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NAMM Report 2002

Jan. 17 - 20, 2002 Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim California

Well, another NAMM convention has come and gone, bringing thousands of musical instrument manufacturers and related music industry types to sunny Los Angeles, California, (Anaheim proper). In fact this was the 100th NAMM show. NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchants. It is a convention similar to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where buyers and manufacturers meet to plot out the year ahead, announcing new products and demonstrating current ones.

The weather was superb for January, sunny and near 70 degrees. No doubt, many of the convention attendees played hookey at least one of the days and visited Disneyland (hey, I've done it in the past!).

As a veteran of many "NAMM SHOWS", I couldn't help but chuckle as I'd wander around the convention center. The typical rocker types and wannabes were in full attendance, along with the contrasting prim and proper manufacturers representatives in business attire. Of course there were babes strutting their stuff too. NAMM is an intermingling of all of the different types of music industry people with common goals - learn & promote (and get free stuff!).

The major players in software and music technology occupied a corner of the main hall. The majors were there with their huge displays, along with some of the smaller and up and coming companies.

NAMM is often a vehicle to announce new products. We've rounded up a few of the more significant announcements.


Native Instruments had a nice presence at the show and were promoting their current products with demonstrations on a big screen. They announced their new "world premieres" including a new software sampler called KONTAKT, "designed to be the most powerful sampler ever created".

Kontakt looks inviting, eeh???

Kontakt boasts several new technologies including Realtime time-stretching and resynthesis, graphical breakpoint envelopes, an integrated loop editor, analog modeled filters, and visually displayed modulation. Kontakt will ship with over 3 gigabytes of sounds in various styles. Kontakt's advanced design allows for up to 256 stereo voices per instance on a standard computer. We were told that despite the incredible power and advanced capabilities, that Kontakt would happily run on less than state of the art computers. Both Windows and Mac versions will be coming soon. We can't wait to get our hands on it!

Native Instruments also announced Absynth for the PC! Right on! One less reason to fire up the Mac (sorry!)

Native Instruments "world premieres link" including more info on Kontakt and Absynth PC + new sounds


Steinberg had a huge display promoting their current products with demonstrations on a big screen as well. They were promoting "VST - The System". Of particular note is "VST System Link".

What is VST System Link? VST Sytem Link is a system for networking computers using Steinberg Virtual Studio Technology (VST) software and Audio Stream Input Output (ASIO) hardware. VST System Link enables the transfer of synchronization, transport and audio data between two or more workstations equipped with compatible software and hardware over standard digital audio cabling systems such as ADAT, TDIF, AES/EBU, S/PDIF etc. In a few words VST System Link lets you do anything you can do on one computer, only doubled (or tripled etc.) depending on how many computers you have (have an old PC or Mac laying around gathering dust?). This means for example that you can run audio tracks on one computer, run VST Instruments on a second computer, do VST Effects processing on another computer and mix it on a fourth computer. And best of all you can network Macs and PCs together. The two systems will automatically coexist as one! Basiaclly VST System Link removes the limitations of computer based recording allowing unlimited audio and VSTi tracks, unlimited effects and incredible polyphony on virtual instruments. Now you can use those old computers and make your system a monster, perhaps dedicating an old machine to run Halion or another sampler on. Exciting stuff!

Steinberg also announced WARP VST amp plug-in - "a virtual effect processor which makes milestones in the history of amplifier technology available as software".

Steinberg VST System Link info

Steinberg NAMM products page


On display at the Prosoniq booth was the all new Neuron Neuronal Synthesizer, aka "the Neuron". An unassuming little hardware synth, the Neuron has some exciting technology hiding under the hood. Model and template driven Multi-Component Particle Transfer Synthesis with realtime controllable synthesis model parameters is what it has going on. What does that mean? Radical sound sculpting capabilities.

Prosoniq's Description: "Providing the key technology for a neural network based analysis and synthesis technology, Prosoniq's unique algorithms empower the new Neuron synthesizer, to create an unheard range of sonic manipulations paired with an unique user interface. With over a decade of experience Prosoniq has developed important technology that allows to deduce instrument models from sampled sounds, allowing the Neuron synthesis system to provide parameters adapted to the actual sound and its unique properties, rather than to purely technical parameters." Looks mighty interesting to us!

Neuron Neuronal Synthesizer PDF with info


Emu was at NAMM promoting their current products including the new COMMAND STATIONS. They lowered the price to $999. on the XL-7 and MP-7. Also the Proteus 2500 and Orbit 3 are now shipping.

EMU's latest MODULAR SYNTH (slightly larger than the Proteus 2500),
will fit in almost any garage and can be remotely controlled.

No, just kidding, but Emu did have this sucker on display for their anniversary. It is their original modular design from way back when. I must admit when I saw the beast I asked "what the hell is that?" It did get a lot of attention!

EMU What's New page

More NAMM NEWS coming soon.

Have you seen our Reaktor 3 review.

Have you seen our Acid Pro 3 review.

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