We are here in Nashville for Summer NAMM and, even though it’s not as busy and crazy as its winter brotha in LA, we have to say that we are seeing many exciting products from the few participating manufacturers. Here’s a brief overlook of the ones that caught our ear.
Some of the most interesting ideas were related to new apps and hardware for musicians who own iPhones. Sonoma Wire Works, developers of the Studio Track (in the pic below, which transforms your iPod/iPad in a 4 track recorder), presented here the GuitarJack, a little box that connects instruments, stereo line inputs and microphones to the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPod Touch (2nd generation) via 1/4 inch instrument and 1/8 inch stereo mic/line inputs. The GuitarJack is also compatible with other iPhone apps like Recorder and the free Taylor Guitars Equalizer.
It won’t work thought with the brand new IK Multimedia Apmlitube app for iPhone – the Italian manufacturer created a similar connector for this purpose, called iRig. Selling at around $40, the iRig gives you the opportunity to transform your iPhone in a super portable “Pod” (although of course you’ll have the IK Multimedia amp emulations here, rather than the Line 6 ones). An extra $20 will give you the premium version of the app, with 11 stomps, 5 amps, 5 cabinets and 2 microphones.
Speaking of Line 6, they currently seem extremely focused on wireless systems, pushing their digital wireless products both for guitar and vocals – a good time indeed for this, considering the big fiasco related to the recent law that puts out of use a slew of analog wireless devices that use a certain spectrum of frequencies that was reassign to TV broadcasting. The Line 6 wireless systems use a digital transmission that bypasses entirely this problem and, according to the manufacturer, also delivers a better tone quality. We were particularly intrigued by their XD-V Wireless Microphone, that also offers sonic reproductions of seven popular live-sound mics through a switch placed directly on the body of the mic. Furthermore, the mic feature a removable capsule that (if you don’t trust Line 6’s design) can be replaced with the ones found on Audix, Shure and Heil Sound wireless mics.
One of the most surprising and unexpected products we saw was the Orange PC (not released yet). You may know Orange for their bright looking guitar amps. The Orange PC (or “OPC”) is a computer “embedded in a guitar amp. Selling for just over $1,000, it comes with over $1,000 of bundled software including a custom version of PreSonus’ StudioOne and IK Multimedia’s Amplitube. This is the first computer of its kind that you can connect yourself and your music to the digital world simply by plugging in your instrument.