It’s that time of year again, and as we say goodbye to 2021 (how the heck did that happen?!) we say hello to what we consider some of the best new music production gear of the year. While every year presents us with a plethora of new tools, instruments, music software, and hardware, we can’t guarantee we’ve found everything new under the sun, or that what we’re suggesting here is the end-all be-all.
What we can do is introduce you to three of the best sounding, most exciting, and most lauded new pieces of equipment from over the last twelve months, from user review, professional critique, and the NAMM convention’s favorites.
Without any further ado, here’s a manageable 2021 Music Gear Wrap Up.
1.) Imperative Audio PVB (Portable Vocal Booth)
Ever since 2020, the logistics of recording studio albums has changed. While it was once common to travel to the engineer or producer’s studio, where their vocal booth is permanently situated in a specially built room, or closet, these days bands want the studio to come to them, or to a desired location that may not necessarily be a professionally designed recording studio.
Living rooms, churches, empty stores, anything you can imagine are currently being retrofitted as temporary studios so bands can be as comfortable as possible. I know this because my group most recently recorded a full length album in our bassist’s great room, with its high ceilings and many angled walls.
This begs the question: where to do vocals? You used to have to find a bathroom, or closet, and cover the walls in towels or foam, but no more. Portable Vocal Booths, such as the Imperative Audio PVB, allow you to put the vocal booth wherever you want, and get the proper sound and dampening your studio vocal microphone needs.
They’ve taken “space, comfort, versatility, and acoustics” into consideration, crafting a booth larger and more effective than the standard smaller vocal “shields” used for location recordings in the past. It is made of aluminum, for lightness, and the legs can be taken off and used as a amplifier baffle.
Although it is currently only available in the UK, it will be available worldwide in 2022.
Here is where you can get one, and a video of the Vocal Booth below:
2.) M Audio’s M-Track Solo and Duo USB interface
Our friends at M Audio have released a new version of one of the most important pieces of gear in any studio setup: the audio interface. The M-Track Solo and Duo are easy to use, simple to implement, intuitive audio interfaces for your musical, podcast, or voice over production needs. They’re lightweight, affordable, and sound fantastic.
Connecting to your Mac or PC via USB, the M-Tracks offer two simultaneous inputs and outputs with Crystal pre-amps. The main difference between the two is the Solo can take one microphone (XLR)/line input and the other input is just a line input, whereas both of the Duo’s inputs can take microphone or line, depending on what you need. They both have phantom power for condenser microphones, as well as direct monitoring which prevents latency issues.
Also, they include the software you need to get recording right away. DAWs include ProTools First Audio edition, as well as MPC beats. It also comes with plug ins and a virtual instrument called Expand2. It’s incredible how affordable these units are for their performance and add-ons.
Here is where you can get one, and here is a video of the USB interface below:
3.) Ashdown NF-1 and NF-2 Studio Monitors
Now I know what you’re saying, “Ashdown Engineering?” The bass amp company? Yes, you read correctly. In an effort to offer you alternatives to the industry standards, we wanted to introduce you to the new kid on the block of professional studio quality monitor speakers.
Ashdown has pulled out all the stops in designing two models of monitors designed specifically for small to medium studios, or portable studio set-ups. The difference between the models is whereas the NF-1 has one 5” woofer while the NF-2 has two. Taking inspiration from BBC LS3/5 monitors of the past, Ashdown has included a vintage speaker mounting set-up, and included a live VU meter in each speaker. And since they’re a bass amp company, they woofers have a rolloff at 20 kHz to avoid nasty high pitch squelching frequencies.
These babies are so state of the art, they’re not available yet, but pre-orders are being taken for 2022.
As 2022 begins, get ahead of the game by checking out these new pieces sure to make your travel-ready home studio is equipped with the top of the line for those on-location sessions. When your music is ready, get it heard with online music promotion from one of the top music promotion companies in the business. Call Planetary Group in LA at (323) 952-5050 and we’ll help you find your niche.