8 hi-tech products to look out for at NAMM 2009

Expect Celemony's booth to be busy again at NAMM.
Expect Celemony's booth to be busy again at NAMM.

With only two days to go before the start of the 2009 Winter NAMM Show in California, attention is turning to the products that might be announced there.

MusicRadar can't reveal too much at this stage, but if you simply can't wait for the hi-tech software and hardware manufacturers to make their official announcements, feast your eyes on the rumour-fuelled list of possible launches below.

We'll bring you all the news as it breaks but this is how it's looking so far…

1. Ableton Live 8
It hasn't been confirmed yet - and if it does arrive, we're not expecting it to be a huge update - but the indications are that a new version of Ableton's groundbreaking DAW could be shown in Anaheim. If the rumours are to be believed, there might be a couple of other Live-related announcements, too, one of which could be even more exciting than the revision of the software itself.

2. The 'producer product' from Native Instruments
We already know that NI will be launching three new products at NAMM - the invite to its press conference says as much - but it's the one for producers that's got us the most excited. Our hunch is that the guitarist and DJ releases will be based on existing rather than new technology, but if the third product is what we think it is, it deserves its billing as "the biggest NI product innovation in years".

3. Cubase 5
We can't say we've heard much about this one - not in spec terms, anyway - but we'd be very surprised if it wasn't launched this week. Steinberg's revelation that its NAMM announcement will concern "the apex of many years of technology developed through our passion to help musicians, composers and producers realise their musical creativity" certainly points towards a Cubase update.

4. Melodyne Direct Note Access
Remember Celemony's Direct Note Access technology? You know, the software that lets you blow apart polyphonic audio and edit the timing and pitch of individual notes? Having had its release date delayed - it was originally supposed to be available in the fourth quarter of 2008 - we hear that it's finally ready to go, and should be shown in its almost-finished form at NAMM.

5. A new 'hybrid' product
OK, we've got to be careful what we say here, but we reckon that one of the hi-tech industry's more noteworthy hardware companies will release something that incorporates two of their most famous technologies. Sorry if that sounds a bit vague, but by the end of Thursday, you should know what we're referring to.

6. Something different from TC Electronic
When TC announced that it would be launching a "totally new product category" at NAMM, we started to get rather excited. However, we've since learned that, although it might be new for them, it won't be so groundbreaking in overall market terms. We might have got it wrong, though, so keep an eye on what the company is up to.

7. AmpliTube 3?
A real shot in the dark this one, but we know that IK Multimedia has plans to announce something (it's scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon), and a new version of AmpliTube seems like a logical launch for them. That said, we predicted it a few months ago and got it wrong, so don't go betting the farm.

8. Plug-ins
A bit of an obvious one, this - it's a dead cert that we'll see new effects and instruments at NAMM. We'd say it's worth paying particular attention to what FXpansion has been up to, though, and it wouldn't surprise us to see a couple of hardware manufacturers dipping their toes in software waters, either.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.