Gear Diary’s Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

The National Association of Music Merchants Show, better known as NAMM is wrapping up. A lot of amazing music gear came out this year; these were the items that blew us away.

Gear Diary's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

IK Multimedia Amplitube Joe Satriani App

IK Multimedia comes through with the Joe Satriani AmpliTube App, which can be used as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) plugin or as a standalone app. The app includes 11 brand new models including 3 amps, 3 cabinets, and 5 stomps. When used as a standalone application, AmpliTube Custom Shop features a 4-track recorder section and a song-player for easy play-along capabilities. The SpeedTrainer function allows you to slow down the audio so you can learn Satch’s signature licks note for note without affecting the pitch.

d&b audiotechnik KSL Subwoofer

Gear Diary's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

The new KSL-SUB is a beast. It measures 39.4 x 35.4 x 17.7 inches and weighs 181 pounds. When driven by d&b’s D80 amplifiers delivers an output of 139dB SPL.

The unit features two forward-facing 15-inch drivers and a single, rear-facing 15-inch driver delivering greater efficiency and direct control for live sound events. d&b doesn’t make products for residential environments. This kind of sub would be used in a larger sound system for large theaters, houses of worship or concert venues.

d&b is known throughout the professional audio community for the company’s groundbreaking Soundscape technology. Using a proprietary processor and software modules d&b can implement an immersive sound experience that delivers better engagement and connection between the audience and performer.

Roland TD-27KV (From the V DrumsAcustic Design Series)

The Roland TD-27KV is described as a “mid-level” drum kit but it sure doesn’t look that way from here. It has a powerful new TD-27 sound engine that creates “premium-grade, fully-customizable drum and cymbal sounds.” It not only looks impressive but it has features that musicians of every experience will appreciate. These include:

  • Mid-size V-Drums kit with flagship-class sound
  • TD-27 sound module with advanced Prismatic Sound Modeling derived from the flagship TD-50
  • 14″ digital snare and 18″ ride cymbal with high-resolution, multi-sensor triggering for unparalleled dynamics and accurate positional detection
  • Large-diameter pads and cymbals provide an acoustic-like playing experience
  • Drum in a variety of hyper-realistic sound spaces with newly developed PureAcoustic Ambience
  • Hands-on interface for quick-and-easy selecting and personalizing drum sounds
  • Import your own WAV samples via an SD card
  • Stereo mix output and two assignable outputs for sending individual drum sounds to a PA mixer
  • Integrated 28-channel USB audio interface for professional computer music production
  • Three auxiliary trigger inputs for easy kit expansion
  • Onboard Bluetooth for drumming with music from a smartphone or laptop
  • Built-in practice functions for developing drumming skills

Gibson 70s Flying V

The music of our youth was typified by a few things. There was long hair, long drum solos and soaring lead guitar lines that were, oftentimes, played on the iconic V-shaped electric guitar. With the 70s Flying V Gibson has brought back a classic of classic rock and we love it. Available in white as a right-handed guitar, the 70s Flying V pays tribute to some of the greatest rock of all time. But the 70s Flying V isn’t just a trip down memory lane. No, this guitar has a classic design but is ready to create great music today. At just under $2000 it is a bit pricey but can you really put a price tag on recapturing your youth?

Check out this video!

Now tell us that doesn’t send you back to your youth and your parents tell you to “turn that crap down!!!”

Casio GP-310 Grand Hybrid Piano

Gear Diary's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

The Casio’s Grand Hybrid GP-310 may look like a traditional upright piano but those classic looks hide some great modern technology. It plays the way you would any piano but you get much more control thanks to the electronics built into it. There are six speakers, an amplifier, and a control panel that lets you control the sound- there are three classic “pianos” the GP-310 can mimic. So while the GP-310 looks like an upright piano but can sound like a grand piano that would be much larger and more expensive. In addition, you can turn off the speakers, plug in a pair of headphones, and play to your heart’s delight without disturbing everyone in the house or the paints next to you if you are in a music lab.

Features include:

  • A revolutionary piano experience designed in collaboration with C. Bechstein
  • Full-length Austrian spruce piano keys plus a true grand piano hammer mechanism
  • Enhanced EQ options, new Harpsichord tone, and new key on/off mechanical sounds
  • Enhanced touch response with a wider dynamic range
  • Three of the world’s greatest grand pianos, with improved response and longer decay
  • Newly-upgraded six-speaker sound system
  • Elegant cabinet with satin black finish New high-contrast inverted display for increased visibility

This video offers a better understanding of how this single hybrid piano can sound like three entirely different instruments. It’s pretty Coll and worth watching the entire way through!

Fender Hand-Wired ’64 Custom Princeton Reverb

Gear Diary's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

The Fender Hand-Wired ’64 Custom Princeton Reverb is another throwback to the sounds of old. As Fender explains:

Terrific for any kind of music, Fender’s Princeton is simply one of the most versatile and beloved guitar amplifiers of all time. It delivers quintessential Fender tonal response, reverb and tremolo; and it is the perfect size for guitarists who want a moderately powered amp for any stage or studio situation. And in the modern pedalboard era, it is the perfect platform for tone building.

With a solid pine cabinet for resonance and lighter weight and a hand-wired AA1164 circuit with tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo, the ’64 Princeton Reverb delivers the “quintessential Fender tone.” Fender explains that a number of benefits associated with hand-wiring an amp. It takes eight times as long to build compared to a printed circuit board. These include the sturdy connection between various internal components and the prospect of easier service if the need arises.

Other features include Fender Vintage Blue tone capacitors, three 12AX7 and one 12AT7 preamp tubes, 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube, a matched pair of 6V6 power tubes, 12 watts output power, 10” Jensen alnico P10R speaker for sparkling clean tones and moderate breakup, an extra-heavy textured vinyl covering, and a lightly-aged silver grille cloth. The amp comes with an included footswitch and amp cover. Add in the iconic looks of the amplifier, and it’s a solid investment at just south of $2300.

Akai MPC One

When the iPod first came to market it looked like a standalone device but it relied on a computer for set up. The first iPhones did too. In recent years however that is no longer the case. The iPhone now stands on its own and rarely, if ever, needs to be connected to a computer. That’s the idea behind the new Akai MPC One. Instead of depending upon a computer to process the music you are creating, the Akai MPC One stands on its own. It is, “a total music production solution to take your ideas from concept to finalized radio-ready beats.” From beat programming to editing to mixing FX and instruments and more, it does everything without the need to be plugged into your Mac or Windows PC.

Gear Diary's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards

It offers:

  • FULL CONTROL: MPC ONE delivers a truly empowering hands-on experience, ready for any music production task. Edit and trim samples with hand gestures on the brilliant 7” touch screen display. Express your ideas perfectly with the assigned knobs and touch keys that eliminate diving through pages of menus.
  • STUDIO CONNECTIVITY: MPC One integrates into your creative space with all the ports and jacks you need. USB, MIDI DIN, CV/Gate, and 1/4” line-level audio input. With USB and SD card slots, you can save, transfer and share your music.
  • PRO PERFORMANCE & TECHNIQUES: Your favorite music production techniques come standard on MPC One. Tape Stop effect, Note Repeat for pulsing hi-hats, and 16 Levels to play that melodic 808s plus many more.

With a 7” multi-touch display, four 360 degree touch-sensitive Q-Link knobs, sixteen velocity-sensitive RGB pads, a large rotary encoder knob, and a full-size SD card slot, this small device packs a punch. Connectivity includes a 1/8” headphone jack, a 1/4” stereo input/output, MIDI in/out, USB-A/USB-B, four TRS/Gate Jacks and network connectivity, the MPC One cuts the cord without taking short cuts.

Pioneer DJM-V10

Finally, there’s the Pioneer DJM-V10 mixer. Pioneer describes it as “a new breed of mixer, born of fresh thinking.” They go on to explain that it allows DJs to craft unique soundscapes that are sure to impress. The DJM-V10 is a 6-channel mixer with a 4-band equalizer and compressor.

Features include:

  • ELITE SOUND QUALITY: Feel the warmth of natural sound and hear every detail. Studio-quality 64-bit mixing and dithering processing, 32-bit high-quality A/D and D/A converters, a low-jitter clock circuit, and many other components all work to produce a full low-end, vibrant mids, and precise highs.
  • 6 CHANNELS WITH A WIDE RANGE OF INPUTS: You’re free to create your perfect setup with 6 channels and a host of different input types.
  • 4-BAND EQ AND COMPRESSOR: Take full control of your mix with the newly developed 4-band EQ. A built-in compressor enables further adjustment of the loudness of your tracks.
  • EFFECTS FOR MORE CREATIVE EXPRESSION: The expanded send/return section enables you to add external FX, or even combine them with built-in FX. Create unique sounds; the possibilities are nearly limitless
  • 3-BAND MASTER ISOLATOR: Effortlessly control the tone of your entire mix with the 3-band master isolator, featuring new boost/cut curves and adjustments to the crossover frequencies and other parameters. Grab the large dials and drive the crowd wild by drastically changing the sound.
  • DUAL HEADPHONES OUTPUT AND BOOTH EQ: The DJM-V10 makes back-to-back monitoring simple and comfortable. You can tweak the sound in the DJ booth just the way you like.

If you are a professional DJ this new mixer is worth serious consideration.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.