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NAMM 2023 live report: rolling news from the world's biggest music-making gear show

All the hot new guitars, synths, drums and other products as they're announced

NAMM sign
(Image: © Future)

NAMM 2023: Slotting into the distinctly unfamiliar month of April - but the very familiar surroundings of the Anaheim Convention Center in California - the 2023 NAMM Show is here, and it's promising to be... well, what exactly?

With many of the big players staying away - Fender, Gibson, PRS and Roland to name just a few - there was a danger that NAMM 2023 could have been distinctly lacking in the joys of spring, but it's looking like fears that we were approaching 'damp squib' territory were unfounded.

The good news is that there is plenty of new product to talk about - read all about all of it over on our NAMM 2023 hub page - and as the show kicks off for real, there's bound to be more to come.

And the even better news is that, whatever guitar, music tech and drum truffles turn up on the show floor, our hound on the ground will be there to sniff them out. Back in the UK, we'll be offering our own 'sideways' commentary on events, too.

You can expect this live blog to be updated from now and throughout the weekend as we start to get a glimpse of the good stuff, so keep it 'right here', as they say.

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It begins...

NAMM Show sign

(Image credit: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images / Contributor)

No NAMM live blog is complete without an external shot of the convention center, so here you go. The concept of time is flexible at the NAMM Show - what is actually three days can feel like 50 years - so by close of play on Saturday, the kids shown here enjoying the NAMM sign will actually have aged more than half a lifetime and be approaching retirement.

SSL 500-series module

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Today SSL previewed a new 500-series module, the B-Series 611B Dynamics Module. Based on the sound of SSL’s classic 4000 A and B series consoles, the module delivers responsive, “vibey” compression and expansion by emulating the topology of a bus compressor. With an onboard de-esser, auto-release and fixed ratio points, it’s said to be ideal for enhancing drum overheads or taming vocal transients.

Sony MDR-MV1 headphones

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ushered us into a soundproofed booth to demo its new open-back MDR-MV1 headphones, aimed at spatial and immersive sound creators. After playing us a clip using a 360-degree immersive speaker array, we heard the same clip through the MDR-MV1s, which emulated the spatial sound through Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology. The similarity was, dare we say it, a little bit mindblowing. Some might be sceptical of spatial audio, but after that demo, we’re convinced it’s here to stay.

Nord Stage 4

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Announced in February, Nord’s Stage 4 has been revamped with a new control panel design, an improved keybed, expanded effects section, an updated synth engine and more, making it a bold contender for one of the best performance keyboards money can buy.

Pioneer OPUS-QUAD

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Unveiled a few weeks ago, Pioneer’s beastly OPUS-QUAD is the brand’s first all-in-one system to feature standalone 4-deck playback. With a 10-inch touchscreen and sleek matte finish, it looks like something Batman might use for a house party.

Hammond XK-4

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

The new Hammond XK-4 is equipped with an all-new sound engine - the Modelled Tone Wheel 2 (MTW2) engine accurately reproduces the 91 tone wheels at the heart of all vintage Hammond organs, capturing the expressive imperfections that give vintage Hammonds their characterful sound.

Soma Laboratories Terra

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Soma Laboratories’ booth houses many weird and wonderful things, including the Terra, an unique analogue synth built into a block of wood and adorned with touch-capacitive buttons.

Audient iD24

audient id24

(Image credit: Future)

Audient's iD24 doubles down on the brand's reputation for delivering studio-grade audio at prices within reach of the bedroom producer. Unveiled earlier this year, this $399 interface houses two of the same preamps as their $40,000 ASP8024-HE console and packs a JFET instrument input, multiple class-leading converters, and ADAT expandability inside to boot.

Endorphin.es GHOST

endorphin.es pedal

(Image credit: Future)

Previously known for their modular gear, Endorphin.es makes a bold entrance into the pedal world with GHOST, a collaboration with YouTuber Andrew Huang. This multi-FX unit delivers reverb, delay, distortion and more, allowing the user to experiment with different routing configurations to fine-tune their sound.

Bitwig Studio 5.0

Bitwig

(Image credit: Future)

The kind folks at Bitwig gave us a guided tour of the recently released 5.0 update to their increasingly awesome DAW Bitwig Studio. Bitwig was already the daddy of all things modulation, but 5.0 ups the ante by introducing five new MSEGs (multi-segment envelope generators) and giving users the ability to modulate track and project-level parameters.

ESP Exhibition Limited Series Guitar

esp

(Image credit: Future)

ESP's Exhibiton Limited Series are supposed to be more than just guitars: they're works of art. Lovingly constructed at the brand's Custom Shop in Japan, these custom-designed and hand-built one-off wonders have been known to fetch well into five figures.

Endorphin.es Golden Master

endorphin.es

(Image credit: Future)

Not content with debuting its first ever pedal design at NAMM, Endorphin.es has decided to reveal two at once. The Golden Master is based on the brand's Eurorack module of the same name, a multiband dynamics processor that's supposed to sit at the end of your signal chain and give the final mix a bit of sheen, polish and drive. 

Sound Particles SkyDust

Sound Particles

(Image credit: Future)

A world first this year at NAMM, as Sound Particles debuts SkyDust, the first ever spatial synthesizer plugin. Imagine eight oscillators, each independently panned in 360-degree immersive sound, sent flying around your head by a spatialized LFO, sequencer and envelope generator... trust us, it sounds phenomenal. 

Blipblox myTRACKS

Sound Particles

(Image credit: Future)

Whilst some trendy samplers (Chompi, we're looking at you) imitate the look and feel of kids' toys for hipster kudos, Blipblox goes the whole hog and actually designs one that's made for kids to use. myTRACKS is a pleasingly plasticky 5-track sampler and drum machine that'll have your 8-year-old dropping lo-fi hip-hop beats on Soundcloud in no time. After the ABCs, comes the MPC...

Rhodes MK8

rhodes mk8

(Image credit: Future)

rhodes mk8

(Image credit: Future)

Rhodes' booth gave us the opportunity to see how their plugin emulation of the MK8 stacked up against the real thing, pictured here in a rather winsome military green. Let's face it, nothing's going to top the genuine article (that's why it costs $10k, folks) but the virtual instrument is a valiant effort, and more importantly, a way to get that lush Rhodes sound without remortgaging your home.

Yamaha CVP-909GP Clavinova

yamaha

(Image credit: Future)

Yamaha's flagship digital piano, the CVP-909GP brings together the aesthetics of a luxury grand piano with the kind of technological marvels you'll find in their most advanced digital instruments. Load up score files and play along with the lights above the keyboard, or improvise and the built-in accompaniment will track the key you're playing in, and jam along with you. 

ASM Hydrasynth Explorer

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

ASM’s Hydrasynth Explorer may not be new, but it’s been expanded with a 2.0 firmware update that adds per-voice modulation, LFO quantisation and three new memory banks to an already feature-packed wavetable synth.

Casio PX-S7000

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Casio’s PX-S7000 digital piano makes its NAMM debut today, and it's looking mighty fine in a stylish mustard colourway. Billed as the best-looking Privia ever made, the keyboard plays and sounds as good as it looks, thanks to a redesigned keybed and  a smart speaker system that can be fine-tuned to match the acoustic profile of its surroundings.

Casio Casiotone CT-S1

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Aesthetics are certainly a focus for Casio this year. This special edition of the brand's Casiotone CT-S1 keyboard has been jazzed up by artist Romero Britto.

Audient

NAMM 2023 live blog

(Image credit: Future)

Back at the Audient booth, the EVO 16 and EVO SP8 sit underneath its iD24 interface. The 16 is EVO's most powerful audio interface yet, and offers 24 ins and outs, eight stellar preamps and a slick new UI. The real draw, though, is the new Smartgain tech, which automatically sets gain levels across all inputs to make complex recording sessions quicker and easier.

Embodme Erae Touch