I’m sure you are all well aware by now that the NAMM 2017 show has just been and gone once again. It’s the reason why you’re reading Mixdown a little later this month, and the reason why there is so much new gear to talk about. 2017 looks like it is going to be a big year for many of the brands you love. With all the gear that there was to see this year in Anaheim, it was almost impossible to take it all in, but there were some standouts that will be taking the spotlight later in the year.
STANTON TURNTABLES ARE BACK
In one of the busiest rooms upstairs at NAMM this year, amongst all the hubbub and clutter caused by a lot of Gibson guitars set up to be played and even more people are trying to play them, there was a wall display of new gear from Stanton DJ, including the very first look at their new range of turntables on offer. Many of you will have used Stanton turntables in the past, and I am fairly certain every DJ that has ever laid hands on a turntable will have used Stanton head shells or cartridges at some point, so it was great to see this name re-entering the world of the rotating platter. Stanton have gone with a ‘no nonsense’ approach to this new range, delivering performance and staying away from unnecessary bells and whistles. The ST.150 certainly looks like a worthy contender as a SL1200 replacement, and the STR8.150 is a nice option for those who prefer a straight tone-arm action.
AND OF COURSE, PIONEER WERE THERE
It wouldn’t be a product rundown of new DJ gear if we didn’t get a look into what Pioneer had on offer. But that’s the interesting thing, Pioneer weren’t really showcasing any new DJ controllers, having just released one in December. They instead chose to use NAMM 2017 to unveil their new Prophet styled synthesiser, which went mostly unnoticed by the DJ crowd. Denon DJ, however were there with a range of new products to unveil. Their new SC5000 deck looked pretty impressive with a large seven inch full colour HD display, built into a really sturdy case with an eight inch jog wheel for good measure. They also had a new mixer to show and a new direct drive turntable that looked like a 1200 with a neon light built in. It seems that everyone is ready to give vinyl one more crack. Whether it be for data discs to control software, or regular vinyl recordings, it was great to see yet another turntable making its way into the fold again this year.
Of course, not to be left out, Technics released news of a new SL1210 model about two weeks after NAMM, showing that they too understand that it was the DJ community that did so much for their product range and so were continuing to offer products to answer the needs of the market.
MOMENTS OF NOTE
It was great to see a healthy selection of new products from Gemini on display this year. I have owned and used Gemini gear for over twenty years now and it still routinely takes a beating and asks for more. The new PMX-10 mixer reminds me of why I bought Gemini gear in the first place. It combines a simple layout with a clever design and gives the user the tools they want without loads of flashy tricks. Plus, it comes in at a realistic price and a tough build.
Another point to mention is the absence, once again, of Native Instruments, who seem to be making a habit of avoiding the big shows to spruik their wares. It seems the hardware and software giants from Germany prefer to stick to social media to create a buzz, focusing more on their end users’ opinions, rather than the industry folk who mill about at these things. So, whether that means nothing new is on the horizon for NI, or whether they are holding their cards close for a grand reveal later in the year is yet to be determined. We’ll just have to wait it out to see how they respond to the new releases from so many competitors.
Now comes those painful few months where we all have to wait for the exciting new products announced at NAMM to find their way into the Australian marketplace. There are plenty more worthy of a mention that have not been covered here, too many in fact. In my three days in Anaheim I certainly wasn’t able to see everything on offer, so I too will have to wait to see what lands later in the year.