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January 25, 2006

NAMM 2006 Part 2

Complete NAMM 2006 Picture Set

Jeff Kellem's Picture Set

- I got a chance to check out the JazzMutant Lemur in person. The bantering about on the web doesn't do it justice. It's not just a touch sensitive LCD control surface for DAWs or synths. The unit is programmed with a drag and drop GUI interface on a host computer and offers some really interesting interactive manipulation tools. I was disappointed to learn that the unit does not speak MIDI but only ethernet, which means a host computer is required for live performance. Maybe they'll eventually rectify this, or someone will release an OSC to MIDI converter.

- Robert Rich was demoing the TimewARP 2600 software at the M-Audio booth. It's the first ARP 2600 emulator I've heard that allows high frequency audio rate modulation of oscillators. I was disappointed that sidebands disappeared around 10-12khz, but the software's creator stated that he had used one of the 2600s with bandlimited filters when modeling the 2600. It would be interesting to see switchable 2600 filter types down the road. One really nifty feature of the software is the ability to route velocity, aftertouch, and continuous controllers to any parameter with variable range and amount per parameter. With this amount of flexibility the CS80 finally has some competition for expressive sounds.

- While walking the show floor I stumbled upon the Diamond Guitar Pedals booth. I had recalled seeing these in a boutique guitar shop a while back but hadn't thought much of them. However, Diamond had all their pedals open and available for a peek inside at the booth. They are not afraid to show off the top notch design and construction. I was especially impressed with Memory Lane delay pedal especially in operation. The thing sounds absolutely wonderful and offers tap tempo which few if any analogue delays offer.

- The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser had an interesting sound and is a concept I don't think that's been explored before. Take an envelope follower and use it to shift the phase of the input signal.

- Electro Harmonix announced the 2880 super multi-track looper pedal. It offers four tracks, length quantize, reverse, writes to compact flash cards, and can connect to a computer via USB. Unfortunately, unlike the Digitech JamMan only one loop set can reside in memory at a time, whereas 99 loops can be stored in the JamMan. The JamMan however only supports overdubs whereas the 2880 supports four discrete tracks.

- The new Little Labs LMNOPRE mic preamp was on display at the show. The unit features fully discrete differential topology from input to output, built in IBP phase alignment box, DI input, and some sort of low frequency resonator/EQ circuit which I didn't quite get the full gist of. The unit looks to be a top notch product in the same vein of the John Hardy preamps but with the addition of the IBP this box really stands out. It should be shipping by summertime. I spent some time playing with the stand alone IBP phase alignment box at the show and was amazed at what the box can do to the perception of high and low frequency content. Definitely something I'll be looking at picking up in the not so distant future.

- And finally, the Looperlative LP1 rackmount multitrack looper looked interesting, however the person manning the booth was more interested in playing guitar than demoing how the box works. It offers eight simultaneous stereo loops, full midi control, and ethernet for off-line storage and updates.

Posted by cary at January 25, 2006 12:22 AM