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AKG showed their MicroMic Series II microphones. They are as follows: C411 Acoustic Pickup, C416 Accordian & Speaker MicroMic, C417 Lapel MicroMic, C418 Drum and Percussion Mic, C419 Wind Instrument Mic, C420 Headset Mic, DB1 Double Bass Bridge Pickup...very cool!. AKG has developed a new microphone-diaphragm manufacturing process that they say will deliver a more natural performance with near perfect transmission - sounds great to us! They have also announced that they are moving their US operations to Nashville in September of this year.

ALESIS has introduced the QS7, a 64-voice, 76-key expandable synthesizer. The QS7 will start shipping at the end of July with a retail price of $1,499. The QS7 features semi-weighted keys with aftertouch and release velocity. It incorporates 16 Megs of new and enhanced onboard ROM, offers 640 programs and 500 multitimbral mixes which can be expanded to 1660 programs and 1300 mixes (32MB of ROM) using its two PCMCIA sound-card slots and Alesis Quadra-Cards. There are four fully assignable real-time control sliders as well as pitch and modulation wheels and an onboard effects processor. Direct digital connection is available thru the ADAT Optical Digital Interface. The QS7 completes the Alesis keyboard family along with the affordable 61-key QS6 ($1,099.00 retail) and the top-of-the-line 88-key QS8 ($1,999.00 retail)....nice line-up!

On hand also was their ATK Integrated Drum Trigger System, it includes the new DM5 Drum Module, 7 Pads, High Hat, and Kick Trigger. A steal for under $2,000.00!
If you like small, the new 1/3rd rack space 18 Bit Digital NanoVerb is a must have processor for only $179.00. Or a new sibling, the Nano Compressor stereo compressor limiter with Sidechain feature ($149.00 retail)

APHEX showed the 109 Tubessence 4 channel parametric EQ. This unit sound's hot for $499.00 and is shipping now.

ART has several new products to offer. The ART DST Eighty/Eighty tube preamp/processor and power amplifier is now shipping. It's preamp section is the fully programmable DST-4 circuitry, and all the control knobs are digitized. this cool guitar processor retails for $799.00.

The Tube MP has been nominated for this years TEC Award in the Mic Preamplifier Technology. At only $149.00 the Tube MP is a hit! Add the Dual MP (retail $329.00) for twice the flexibility and you have single rac perfection.

The DST-4 guitar preamp/ processor is designed to work with a combo amp or head. The analog preamp section has an instrument level output that is plugged into the instrument input of your amp. The digital section is placed in the effects loop of your amp where it should be! The result is a rack product that is designed to work in the real world! Great tone, great design, great results.(retail $499.00).

The PRO MPA offers a professional, no compromise solution if you want to regain the warmth and definition that are the hallmarks of analog technology in a digital environment. Two independent channels bring all of the warmth and clarity you need for your recording or live needs. Two large, illuminated VU meters provide full monitoring. The PRO MPA also provides phantom power, phase-reversal, variable bass rolloff and balanced operation. Retail price $599.00.

The Effects Network is a fully programmable multi-effects processor. The unit works as a dedicated processor (reverb or delay) with all the DSP horsepower being dedicated to a specific effect. And it also does multi-processing and dual processing (separate effects and controls per channel). Simply press a button to make the Effects Network the processor you need.(retail $499.99)

A rugged all steel construction Personal Acoustic Guitar Processor (retail $299.00) is designed to preserve the natural tone of your instrument while giving you the features you need to overcome the adversities of live performance.

The Elite II offers MIDI mapping and Real-Time control, 255 presets and true stereo processing at an unbelievable price of only $345.00 retail.

AUDIO-TECHNICA has released the Pro 95, a wide-range, fixed-charge condenser microphone with cardioid polar pattern. The mic is designed for acoustic guitars and other string instruments. AUDIO-TECHNICA also had on hand its new 1100 Series True Diversity Wireless Microphone System. The series is composed of the ATW-1127 UniPak transmitter system, the ATW-1128 hand-held dynamic microphone system and the ATW-1129 hand-held condenser microphone system. Competitively priced in the $499.00 - $900.00 range.
All three systems feature true-diversity reception with two independent RF sections for superior reliability, and a selection of 20 VHF frequencies for minimum interference.

Audio Technica has expanded its 40 series microphones with the AT4041, a pressure-gradient capacitor mic with a uniform cardoid polar pattern. It is designed primarily for professional recording and critical broadcast applications. Based on the other 40 series mics, I'm sure you can't beat this mic for quality and value. Retail price $395.00. (We also stock matched pairs of these)

Last year CLAVIA DMI made a big splash with the Nord Lead Virtual Analog Synthesizer. Now, with Software ROM Update 2.0 , your Nord Lead can have from 10-30 Analog Drum Kits with as many as 8 zones each, plus 100 more Factory Performances, a new Notch Filter and many additional MIDI Features. The retail price of the Nordlead was also lowered - call for details.
If you've already got 12 voices and still want 12 more, get ready for the Nord 12-Voice Expander . It's a single rack space expander that also gives you a total of 4 separate Outputs. (Price to be announced)

dbx's new 1066 ($549.95 retail) is a stereo compressor, limiter and gate designed to provide simple, flexible operation for recording, broadcast or live sound reinforcement applications.
At the heart of the 1066 is dbx's new V2 VCA. The new VCA, combined with the unit's design, enables the 1066 to perform like compressors selling for hundreds of dollars more.
Also shown was a great sounding inexpensive new 2 channel compressor named the dbx 262 retailing for $199.00

DIGITECH has released the GSP2101 Artist guitar preamp/effects processor. The Artist ($1,099.95 retail) features 52 new presets written by more than 30 prominent guitarists and bassists. In addition there are 100 presets from the original award winning GSP2101. With the addition of an optional PPC-210 expansion card, the Artist offers more effects memory and seamless patch changing. Also released was the Control Seven, a user friendly MIDI foot controller that only requires a device to change programs via MIDI. With no programming chores or extensive interface to learn, the Control Seven (retail $99.95) provides control over MIDI program changes. Users can select a bank and any one of the programs associated with it.

The "retro" looking VTP-1 Tube Preamp (under $1,000.00) was also on display It incorporates a vacuum tube mic preamp, tube/line amp, flexible EQ section and a digital output. It includes a 18 bit A/D converter all in an attractive 2U chassis. It's fantastic for warming vocal tracks as well as allowing synthesizers, guitars and basses to be run directly into a recording device. Sounds incredible!

JBL Eon Systems continue to offer a complete sound solution to small performing combos who need a truly portable sound system. Eon sound will now carry further than before with the introduction of two complete systems-in-a-box and three Eon performance microphones. The JBL Eon 15 Pak System is made specifically to meet the needs of the small keyboard-based combos playing in clubs and lounges. The Eon 15 Pak features a built in mixer and a bi-amped 15 inch woofer with a high frequency horn and driver. The system also includes a JBL E50S microphone and all necessary cables. The JBL Eon Power 10 System offers a small, lightweight set of components. It includes two powered 10 inch bi-amped 2-way speakers, the JBL MusicMix mixer and two JBL E50S performance microphones. Lastly, JBL has introduced the Eon series performance microphones M50S, M70S and M90S. The Eon microphone series exhibits high-output cardioid polar patterns, rugged construction, a large "pop"/wind filter, rubberized shock ring, on/off switch and low output impedance.

JBL AS 3218 Gives Musicians Triamplified Use.
The AS 3218 speaker incorporates horn-loaded mid-range technology for extended pattern control. With a high peak output capability (greater than 130dB SPL) and 60-degree coverage pattern, the AS 3218 is designed for triamplified use and it is constructed in a trapezoidal enclosure. It features an 18 inch LF driver with Super Vented Gap construction, the JBL 2012H mid-range cone driver and a 38mm exit large format compression driver coupled to an Optimized Aperture Bi Radial horn.

KORG has introduced a new line of music workstations, the N-series. Featuring a new design and a metallic, two-tone, titanium finish, the 76-key N264 ($2,495.00 retail) and 61-key N364 ($1,995.00 retail) provide the user with 64-voice polyphony, Real-time Pattern Play and Record (RPPR) and a four-octave arpeggiator. Utilizing Korg's AI2 Synthesis System, an expanded 8MB of PCM waveform memory featuring 430 multisounds and 215 drum sounds yields 936 programs and combinations. RPPR enables the user to record and save musical phrases as patterns, then play the pattern back by pressing the note key it's been assigned to. Both units possess 16-track, 32,000-event sequencers and two independent, fully programmable, stereo digital multi-effects.

On the recording end, Korg was eagerly showing their SoundLink DRS which is a collection of recording components designed to work together as a complete system.These include the 168RC Digital Recording Console (approx.$3,500.00), the first truly affordable fully digital 8 buss automated recording console. It has a 16x8x2 configuration with a total of 24 Input and 22 Output interfaces in a combination of analog, ADAT Optical and S/PDIF formats. Available later this year!

There was an impressive demonstration of the new Trinity ProX ($6,999.00 retail) keyboard with 88 piano-weighted keys, 540 Meg Internal HD for 47 min of Hard Disk Recording, a SCSI port, S/PDIF Interface, 8Megs Flash ROM for sample storage, and the Alesis Digital Interface.

With the 8 Meg Flash ROM option about to be released, the Korg musicians were proudly showing off their new 8 Meg Disk Sets specifically designed to load into the 8 Megs of Flash ROM.

The Orchestral Elements Disk Set TFD-2S (price TBA) contains 8Megs of professional quality orchestral samples including: Harp Glissandos, Timpani Rolls, Xylophones, Flutes w/ natural vibrato, Woodwind Ensembles, Brass Ensembles, French Horn Ensembles, French Horn Rips, Cello and Violin Ensembles and Tremolo Strings. These 128 Programs and 128 Combis are loaded in the New C+D Banks which come with the Flash ROM Option.

Another 8 Meg Disk Set called Megga Pianos TFD-1S (price TBA) contains: A Stereo Dual-Strike Steinway Grand Piano, plus a Bosendorfer Piano from the 01/W ProX, the famous M1 Piano and the X2/i2 Piano. There are 64 Progs + 128 Combis which load into the new C+D Banks.

There are also some single floppy disks which contain 128 Programs, 128 Combis and Song data for use in all Trinitys: Dance Mix TFD-12 and Contemporary Mix TFD-11 (prices TBA) There are two new floppies for Trinity owners who have the Solo Synth Option installed: (TFD-13) 128 Analog and Vintage Programs and (TFD-14) 128 Modern Models Programs (price TBA).

KURZWEIL Music Systems demonstrated the latest in its line of Home Digital Pianos: the 88-key weighted Mark 12 (price to be announced), with SRS "3D Stereo Sound", plus over 300 sampled instruments and 64 user-editable auto-accompaniment styles featuring "Anyone Can Play" and a 16 track recorder/sequencer. There is also a Drawbar Organ feature that lets you create and save you own custom registrations.

On the Pro Keyboard side there was an amazing live performance of Kurzweil's "Take 6" CD-ROM (due later this year) which features extensive sampling of the vocal group Take 6. (price TBA)

They also performed on their newest 61-note K2vx ($3,495.00) and K2Svx with Sampling ($4,195.00) keyboards which are now shipping. They both have 24 MB of ROM on board, plus PRAM and 600 Factory Programs, 300 Setups and over 80 QA Banks. There will be an upgrade for existing K2000's later this summer.

Sweetwater got a sneak peek at the forthcoming 4 stereo buss, all digital multi-effects option for the K2500 Series called the KDFX (price TBA). From what we saw, it's going to be a very exciting and flexible addition to the already powerful K2500 series.

Kurzweil also previewed the DMTi Digital MultiTrack interface for the K2500 series (due later this year). This will allow the K2500 to communicate with the Alesis ADAT, Tascam DA-88 and almost any other digital audio equipment via the AES/EBU and S/PDIF standards. (Price TBA)

LEXICON is showcasing the new PCM 90 Digital Reverberator as a companion to the PCM 80 digital effects processor. The PCM 90 offers Lexicon's highest quality reverbs in a compact, single space, affordable package at $2,995.00. The PCM-90 can create realistic reverbs from large canyons down to incredibly realistic small spaces like phone booths and drum rooms. These can be controlled in real-time by preset or custom controllers and Dynamic Patching which maps data from any of 143 control sources to any effect parameter. You'll want one when you hear it!

LINE 6 may not be a name you know but their new AxSys 212 Digital Guitar System is likely to make them a familiar name. The 2-12" Stereo Combo Guitar Amplifier has classic tube sound, a full set of integrated digital effects, and total programmability. The digital signal processing (DSP) technology replicates the sound producing elements of classic guitar amp design and the trademarked TubeTone Modeling makes the AxSys 212 a shape changer with the sound of a whole range of the greatest amps ever. This 100 Watt amp blew us away in the demo booth and we can't wait to get our hands on one!

MACKIE featured their new SR40*8, a large-format, center-master section-style 40+4x8 mixing console with an unbelievable price-point ($8,995.00 retail), there is also a SR56*8 version ($12,595.00 retail), now available.

Of course they have been doing well with the new MS1202 VLZ, MS1402 VLZ, and CR1604 VLZ ($429.00, $599.00 and $1199.00) which, on top of having many new improvements, all feature Very Low Impedance circuitry that keeps these mixers as quiet as is humanly possible.

PANASONIC showed us their new SV-3800 Professional DAT Recorder. Based on the popular SV-3700, the SV-3800 incorporates technological refinements for enhanced sound quality and functionality. It features new 20-bit resolution DACs, together with the same type of 1-bit, 64 times oversampling A-D converter employed in the SV-3700. The result is wider dynamic range, lower noise, and greater linearity. In audible terms this means natural sound, true to the original, with minimum coloration. Retail price of $1,695.00.

RANE unveiled their new Mojo Series signal processing equipment. The five member group comprises of the MQ 302 Stereo Equalizer ($399.00), MC 22 Dual Channel Compressor/Limiter ($299.00), MX 22 Stereo 2-way Crossover ($299.00), MX 23 Stereo 3-way Crossover ($399.00) and MH 4 Four Channel Headphone Amp ($299.00).

RODE has brought back a "classic" sound to recordings with the Classic Valve Mic. It uses the rare and costly 6072 tube which helps define the warmth and richness that the Classic provides. The Classic comes with a Custom Flight Case to keep it safe between sessions. It includes a high quality external power supply that allows you to remotely select any one of nine polar patterns. Very cool! The body is hand-crafted from solid brass, textured with fine glass bead blasting, and then a nickel finish is applied to provide lifelong durability. A tremendous value at only $1,799.00. Available in the Spring.

Also offered by RODE is a Large Diaphragm True Condenser Mic named the NT2. Featuring Dual Gradient Tranducers with Large Diaphragm and Gold Plated Membrane to warmly receive and translate the full body of the performance. It also comes with a Shock Mount, Flight Case, and Pop Filter. All this for a breakthrough price of $749.00. We have it in stock now and it has been a very popular choice.

The huge ROLAND booth showed alot of new products. One of the coolest new entries was the MC-303 Groove Box, a self-contained, retro-styled sequencer and intergrated sound module. 448 dedicated dance sounds, 12 rythm kits, 300 variations on preset and user dance patterns, 16-part multitimbral and 8-track sequencer are just some of the features this groove making machine.

The new RA-800 Realtime Arranger provides professional multi-instrument accompaniment for performers using a MIDI keyboard, guitar or percussion set. Features include 128 music styles with 16 variations each, 689 sounds with 25 complete drum sets, 64-voice polyphony with 32-part multitimbral capability all on an easy layout with a large backlit screen.

Their breakthrough VS-880 Digital Studio Workstation (VS880HD, VS880J), a completely self-contained digital recorder/editor with a digital mixer, optional VS8F-1 onboard effects ($395), and removable or fixed storage media, is still a show winner with a list price of only $2,495 including an internal 540MB hard drive! ($2,895 with a Jazz Drive).

On a smaller scale, the PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant , a palm-held workstation, offers a 306 tone GM/GS sound source, an 8-track sequencer, the Intelligent Arranger with 600 Patterns, a serial port, and is operated with a custom LCD touch-panel. It's very, very cool at only $595.00! I have one!

Their newest 88-note weighted controller, the A-90 Expandable MIDI Controller, has 23 assignable controllers and 4 MIDI Outs for 64 MIDI Channels and 8 Zones. It can be easily expanded to become a true Stereo Digital Piano and Synthesizer with their VE-RD1 Voice Expansion Board ($545). It can also take the VE-JV1 or VE-GS1 Voice Expansion Boards as well. All of this power comes with a price tag of only $2,495 for the A-90 or $2,995 for the expanded A-90EX .

There was also the XP-80 Music Workstation ($2,595), with 76 weighted keys driving the same engine as found in their successful XP-50 and JV-1080 Synths.

The A-33 MIDI Controller , a very low cost 76-note weighted master keyboard was listed at $695.00.

The new SR-JV80-09 "Session" Expansion Board ($475) adds 8 MB of top quality vintage keyboards including a "true stereo" grand piano and brass, strings and pop-oriented sounds.

Roland introduced quite a few new amps starting with the KC-300 Keyboard Amplifier ($599.00), a 2 Stereo Input, 100 watt amp feeding a 12" full range speaker and a horn tweeter. You can link two KC-300s for true stereo. There is also stereo line output and stereo link in/out.

EQ's and Mixers and Amps! Roland has introduced the SR series, which includes three stereo power amplifiers, three rack mount graphic equalizers, two stereo mixers and one powered mixer.

The EQ-131 ($295.00) is a single channel, 31-band equalizer, while the EQ-215 ($345.00) and EQ-231 ($445.00) are dual-channel, 15 and 31-band equalizers. All three equalizers include a low-cut filter, peak LED indicator, balanced stereo TRS and XLR inputs/outputs and a bypass switch for monitoring the unprocessed signal.

The RX-62 ($245.00) and RX-82 ($345.00) stereo mixers are lightweight, desktop mixers with some impressive features. The RX-62 is a 6 channel mixer which has a five-point stereo output level indicator and a mono-send/stereo-return effects loop. The RX-82 features two-band EQ per channel, a seven-point output level indicator and a stereo-send/stereo-return effects loop.

The third mixer in Roland's new line is the PA-410 ($1,495.00) powered mixer. The PA-410 features 1- channels of powered mixing (200 watts per side at 4 ohms) with built-in digital reverb. The PA-410 features eight mono channels with three-band EQ, monitor and effect/reverb control.

The SRA series stereo power amplifiers are fan-cooled, rack mountable amps which feature multiple protection circuits to safeguard the amplifier and the speaker system. The SRA series amps are available in 260 watts (130 watts per side at 8 Ohms - $695.00), 540 watts (270 watts per side - $895.00), and 800 watts (400 watts per side - $1,195.00). These amps are designed to withstand the rigors of extended use and touring.

Following in the footsteps of the amazing VG-8 comes the Boss GT-5 floor-type multiple effects unit. It employs Rolands COSM (Composite Object Sound Modeling) technology for emulating the best guitar amps in history. Offering 28 effects total with up to 13 simultaneously, 150 presets, 100 user patches and fully MIDI compatible....way cool!

There were also many other guitar and studio processors like the GX-700 Guitar Preamp/ Effects Processor with 21 pro effects ($695), the SX-700 Studio Effects Processor with 27 effects and 3D Panning and Spacial Processing ($645), the ME-8B Bass Multiple Effects floor unit with 23 effects including a "Defretter" for a fretless sound ($499), the VT-1 Voice Transformer ($395) which can pitch shift from a slight detuning to a full +/- one octave. It can also produce robot and vocoder like effects. And finally there is the handy SN-700 Noise/Hum Eliminator ($1,295), which allows you to easily dial out annoying noises and hums either manually or automatically.

SHURE BROS. INC. has introduced the UHF wireless microphone system available in single and dual-channel configurations. Handheld transmitters are offered with Shure's industry standard microphone elements, including the Beta 58A and Beta 87 models. Body-pack transmitters feature Tini QG connectors, and are compatible with a full range of Shure's lavalier and headset microphones. The receivers and transmitters are capable of selecting 191 separate frequencies throughout the system's 782-806 MHz operating range. As many as 20 systems may be operated simultaneously. Suggested retail prices begin at $2,390 for a single-channel receiver with an SM58 handheld transmitter. A dual-channel receiver with two SM58 handheld transmitters is priced at $3,980.

SONY introduced their new Mini Disc Multi-track Recorder. It features 4-Track Recording and Playback (up to 37 minutes per track), new editing features, auto punch in/out, jog/shuttle wheel for smooth operation, an analog mixer with 10 inputs and 2 AUX sends.

Also new is the DTC-A6 Digital Audio Tape Deck ($995.00). Ideal for CD production, this basic master deck is capable of recording analog sourced in a 44.1kHz recording frequency, and can be connected with a wide range of equipment. Works with both coaxial and optical digital interface systems.

SOUNDCRAFT Soundcraft has introduced the Ghost Le console, which redefines the concept of performance value for musicians everywhere. It has all the features you need, including four band equalization with two fully parametric mids, 10 auxiliary buses, individually switched phantom power, four stereo returns, and much more! Basically, the Ghost Le console gives you all the features of the original Ghost without the incorporated computer facilities. Soundcraft's Ghost Le console delivers some truly awesome performance features at an outstandingly affordable price!

New from SPIRIT is the Folio Notepad, the smallest in the Spirit Folio range. It features 10 inputs, 4 Mic inputs, 2 stereo inputs, 2-Band EQ on every mono input, dedicated stereo effects return and global +48V Phantom power. This great multimedia mixer will go anywhere for just $249.95 retail. They also showed off the Spirit 8 Live Console. Available in four frame sizes- 16,24,32, and 40 mic channels- with up to 64 inputs available on the 40-channel version. Spirit Live 8 mixes 8 buses affordably with suggested retail prices: 16-channel ($4299.00), 24-channel ($5299.00), 32-channel ($6399.00), 40-channel ($8299.00).

STEWART ELECTRONICS has launched the Pro Reference amplifier series for professional recording studios, broadcast and project studio applications. These convection-cooled power amplifiers accept balanced and unbalanced signals with XLR or 1/4" TRS terminations. Output connections are made via binding post or 1/4" phone jacks. Additionally, the Pro Reference series features Stewart's Harmonic shift correction, which adjusts the peaks of the second- and third-order harmonics so they occur with the peaks of the fundamentals and are masked from the listener. These amps are backed by Stewart's five-year parts and labor warranty.

TASCAM introduces the 424 MKII Portastudio for the musician looking to take the next step up in multitrack recording. Superior audio quality, balanced XLR inputs, enhanced equalization and big-studio style AUX section make this the ultimate compact 4-track Portastudio. Plus tape Direct Outs, for integration with external mixers. It has to be the best Portastudio ever made! Retails at $599.00.

Look at the M 08 as a good choice for live recording, public address, multimedia production and other applications where rugged and compact, full featured, high-caliber and versatile mixer is required. Retails at ($349.00).

A new Power Amplifier, the PA-150 rated at 150W sounds great and delivers the power you need. Suggested retail price $400.00.

Tascam also showed two new products, the DA38 8 Track Recorder ($3,499.00), designed specifically for musicians and a MiniDisk based 564 4 Track Portastudio ($2,399.00)...both are extremely hot!

T.C. ELECTRONIC showed off the new Wizard M2000 digital studio signal processor. With the heritage of the incredibly popular M5000 behind it, the M2000 is a big hit. It has incredible quality effects and a brilliant user interface. It includes their new C.O.R.E. (Co-efficient Optimized Room Emulator) Reverb as well as seamless Morphing during preset changes and dynamic real-time control. It's generous 250 factory presets, 250 user presets, and Dithered Digital I/O connectors are even more astounding at it's retail cost of under $2000.00!

TC Electronic has expanded its Wizard series of effects with the Finalizer ($2,495.00). The Finalizer features a stereo 20-bit converter with 16-bit dithering. It also includes a 5-band stereo parametric equalizer and a 3-band stereo compressor/limiter/expander with extensive control parameters. Additional features include a normalizer, groove emulation, stereo enhancement, MS levels, and de-essing.

Well, that's all we could fit into this 1996 Summer NAMM Show report without writing a book about it. We were also privileged to see some private showings of as yet unreleased products. All we can say is that there is some great things coming soon from some prominent names.

I hope that we were able to convey the excitement and furious activity that makes the NAMM Show one of my favorite perks of owning a music retail business. If you have any questions about anything you've read here, please feel free to contact your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for more details and your special Sweetwater price.


Chuck Surack

Sweetwater Sound Inc.

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