatport and Beatsource libraries.
Akai MPC One
The Akai MPC One is vying to become the centrepiece of your new studio. It’s touted to combine the best of legacy and modern models, featuring 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, a seven-inch multi-touch display, 2GB RAM with 4GB storage, and eight outputs. Like the MPC X and Live before it, the MPC One uses native MPC software so it doesn’t require a DAW. Allegedly, the MPC One’s layout makes it 30% faster to use, meaning you can spend more time in the creative flow.
Novation Launchpad Pro Mk3
If you’re running a hybrid hardware/software setup, you’ll want to consider Novation‘s new Launchpad Pro Mk3 as a new controller. On the hardware integration front, it features a four-track, 32-step polyphonic sequencer and a pair of MIDI outs. And over on the software side of things, it features dedicated controls for transport, tap tempo, Print To Clip and Capture MIDI in Ableton so you can build tracks without needing the screen.
PreSonus iOStation 24c
Another device that stood out this NAMM was the PreSonus iOStation 24c. This interface/controller features the best of PreSonus‘ Studio Series USB-C devices and the FaderPort. It has plenty of useful features for recording and mixing including 24-bit/192kHz ADA converters, a pair of PreSonus’ XMAX Class A analogue mic preamps as well as a motorised, touch-sensitive fader.
Arturia KeyStep Pro
Looking for an all-in-one sequencing solution? Enter KeyStep Pro, Arturia‘s latest addition to its Step family. Featuring four independent polyphonic sequencer tracks, a 16-part integrated drum sequencer, straightforward controls and a plethora of connectivity options for hardware synths, drum machines and modular, it could be the missing link that ties all your electronic instruments together.