An inside look at the gear that caught our ears during day 1 of Summer NAMM.
Analog Outfitters Scanner
This glorious spinning, twirling plexiglass mechanical monster is the Scanner from Analog Outfitters, who build beautiful amps from recycled Hammond Organs. This time around they're repurposing Hammond vibrato units and mating them to a spring reverb. The unit is expression pedal controllable (stupidly fun!!!) but also has line and XLR outs so you can use it as outboard gear in a studio. At $1,599 it's not cheap but MAN it sounds fantastic.
Spaceman Effects Voyager I and Orion
Zak at Spaceman Effects has always very deftly fused practicality and classic sounds with a touch of wooly and weird. This year he unveiled the $349 Voyager I tremolo (with triangle and square wave settings and an envelope. He also brought the Orion, an amazing 6.25 x 4.75 " spring reverb that sounds massive at even the most extreme dwell settings. Both are an absolute blast! Well done Zak.
Taylor 326e-6 Baritone
Early days here at Summer NAMM 2015, but the rich honey lows of the Taylor 326e-6 baritone will stay with us for a long, long time. The combo of the Honduras mahogany top and sapele back and sides is a perfect combo for the long scale tones.
Jackson Ampworks Continuum
The crew over at Jackson Ampworks brought the Continuum controller to NAMM. They had a prototype last year but this finished model has tap tempo bias trem, rhythmic subdivisions, and modulated reverb. The spacious and cinematic 'verb is astounding and the stuttering trem effects are jarringly authentic. It will be available in August for $499.
Recording King RD-216
Recording King entered the torrefaction game with its usual dazzling combination of fair prices and sweet tones. The RD-216 has a lovely solid Adirondack top (torrefied of course) and layered mahogany back and sides. Just 499 bucks on the street.
Bootleg Guitars GS Custom
Bootleg Guitars had their new SG-style GS Custom in tow.. It has a mahogany body, mahogany neck topped with a rosewood 'board, and is packed with a trio of Filter'Tron-style "Harvey-trons."
Wampler Pedals Low Blow
Wampler Pedals brought some love for bassists to NAMM with their first offering for low enders. The Low Blow features two clipping modes: Smooth brings more of an overdrive while jagged is akin to distortion. A 3-band EQ delivers plenty of tone control and the notch-filter switch helps to clean up cabinet woof without having to turn things down.
DOD MeatBox and Gonkulator
DigiTech/DOD resurrected two gloriously grody pedals from the '90s that had gained a cult following among noise connoisseurs since their discontinuation. The MeatBox sub generator and the Gonkulator ring modulator sound as nasty as you hope, feature a sturdier build and more reliable true-bypass switches, and go for 99 bucks.
DynaMount beat their Kickstarter goal by 50 percent in order to debut their new "robotic" mic mounts at NAMM. Their app-controlled motors let you adjust grille proximity, lateral positioning, and mic angle from the convenience of a studio control room, etc. Shipping in October, Dynamount models range from approx. $200 to $600.
Wifo from Seoul, South Korea, brought the slick new RemoFinger to NAMM. Consisting of a foot-controller and a separate console, RemoFinger uses the company's own proprietary Touch Pointer technology (top) and the latest ZIGBEE wireless technology—which reportedly uses less power than Bluetooth while switching faster—to enable you to switch settings on any apps (e.g., GarageBand) on Apple and Android devices. The Touch Pointer technology conducts current equal to the human finger in order to yield more traditional hands-free operation. RemoFinger will ship in November for $159, but for a limited time you can get it for an Early Bird price of $79 on Kickstarter.com.
Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers Patch Box
We're pretty stoked about first-time Summer NAMM exhibitors Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers, who brought the super-tweakable, super-rad Patch Box, a $349 (street) switching shell that can power up to six Eurorack-format effect modules (not included) for an insane variety of sounds. Pittsburgh's own modules—which range from LFOs to filters, analog phasers and delays, digital reverbs, and more—range from $99 to $399.