Best New Gear for 2015: Check What's Coming!
Published: Mon January 26, 2015
If 2014 was a great year, full of interesting and innovative new gear, 2015 promises to be even more so! Here's a look at NAMM 2015 and what we've learned. Read on to find out what products will be HOT in the next 12 months!
IN 2015, ANALOGUE SYNTHS WILL BE MASSIVE
As we predicted last month, NAMM 2015 was dominated by analogue synths. That the eagerly-awaited ARP Odyssey would be a success was no surprise - get ready to hear it a lot from now on! Even Stevie Wonder, a NAMM Show regular, turned up to check it out:
But there were lots of genuine surprises: Moog resurrected their Moog Modular synths, which will certainly make many retro fans very happy... a true blast from the past:
But the analogue synth that really got people talking was the Roland JD-XA, which was on display only - no one heard a single note! But it will be a welcome return to analogue polysynths by Roland, and that's good enough in anyone's book! If the Roland JD-Xi was already pretty cool news at NAMM, then the JD-XA promises to be HUGE: we're talking about "Jupiter 8 for the 21st Century" good here... could it live up to the expectation? We'll have to wait and see... the JD-XA doesn't have a release date yet, but it's certainly the most eagerly awaited gear of 2015:
Akai is a brand that will be very popular in 2015. Well, it's pretty popular already as it is, but the new releases they've announced have all it takes to become some of their hottest gear ever! We still love 2014's Rhythm Wolf, an incredible versatile analogue drum machine & bass synth, which is a bargain for the price. Now, Akai seems to have developed those two ideas a bit further and released two related products - the Tom Cat Drum-Machine, and the Timbre Wolf Analogue Synthesizer, which could go on to be the affordable analogue synth of the year:
One announcement that was pretty interesting came from Korg: they'll be releasing a new version of the popular MS20 Mini analogue synth. This time, it'll be a build-your-own MS20 Mini kit, but in a different shape. The new rack-sized Korg MS20 Mini Desktop Kit is very convenient and versatile despite being keyboard-less. And, it also comes with the new SQ1 Step Sequencer!
But if retro is hot now, it doesn't mean that state-of-the-art innovation is not welcomed! On the contrary - and proof of this was Akai's most popular product at NAMM: the new Advance Keyboards, which won a well-deserved Best In Show award. Designed to fuse the capability of software instruments with the live playability of a keyboard workstation, the Advance Keyboards transform computer-based plugins into an entirely hands-on playing experience. These could be the only MIDI controllers you'll ever need...
NORD had previously announced they'd be showcasing new gear at NAMM, which got everyone curious and excited, and no-one was disappointed! The new NORD Electro 5 Stage Piano is set to be the most desirable keyboard for the musicians who perform live, with great new mellotron sounds, Leslie Rotary Speaker simulation, plus all the piano and keyboard sounds you'll ever need, super bright OLED display and many other new improvements over previous NORD models!
Finally, another big hit at NAMM 2015 which is sure to be very popular this year, is the new Novation Launchpad Pro, which is even better than the original Launchpad - one ofthe most popular pieces of studio gear in recent times! The Launchpad Pro offers all this and lets you do even more with Ableton in the studio, all without requiring any setup, just plug and play.
With the extra buttons you might be afraid that the Pro will be harder to use, but there's no need to worry as Novation have created four separate modes of operation that let you use the LP in various inspiring ways.
THE HOTTEST NEW GUITAR GEAR FOR 2015
In 2015, mini will be big! The trend of mini pedals will continue, and two mini, well-priced and pedalboard-friendly versios of old classics could prove to be a hit in 2015. The Ibanez Tubescreamer Mini uses the same JRC4558 IC chip that gave the classic TS-808 Tube Screamers their legendary overdrive tone, so it's safe to say this new pedal will be one of the hottest new pedals in 2015!
Another little pedal that made big waves at NAMM 2015 was the new Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah, a compact and versatile wah pedal that could easily become the most popular wah in year. Affordable and with three different tonal options, this is a wah wah that will fit any pedalboard, and is perfect also for players who never tried a wah before... not surprisingly, it was also awarded Best In Show at NAMM!
Another brand that showcased some great new pedals was TC Electronic, who in the past couple of years has become a major force in the compact pedals area. The Viscous Vibe and Helix Phaser were all cool new additions to their range, and no wonder their booth was very popular at NAMM!
TC Helicon announced the Mic Ditto Looper, which, if the success of the original Ditto Looper is anything to go by, will be very popular in 2015! This new Ditto pedal is made for singers and has XLR inputs and outputs.
As for guitars, Fender's booth was as popular as ever. Sure, synths really took off at NAMM 2015, but guitars are still huge, and, of course, when Fender announces a new range, everyone wants to check it out!
And it was the same with Gretsch, who've released some great new models for 2015. Like Fender, Gretsch is always very popular, and delivered exactly what people wanted - classic instruments, with that flavour of classic 1950s Americana.
Going in a slightly different direction, Epiphone announced their new 2015 range, most of which take classic and well-loved designs but giving them a modern flavour, like the Tommy Thayer signature Les Paul, an unique, Limited-Edition guitar paying homage to the Kiss guitarrist. Even Robbie Krieger (The Doors) had a go!
Ibanez was of of the first brands to announce their 2015 range, so everyone more or less knew what to expect at NAMM - and, as expected, it was a hit! Paul Stanley of Kiss wasn't there to promote his new signature guitars, but many other famous musicians dropped by, from George Benson to check some new jazz models, to Paul Gilbert (pic below) who was promoting his own signature guitars. Considering the popularity of Ibanez at NAMM, there's also no doubt the Ibanez New 2015 Models will be a big deal this year!
And that's it, for now! We can't wait for NAMM 2016, but in the meantime we'll all be enjoying some great gear in 2015, and you can be sure that many other great new products will still see the light of day in 2015... it'll be another fantastic year for musicians, DJ's and producers!
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