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Road-weathered faces rubbed elbows and tilted hats scratched records in what may be the largest such expo on the continent. Even those in the music industry can tally up the music festivals and the international artist tours, and still there will be few learning experiences as prized as the NAMM Show.

It's here where roadies, live performance artists, back-of-house technicians, production experts and more exchange knowledge with representatives from prestigious tech providers like Pioneer DJ, Harman/JBL, Cerwin Vega, Technics, Guitar Center and AudioTechnica, among many others. Organized by the National Association of Music Merchants, the NAMM Show is the first opportunity for many to see and experiment with all the newest gizmos for live performance and studio recording.

From microphones and mini-amps to synthesizers and soundproofing, music-makers hoping to bulk up their home studio frequent the event. For those heading back into the office, some brands offered affordable solutions for collaboration. For recording artists heading back into the studio, the expo was a source of tools and resources unlike any they’re likely to find all year.

NAMM_2022 - Josh Gill (4)

Alongside the many groundbreaking tech innovators in the music industry who exhibit, the 2022 iteration of the NAMM Show hosted the 37th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards, a “Loud System Speaker Showcase” and workshops such as “The Future of The DAW: How AI, Blockchain, and the Cloud will change DAWs Forever“ and “Top 5 Streaming Growth Tactics in 2022."

Thought leaders like Tana Douglas, who is prevalently acknowledged as rock 'n' roll's first female roadie, were in attendance alongside fellow pathfinders such as Peter Asher, the Grammy-winning producer and performer who this year received TEC’s Hall of Fame award. Even Stevie Wonder was there.

Here are the top gadgets we saw that made NAMM 2022 such a memorable one for audiophiles.

AKG Lyra

The ultra-HD Lyra from AKG is one of the most easy-to-use USB mics on the market today. Between its low price and its versatility for podcasts, YouTube videos and studio-grade function for the home, it’s a must for any professional working out of their own studio.

Price: $99.00

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Pioneer XDJ-XZ-W

If budget is a factor, but you still want to train on something that looks, feels and plays just like Pioneer DJ's CDJ-3000, the XZ-W is a stellar option. As an all-in-one system, the controller offers four channels to connect additional gear, plus flexible media support so all you need is a USB.

Price: $2,499.00

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Pioneer DJM-V10

This six-channel beast is a cut above the common four-channel mixers you’re more likely to see on the market today. Those extra channels add a lot more horsepower to your mixes.

With more inputs, the V10 can integrate more gadgets and instruments into your soundscapes. And with a four-band equalizer you can better control the mix, and its compressor makes tuning the loudness of your tracks easy—even on the fly. With two-headphone jacks, it’s easier to be in the moment for back-to-back sets too.

Price: $3,499.00

Ultimate Ears

For the L.A.-based ear protection company Ultimate Ears, their noise-cancelling earbuds are custom-fitted by laser scan so they create a more snug fit in the ear than putty-based alternatives.

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Along with swappable faceplates, which can be branded or engraved, these pricey little gadgets can save your hearing in style. And they purport to be able to do that without limiting the quality of your listening experience the way conventional earplugs do.

Price: $499-$2,199

ORBA 2 by Artiphon

The successor to Artiphon’s ORBA boldly claims to “play any sound in the world."

The ORBA 2 records and imports samples, creates instruments, loops up to five minutes (with as many as 128 bars), and quantizes it all automatically. It’s small enough to dance with it while you’re writing music, and it even records your whole song directly onto the device so you can be creative on the go.

Price: $149.99

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AudioTechnica ATH-M60x

Designed to bridge the home studio with streetwise comfort, the M60x line has even appeared in broadcast television studios around the country. Boasting the same size aperture drivers as the ATH-M50x headphones, the comfort-centric design of the on-ear pads makes them ideal for daily use in personal and professional settings.

Price: $219.00

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BlipBlox MyTRAX by Playtime Engineering

One of the most intriguing tools we discovered at NAMM was a child’s toy.

Designed to make synth education accessible at all ages, the Blipblox offers a less serious approach to music-making. In addition to being useful in a studio for electronic dance music producers, the playfulness of the BlipBlox makes it a quick—and affordable—cure for writer’s block.

Price: $189.00

Polyend Play – Groovebox

For a top-of-the-line Groovebox that you can pack with all your own recordings and sample packs, the Polyend Play is an arsenal at your fingertips.

It’s surprisingly affordable for what you get too, and it already has 30 sample packs to get you grooving fresh out of the box. Its raw sequencing power with eight-track audio, eight MIDI tracks and over 30,000 track variations gives it enough versatility to be a game-changer both in the studio and on the stage.

Price: $799.00

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