NAMM 2013: what to expect

Posted Dec 21, 2012 at 4:00am
Read more about NAMM 2013: what to expect at MusicRadar.com

Easily the most important event in the music-making industry calendar, the Winter NAMM show brings together all of the major hardware and software manufacturers and a host of celebrities for an industry-only convention.

MusicRadar will be your eyes and ears at the show, bringing you the latest from the likes of Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Marshall and many, many more.

Here's an early look at what to expect from Winter NAMM 2013.

Tech

  • The first iOS music making peripherals with Lightning connectors on them. Apple is no longer using the 30-pin dock on its new products, so we'd expect manufacturers to start supporting the new standard soon.
  • More software/hardware hybrid products along the lines of Native Instruments' Maschine and Akai's MPC Renaissance.
  • New products from Korg and Roland, though in recent years they seem to have held some of their bigger releases back for the Frankfurt Musikmesse.
  • More software-specific MIDI controllers along the lines of Novation's Launchpad for Live and Nektar's Panorama for Reason.
  • Not so many new plug-ins – it seems that most developers have now decided to do online launches away from show time.
  • We're not sure if either company is exhibiting, but we might just hear more from Ableton and Bitwig on when Live 9 and Bigwig Studio will be released.
  • Thunderbolt-compatible interfaces... and maybe even some USB 3.0 ones.

Drums

  • Natal has delivered several new lines since it was taken over by Marshall in 2010, so we’re keen to see what NAMM 2013 has in store and whether it can top last year’s unveiling of the gorgeous American Walnut kit.
  • Another company well and truly on a roll and sure to have something up their sleeve is Premier. Hot on the heels of the announcement of their One Series, more movement looks likely from the iconic Brit brand.
  • A trend from last year’s show was the increasing popularity of shallow bass drums, will that continue this year? Or perhaps we’ll see a new trend develop – garish finishes perhaps?
  • On the cymbal front, the big hitters Zildjian, Meinl, Sabian and Paiste are all decent bets for new product.
  • Roland has just unveiled its ultra portable TD-4KP kit, so it may be a quiet show for the electronics giant, although there could be developments on that front from Yamaha, Alesis and co.

Guitars

  • Gibson led the charge in terms of massive new guitar announcements ahead of NAMM 2013, with 69 new-for-2013 electric guitars already available to order through US retailer Sweetwater. NAMM will be the big showcase for the redesigned models, which include ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s tribute SGs and Les Pauls.
  • As with every other year, Fender will undoubtedly have plenty of wallet-busting new guitars on the boil, and the company will no doubt be bursting with confidence after a good year. Expect a crop of revamps and new artist models as it capitalises on the momentum it has built over 2012.
  • Legendary British amp manufacturer Orange is promising great things at NAMM 2013, with a keynote speech scheduled to announce a “world first”. Details are thin on the ground, but whatever it is, Orange is making quite the fuss about it.
  • Last year, Peavey launched the self-tuning AT-200, and with Gibson offering the Min-ETune as an option with a number of its new 2013 models, don’t be surprised to see plenty more versions of this technology cropping up across the show.
  • In the wake of the arrival of the iPhone 5, there’s sure to be all manner of gizmos and gadgetry to get guitarists connected to their favourite shiny new Apple device this year. Fender quietly slipped out an Apple compatible Squier earlier in the year, which could well be the tip of the connectivity iceberg for 2013.
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