Well Winter NAMM 2012 kicked off this past week and my initial thoughts at the beginning of the week were that it was going to be a bust. If trends mean anything (and apparently they do not) I was under the impression that NAMM was going to be stuck in the perpetual cycle of iterative software announcements. To my pleasant surprise however, we got to see a whole bunch of interesting hardware announcements.
Waldorf Pulse 2
This is one of three serious analog synths announced at this year's NAMM. Analog seems to be back and in a big way. The Waldorf Pulse was the one that excited me the most, mostly because of its form factor. I can see this little guy sitting very nicely next to a Blofield and a DS Evolver.
Perhaps garnering the most attention at the show was the Arturia Minibrute. This was a surprise for everyone since Arturia has never produced a hardware synth, let alone an analog. I have seen many a talk over at LivePA.org with excitement about the fact that there is a control for every parameter here. The steiner-parker (no idea what this means) filer also is garnering a lot of talk.
Personally I am not excited about this one, but it has the Moog name on it and is MSRP'd at ~$650. I suppose that is enough for a Moog.
Akai also seems to have come on very strong this year with a bunch of MPC stuff. The MPC Renaissance is a full on controller for the PC. The MPC Fly looks like a very interesting hardware interface bringing MPC pads to the iPad in a clamshell type case. They also have a nice grouping of Midi controllers that seem to be stepping up the level a notch.
Nektar Panorama Controller for Reason
The final piece of gear that surprised me was the Nektar hardware controller for Reason. We have seen over the past couple of years a lot of dedicated controllers for Ableton Live. It makes sense that Reason would eventually get one too since it has such a constant interface. I am personally not a Reason user, but this controller has a really solid look to it.