Despite the absence of a physical NAMM Show this January, it’s still been a hectic month. 2021 started with a morose goodbye to the great MF DOOM, whose influence will, no doubt, be felt for years to come. Things continued downhill as COVID-19 vaccine conspiracists convinced themselves that the circuitry of a BOSS pedal was proof of a 5G chip within the vaccine fluid. However, the pro audio world managed to pull it back with a slew of exciting announcements and developments, making us all spoiled for choice on what to treat ourselves to in 2021.
In this round-up, we recap the biggest and best news of January 2021, giving you a comprehensive overview of announcements, product releases and new freeware you might have missed.
- On New Year’s Eve, the world mourned the loss of MF DOOM. Although announced on 31 December, the rapper and producer passed away on the 31 October 2020.
- Phil Spector, the producer and convicted murderer died aged 81 in prison. His Wall of Sound production technique influenced music in the 60s and beyond. He produced The Beatles’ Let It Be.
- Glaswegian DJ and producer, SOPHIE, passed away at aged 34 following a sudden accident. She was renowned for her experimental approach to pop music, collaborating with the likes of Madonna, Charli XCX and Arca, among others.
- COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theorists post a diagram of a BOSS Metal Zone circuit claiming that it was evidence of a 5G chip within the vaccine. It was not.
- Gearslutz is changing its name following an online petition.
- Native Instruments has its majority shares sold to Francisco Partners, who is planning to enhance customer experiences.
- Gibson acquires Mesa/Boogie, which will function as a Gibson Custom Shop or amplifiers.
- Behringer announces Super Partnerships with Sweetwater, Andertons and Thomann.
- Bandcamp rolls out its vinyl pressing service to independent artists and labels.
- MIDI 2.0 gets a rebranding, with a focus on Stuttgart Pitch.
- A new documentary, Sister with Transistors, celebrated pioneering women in electronic music, including Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram, among many others.
- Is Spotify planning to recommend new music by detecting emotions in your speech?
- Korg stole the show with announcements of the ARP 2600 M, Modwave, MiniKorg 700FS, Drumlogue, Gadget VR and Wavestate SE.
- Mackie, Kurzweil, Hammond and many more brands released new products at the Believe In Music Week 2021. Check them all out here.
- The Band’s Robbie Robertson is selling his iconic 16-channel Neve 8014 for an eye-watering price.
- Roland’s new Verselab MV-1 is a groovebox with an 808-style sequencer and 4×4 pad grid.
- JBL goes retro for its 75th anniversary with its high-end, retro-flavoured L100 Classic 75.
- Sequential releases desktop versions of the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10.
- Output and Barefoot Sound’s long-awaited studio monitor, Frontier, has arrived. Keep an eye out for our upcoming review.
- Universal Audio enters the effects pedal game with the UAFX series.
- Behringer has announced updates on the RD-9 drum machine, the PRO-800 polysynth and teased a revival of the RSF Kobol. It also announced new colours for the 2600: Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie.
- Stranger Things composer Michael Stein teams up with Protovalt to release The Protovault and Synth Lords music production platforms.
- Sony is soon releasing its 360 Reality Audio plug-in.
- Reason Studios introduces a subscription model with Reason+.
- Waves’ new NX:Ocean Way Nashville lets you mix in a virtual studio.
- Softube and Weiss continue their 12-year-long collaboration with EQ MP.
- Moog’s Model 15 app comes to Big Sur for less than £30.
- SychroArts VocAlign Ultra works on longer sections than ever before.
- We’ve uploaded a ton of MusicTech samples from our archive onto BandLab Sounds. The platform has a new feature that lets you audition and edit samples before downloading them. You’ll be able to quickly access this via the navigation bar on MusicTech.net – keep an eye out for new packs.
- Cymatics’ Diablo Lite is an easy-to-use drum enhancer.
- Orchestral Tools’ SINEfactory is a free subscription service, giving you new software on a regular basis.
- Puncher 2 Lite is a stripped-down version of W.A Production’s multiband compressor and transient shaper.
- Plugin Alliance gives away the Brainworx Ampeg SVT-VR bass amp emulator.
- SampleScience releases a free piano VST, Four EP. The independent developer is often releasing freeware, so its website is worth checking out, too.
- Sensel has dropped a free MPE preset pack, Express MPE, to give you an MPE masterclass with your soft synths and ASM Hydrasynth.
For more news, reviews, interviews and tutorials, head to musictech.net.