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NAMM 2023 live report: rolling news from the world’s biggest music-making gear show

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Blipblox myTRACKS

Sound Particles

(Image credit: Future)

While some trendy samplers (Chompi, we’re looking at you) imitate the look and feel of kids’ toys for hipster kudos, Blipblox goes the whole hog and actually designs one that’s made for kids to use. myTRACKS is a pleasingly plasticky 5-track sampler and drum machine that’ll have your 8-year-old dropping lo-fi hip-hop beats on Soundcloud in no time. After the ABCs, comes the MPC…

Sound Particles SkyDust

Sound Particles

(Image credit: Future)

A world first this year at NAMM, as Sound Particles debuts SkyDust, the first ever spatial synthesizer plugin. Imagine eight oscillators, each independently panned in 360-degree immersive sound, sent flying around your head by a spatialized LFO, sequencer and envelope generator… trust us, it sounds phenomenal.

Endorphin.es Golden Master

endorphins. es

(Image credit: Future)

Not content with debuting its first ever pedal design at NAMM, Endorphin.es has decided to reveal two at once. The Golden Master is based on the brand’s Eurorack module of the same name, a multiband dynamics processor that’s supposed to sit at the end of your signal chain and give the final mix a bit of sheen, polish and drive.

ESP Exhibition Limited Series Guitars

esp

(Image credit: Future)

ESP’s Exhibition Limited Series are supposed to be more than just guitars: they’re works of art. Lovingly constructed at the brand’s Custom Shop in Japan, these custom-designed and hand-built one-off wonders have been known to fetch well into five figures.

Bitwig Studio 5.0

Bitwig

(Image credit: Future)

The kind folks at Bitwig gave us a guided tour of the recently released 5.0 update to their increasingly awesome DAW Bitwig Studio. Bitwig was already the daddy of all things modulation, but 5.0 ups the ante by introducing five new MSEGs (multi-segment envelope generators) and giving users the ability to modulate track and project-level parameters.

Endorphin. es GHOST

endorphin. es pedal

(Image credit: Future)

Previously known for their modular gear, Endorphin.es makes a bold entrance into the pedal world with GHOST, a collaboration with YouTuber Andrew Huang. This multi-FX unit delivers reverb, delay, distortion and more, allowing the user to experiment with different routing configurations to fine-tune their sound.

Audience iD24

audience id24

(Image credit: Future)

Audient’s iD24 doubles down on the brand’s reputation for delivering studio-grade audio at prices within reach of the bedroom producer. Unveiled earlier this year, this $399 interface houses two of the same preamps as their $40,000 ASP8024-HE console and packs a JFET instrument input, multiple class-leading converters, and ADAT expandability inside to boot.

Soma Laboratories Terra

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Soma Laboratories’ booth houses many weird and wonderful things, including the Terra, an unique analogue synth built into a block of wood and adorned with touch-capacitive buttons.

Hammond XK-4

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

The new Hammond XK-4 is equipped with an all-new sound engine – the Modelled Tone Wheel 2 (MTW2) engine accurately reproduces the 91 tone wheels at the heart of all vintage Hammond organs, capturing the expressive imperfections that give vintage Hammonds their characterful sound.

Pioneer OPUS-QUAD

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Unveiled a few weeks ago, Pioneer’s beastly OPUS-QUAD is the brand’s first all-in-one system to feature standalone 4-deck playback. With a 10-inch touchscreen and sleek matte finish, it looks like something Batman might use for a house party.

NordStage 4

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Announced in February, Nord’s Stage 4 has been revamped with a new control panel design, an improved keybed, expanded effects section, an updated synth engine and more, making it a bold contender for one of the best performance keyboards money can buy.

Sony MDR-MV1 headphones

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ushered us into a soundproofed booth to demo its new open-back MDR-MV1 headphones, aimed at spatial and immersive sound creators. After playing us a clip using a 360-degree immersive speaker array, we heard the same clip through the MDR-MV1s, which emulated the spatial sound through Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology. The similarity was, dare we say it, a little bit mindblowing. Some might be skeptical of spatial audio, but after that demo, we’re convinced it’s here to stay.

SSL 500-series modules

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Today SSL previewed a new 500-series module, the B-Series 611B Dynamics Module. Based on the sound of SSL’s classic 4000 A and B series consoles, the module delivers responsive, “vibey” compression and expansion by emulating the topology of a bus compressor. With an onboard de-esser, auto-release and fixed ratio points, it’s said to be ideal for enhancing drum overheads or taming vocal transients.

It begins…

NAMM Show sign

(Image credit: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images / Contributor)

No NAMM live blog is complete without an external shot of the convention center, so here you go. The concept of time is flexible at the NAMM Show – what is actually three days can feel like 50 years – so by close of play on Saturday, the kids shown here enjoying the NAMM sign will actually have aged more than half a lifetime and be approaching retirement.