NAMM 2017 Wrap-Up: Top Keyboard Gear Picks

While it wasn’t the most earth-shattering turnout in terms of new keyboardist gear this year, there were still some interesting final revelations from the NAMM Show 2017. These include a new synthesizer plug-in technology, a new sub-bass plug-in and three portable gems: a digital delay pedal, a Teenage Engineering drum sequencing synth and a Universal Audio interface.


MOK (Media Overkill) Waverazor virtual synth plug-in, price and availability TBA 

What We Love About It:
• With a patent-pending oscillator design that splices waveforms into aggressive and biting sounds, Waverazor promises to bring something truly new to the table for bass patches, synth leads and cinematic sound design.

• The founders of new company MOK have helped create synthesizers like the Alesis Andromeda and M-Audio Venom.
Caveat: Waverazor is still in early development without a ton of formal info out on it. A couple of YouTube videos present the clearest picture of it so far.


Brainworx bx_subsynth sub-bass plug-in, price and availability TBA

What We Love About It:
• Brainworx routinely puts out great models and original plug-ins, and bx_subsynth recreates the DBX 120XP Subharmonic Synthesizer with new features to provide multiband sub-bass generation that adds fundamental subharmonic frequencies to any source.

• The audio examples sound great on a variety of sources, including keys & synths, programmed beats, live drums and sound effects.

Caveat: Without the price, we’re hesitant to get too excited about it.


Seymour Duncan Andromeda programmable digital delay pedal, $299 street, available “soon”

What We Love About It:
• A delay “power users” pedal with up to 5 sec. of delay, modulation, saturation, tone control, and analog emulation.
• 128 presets, MIDI ports for patch recall, USB for updates and Librarian software.
Caveat: It’s not overpriced, but it is a high-end pedal with an appropriately high-end price.


Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-32 Tonic battery powered drum/percussion synth/sequencer, $89 street, available February







What We Love About It:

• It packs a great-sounding synth engine, effects, and sequencer into a smartphone-size unit for a minimal price.
• When bundled with the Microtonic VST drum machine for $139 total, some interesting digital audio transfer technology from the plug-in to the PO-32 lets you load new sounds into the hardware.
Caveat: Great sounds, pocket sized, built-in speaker and mic, battery powered and less than $100? There’s little not to like about this, but it still will have to deliver usable results to avoid the “toy” classification.











Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo, Duo or Quad Thunderbolt audio interface, $699, $899 or $1,299 street, out now

What We Love About It:
• A full internal redesign with next-generation audio conversion.
• Two Unison mic preamps with preamp models from Neve, API and Manley and guitar amps from Ampeg, Marshall and Fender.
• UAD-2 processing allows real-time tracking with the bundled UAD classic EQ, tape and compressor models.
• Many new software Console features, such as channel strip presets.
Caveat: No ThunderBolt thru port and no ThunderBolt 3/USB-C ports in case you are already on that tip.




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