NAMM Show 2018: The coolest music gear from this year’s show

The dust has settled on yet another huge NAMM Show, which took place in Anaheim, California from Jan 25th-28th.

This year’s music, pro audio and event tech trade fair saw international attendees increased by 8% with representation from over 100 countries totalling 19,356 registrants.

There was a LOT of gear to see, with 7,000 brands and nearly 2,000 exhibiting companies, and the MI sector did not disappoint with a number of product launches from some of the biggest names in the biz as well as tons of up-and-coming brands.

Here, we take a look at some of the NAMM Show’s musical instrument announcements that caught our eye throughout the fair:

IK Multimedia iRig Stomp I/O USB pedalboard

The newest piece of kit from IK is a USB pedalboard controller for Mac/PC and iOS. The IK Multimedia iRig Stomp I/O is an all-new generation of USB pedalboard controller for live and studio use, featuring a built-in 96k audio interface.

Ludwig NueSonic drum series

Ludwig Drums announced the release of a new series of USA-made drums, the NueSonic Series.
Distributed in the UK by Active Music Distribution, the new series is a “sensibly-priced mid-range kit” that consists of a hybrid 6ply maple/cherry wood shell that produces a warm tone, with the denser cherry giving it extra muscle when needed.

Korg Volca Mix

Volca mix is the long-awaited mixer for the volca series. It is a four-channel analogue performance mixer that lets you construct a live setup combining multiple volca units.

Volume faders are easy to control, plus crisp-sounding LO/HI CUT filters, and a master chain that radically transforms the sound. In addition to the sync function found on all volcas, there are also DC output connectors that can supply power for up to three volca units.

Audient iD44

British manufacturer Audient introduced its most powerful desktop audio interface to date, the iD44.

The new product features four Audient Class-A console mic pres offering 60 db of gain, all new class-leading converter technology, options for digital expansion, new intuitive, mix-focussed software specifically designed for ease of use when managing large sessions, an impressive potential I/O of 20in / 24out and an all-metal build.

3Dvarius Equinox violin

The Equinox is made of a mixture of 3D-printed resin, wood and aluminium. Like the original 3Dvarius, its central wood body is created in one single piece. This ensures a perfect accuracy of the audio spectrum and allows for smooth, optimal sound-wave flow throughout the instrument.

It is equipped with a “X Piezoelectric Pickup” to deliver a powerful sound and prevent feedback.

Martin Guitar X Series models

Martin Guitar announced three new X Series guitars at the NAMM Show – the DX1AE Macassar Burst, the DX2MAE, and the DX420.

The company will also introduce a new line of premium classical guitar strings, called Magnifico, as well as a line of premium ukulele strings.

VOX Nutube MVX150 amps

VOX’s new flagship amps are equipped with Nutube, the next-generation vacuum tube. The lineup consists of two models: the MVX150C1 combo amp and the MVX150H amp head.

While preserving the basic structure of a vacuum tube, VOX says it has eliminated the problematic aspects of tubes, and succeeded in creating a “dream device” that’s compact, consumes little power, and has a long lifespan.

Fender effects pedals

Fender released 6 new effects pedals: The Level Set Buffer, the Bends, Pugilist Distortion, Santa Ana Overdrive, Mirror Image Delay, and the Marine Layer Reverb.

Audified DW Drum Enhancer

Audio software and hardware effects developer Audified released the DW Drum Enhancer – an all-in-one drum processing plug-in produced in collaboration with DW Drums.

Designed to enable users to significantly speed up their work, Audified boasts that its new DW Drum Enhancer is “only drum processing tool that anyone would ever need to get the drum sound of their dreams”.

“Put it this way,” said the developer, “without DW Drum Enhancer, achieving any drum sound worth its weight in (musical) gold almost always necessitated the now-unnecessary utilisation of several different plug-ins to gate, compress, and EQ it to the heart’s content.

“However, it definitely doesn’t have to be like that, thanks to DW Drum Enhancer.”

Avid Pro Tools 2018

Avid introduced a range of new “powerful innovations for music and audio professionals” at this year’s NAMM Show, including Pro Tools 2018.

The latest release of Pro Tools 2018 “boosts the creative experience and accelerates workflows for greater collaboration with new features including Track Presets, retrospective MIDI record, MIDI editing enhancements, Playlist Comping enhancements, and much more”.

Pro Tools 2018 enables songwriters, composers, musicians, producers, and mixers to focus more on the creative process and less on laborious tasks. The new retrospective MIDI record feature ensures that users will never lose a performance, while shortcuts to quickly transpose, trim notes and edit velocities make music creation quicker and easier.

Aguilar Amplification Grape Phaser bass phase pedal

Bass gear manufacturer Aguilar Amplification announced the launch of its new Grape Phaser bass phase pedal.

The Grape Phaser provides lush, analog phase shifting courtesy of a simple, two-knob layout. ‘Rate’ controls the speed of the modulation while ‘Color’ feeds a portion of the signal back through the phase shifting circuit, creating “new and super funky bass sounds”.

Audiofusion in-ear monitor software

Austin-based start-up Audio Fusion Systems released its Audiofusion software at this year’s NAMM Show.

The software takes digital audio from the sound console or audio interface and broadcasts it in real-time over Wi-Fi, allowing musicians to hear and customise their own monitor mix on their mobile devices.


Check out all of MI Focus’ coverages of this year’s NAMM Show here.



About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.