The Year In Gear: 2020

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a tough year. With a lot of our time being spent indoors, a silver lining to the pandemic is that many of us had more free time to work on personal music projects. According to an article from Rolling Stone, music gear sales sky rocketed at the height of quarantine in late March and April. Apple had over 13 million downloads of Garageband and companies like Roland, Splice, Reverb, and Guitar Center also experienced major spikes in sales as people locked down and began to expand their DIY home studios. Rolling Stone theorizes that quarantine has spawned a new generation of musicians and that we are in for a musical renaissance.

Despite it having been a crazy year for many parts of the music industry, lots of interesting and cool pieces of gear were released. Let’s take a look at and break down some of the biggest music gear releases of 2020 that you can add to your home studio.

AKAI MPC ONE

NAMM 2020 was full of huge announcements from music equipment manufactures like MoogSolid State LogicRaneBehringer, and much more. But one of the biggest and most anticipated gear release, especially for hip-hop producers and beat makers was the Akai MPC One. The Akai MPC One is the newest generation in the long and historic line of MPCs, a classic beat production tool. The MPC One features stand alone production capabilities, numerous inputs & outputs for studio connectivity, beat programing, and editing FX all in the table top device. A tape stop effect can also be found, as well as a a note repeat feature for trilling hi-hats, making the MPC One a one stop shop for producers and beat makers from all backgrounds. The newest line of MPC devices also features a touch screen which allows you to access a wide array of audio and MIDI editing parameter.

BEHRINGER TD-3

Behringer has been killing the game with their renditions of classic vintage pieces the last few years. In early 2020, Behringer released the TD-3 which is a clone of Rolands TB-303 which originally was released in 1982. The Roland TB-303 was best know for greatly influencing the creation of acid house with its ability to create intricate arpeggiated bass lines that users could manipulate with filters and effects. The Behringers version took everything that was great about the original and added extra patch points, midi and usb connections, and built-in distortion effects. Check out this demo of the TD-3.

SSL 2 & 2+

SSL (Solid State Logic) is a legendary company that’s made some of the worlds most coveted mixing boards. SSL began producing mixing boards and other interfaces in 1975 and has since been recognized for helping define the sound of 80’s pop and rock music. The SSL 2 and SSL 2+ are the first desktop audio interfaces that Solid State Logic has ever released. The SSL 2 features 2-in/2-out ports while the SSL 2+ features 2-in/4-out. The controls of this interfaces are simple and similar to other interfaces. However, it’s the Legacy 4K button that SSL has incorporated into the interface that separates it from the others.  The Legacy 4K button is a color enhancer that saturates any input signal to resemble the timeless sound of a vintage SSL mixing board and to help your tracks sound fuller and better.

MASCHINE +

Earlier this year, Native Instruments launched a standalone music production instrument that borrowed all the amazing qualities and features the MK3 had to offer and brought them to a whole new level. Maschine+ ditches the Maschine DAW and gives you the power to create music on the spot. However, if you do want to save and share your musical ideas, it’s easy to copy your projects into the Maschine DAW on your computer. In Maschine+, you’ll find Native Instruments most popular synthesizers (Massive, FM8, Monark, Prism, Raum, and Phasis). Sporting 16 pads, Maschine+ is a drum pad, a groove box, and a DAW all in one.

KORG WAVESTATE

This year, Korg released their new sequencing synthesizer, the Wavestate. The Wavestate reimagines wave sequencing which was first introduced to music producers with release of the Korg Wavestation. The Wavestate features 8 macro knobs for sound shaping, vector synthesis, up to 64 polyphonic voices, and allows users to activate up to 14 effects at a time. The biggest change the Wavestate brings to wave sequencing is it randomization ability. The randomization ability helps your sounds change texture over time to bring a larger organic feel to your sequence. The Wavestate also allows you to play up to four layers of sound to create rich and intricate soundscapes and rhythms.

PIONEER DJ DJM-v10

Pioneer tacked on another mixer to their extensive product line with the release of the DJ DJM V-10 this year. The DJM V-10 is a 6 channel mixer that combines Pioneers previous DJM-900NXS2 and the DJM-2000NXS and adds a whole new array of built-in effects specifically made for the live performing DJ. The DJM V-10 features 4-band EQ for each channel, HP and LP filters for all channels, an isolated master output channel, 4 built-in effects (reverb, short delay, long delay, and dub echo), as well as dual headphone monitoring.

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