Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2015 Edition

Packrat Barry

Techno Geek Toys

The Warmest of Couches

I'm sure this is one of the warmer couches you could ever hope to own but if it's true to form, there can only be one occupant at a time.


Linnspired Design

For a guitar player, Roger Linn sure has made his mark on electronic music. His latest creation is this MIDI controller that provides expressive touch control.


Put Your Hand in the Air

The Crystal Ball is another device that's trying to make EDM laptop jockeys a little less boring to watch on stage.


Conducting a Rave

If the Crystal Ball is a bit to tame for your tastes in touch free sound triggering, try the Space Harp on for size.

  • SpaceHarp Corporation
  • 2020 North Main Street #240
  • Los Angeles, CA 90031

Steampunk Rodent

I loved the future retro mouse that PSP were using in their booth. It's not a product that they sell, they were simply using it on the computer that they were demoing their new rotary speaker emulator L'otery, which has quickly become my favorite Leslie emulation.


Your Brain on Drugs

Extreme headphones call for extreme mannequin heads. The "extreme" part of the EX-29 headphones is actually the 29dB of isolation, which is pretty impressive.


A Murder of Metronomes

Like a murder of crows, except in this case you become homicidal if you listen to them for too long.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

If you're using a modular synth, please do something more interesting than what can be achieved with a bunch of digital metronomes. (see previous video)

Stealth Boomer

The idea here is the speaker enclosure design will create an acoustic shadow that prevents the output of the speakers to reflect off of surfaces between the listener and the speaker. They've also got on-board DSP to tune and emulate multiple speaker types. I listened to these in a Whisper Room at the show and wasn't immediately blown away but then again, my ears were most likely already blow out because NAMM.

  • Phasx Technologies, Inc.
  • 1631 Rock Springs Road, Ste. 335
  • Apopka, FL 32712

Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy

It made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs… and other Star Wars references applied to a DJ controller.


The Barest of Bones

Teenage Engineering would be hard pressed to make their Pocket Operators any more stripped down.

They've got three models to cover drums, bass, and synth sounds.


Like Flies to Honey

…except that instead of honey, it's springs with transducers that you can whack, scrape, and generally beat on to produce interesting noise.


Considerable Mass & Capital Outlay

The Behemoth equalizer certainly lives up to it's name. This digitally controlled passive tube EQ fills four rack spaces, weighs a ton, and costs a pretty penny.

  • Apora Audio UK Ltd
  • Unit 102 Rivermead Business Park
  • Rivermead Ind. Estate, Swindon
  • SN5 7EX, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Flight Case CAD/CAM

Princeton uses a computer controlled cutter to make custom foam inserts for flight cases. If you're extremely particular about how your gear fits into cases, you've found the promised land.

  • Princeton Case West
  • 1444 West McCoy Lane
  • Santa Maria, CA 93455

Canal Scanner

I've had ear impressions made for custom in-ears and while it wasn't that harrowing an experience, I've got to imagine that this 3D ear canal scanning system would be more pleasant.


Boutique Pedal Canvas

Not only can you buy one-of-a-kind paint jobs on ZVEX pedals, they're now creating panoramas across multiple units.

  • ZVEX
  • P.O. Box 1651
  • Minneapolis, MN 55416
  • (952) 285-9545

Evolution of the Prototype

The experiment that I saw last year at NAMM may become an actual product… maybe. As of late 2015 their website still was not up so it seems that they're not quite ready for prime time.


(Not So Evil) Mastermind

This Mastermind is an uber-configurable controller that outputs MIDI patch change, CC, or sysex data. The text and color of the displays are all up to you.

  • RJM Music Technology, Inc.
  • 2525 Pioneer Ave., Suite. 1
  • Vista, CA 92081

The Most Chibi of DJ Controllers

It's been my observation that one of the essential qualities required for something to be "cute" is that it needs to be small. This is just adorable.


A Differently Skinned Cat

Once you get past the Wii-like graphics, this new pitch to MIDI software looks promising. They don't use the traditional FFT analysis and they promise faster, more accurate tracking. My test in the ambient noise levels found at NAMM was inconclusive.


Corporate Branding

It almost doesn't matter what products this company fielded, they were going to make my list based entirely on their name. Fortunately they did have a couple of interesting-looking items.


Sonic Blinders

This is another product to help with recording in less than ideal environments. Your mic goes into the "eyeball" which will reduce off-axis sound pickup and provides an integrated pop filter.


An Interface for the Swiss Army

Line6 has packed a plethora of features into their Sonicport VX USB interface including: stereo condensor mic, headphone outputs, mic inputs, guitar inputs, and a mini POD processor.


How to Get Noticed

These guys have figured out how to make their products stand out in a crowd. Granted they look a little bit Fisher Price for my tastes, but the company was started by former Blue founders so I doubt that performance is going to be lacking.


Larger Than Life

Woz holds special significance for me. The Apple ][ was the first computer I ever programmed and I've used Apple computers ever since. I also did computer graphics backstage at the 1983 US Festival that he put on. His interview on stage at one of the NAMM Breakfast Sessions was really quite entertaining.

Next Up: You Figure It Out

©2015 Barry Wood