special report: e:trinity @ namm 2004

the namm show is a bi-annual products show for the musical instrument industry, where products are unveiled for the coming year. namm is an acronym for the national association of music merchants, which has since been officially renamed the international music products association, although the "namm" name has remained due to tradition.

armed with his digital camera and a lot of anxiety, this electronic musician goes nuts in the halls of the anaheim convention center in nearby anaheim, california - home of disneyland. for the fourth year in a row, as a service to musicians and electronic gear aficionados, e:trinity brings you the best of the show.

  day 1: january 15

roland is the first stop at the far end of the main exhibit hall, where one gets the large roland bag to store all the brochures and swag and whatnot. this year they unveil the mv8000 (left), their answer to the akai mpc4000. incidentally, this sampling production station boasts compatibilty with several sample formats, including akai mpc files. it also sports a floppy drive, a cd-burner and a 40gb hard drive. roland also came out with the fantom-x (in various keybaord sizes), which is basically the usual fantom with expanded sound memory and fancy screen wallpaper images. 


korg unveiled their hybrid hardware-software legacy collection, which features classic korg synths in virtual form, along with the supplimentary ms-20 controller (left). the company also released yet another incarnation of its triton, the cobalt blue-colored triton extreme and their newest electribe updates, the ea-1 mk2 and the er-1 mk2 (uhhh, why not just call them the "ea-2" and the "er-2"?).


vestax, now a korg subsidiary, demo'ed its faderboard 400, a dj mixer-like midi controller which triggers notes and samples in a manner most familiar to djs. here a faderboard triggers samples from an akai mpc1000. each fader is assigned to a certain sample. pulling up and down on each fader triggers the sample, and leaving it up allows a sample to continue playing. the line between dj and musician continues to blur...


e-mu finally brought their long-awaited software sampler out of the labs and onto the show floor. the emulator x (left) is a hybrid pci card/software "desktop sampler system," which finally brings the first sampler manufacturer head-to-head with tascam's gigasampler behemoth. the emulator x comes out in february in different hardware configurations (the "studio" version features breakout box and sync features) for $599 and $299. a far cry from the $8000 emulator samplers back in the day. 



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