letters from Ray | Sights and sounds of the world famous NAMM 2014 expo with music pioneer Ray Kurzweil

February 19, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: National Association of Music Merchants)

NAMM 2014 show and tell — in sights and sounds

Kurzweil Music Systems founder Ray Kurzweil recently attended one of the world’s premier music events, the National Association of Music Merchants trade show (NAMM) 2014.

We hope you enjoy this audio|visual tour of the NAMM 2014 tradeshow floor, review of the new Artis keyboard from Kurzweil Music Systems, insights on accelerating electronic developments in the music world from executive Ray Kurzweil, and a set of hot new acts featured on the live stage.

Wikipedia | The NAMM show is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. Held every January, it is one of the two largest music product trade shows in the world. This exciting event attracts numerous famous musicians, many of whom are endorsed by NAMM show exhibitors and come to promote their own signature models and equipment.

related viewing:
National Association of Music Merchants  | main
National Association of Music Merchants | 2014 show

Kurzweil Collection | Ray Kurzweil receives National Association of Music Merchants Lifetime Achievement Award
Kurzweil Music Systems | main

NAMM 2014 show (credit: National Association of Music Merchants)

Kurzweil Music SP4-7 keyboard. (credit: Kurzweil Music)

Ray Kurzweil showcases Kurzweil Music Systems tech at NAMM

Ray Kurzweil attends the NAMM show annually to showcase the ongoing, innovative work of his historic company Kurzweil Music Systems, which was an early and ongoing pioneer in sound engineering, and creator of one of the first music synthesizers. Hyundai Development Company, current owner of Kurzweil Music since 2006, appointed Ray Kurzweil Chief Strategy Officer of Kurzweil Music.

Hyundai Development, one of the world’s largest corporations, plans to work with Ray Kurzweil to “build Kurzweil Music into one of the largest music instruments brands in the industry,” the company stated.

Ray Kurzweil with Stevie Wonder playing a Kurzweil 250 synthesizer in 1985. (credit: Kurzweil Technologies)

Kurzweil’s early 1980s successes included sythesizers he engineered with the creative input of musician Stevie Wonder.

The company showcases their latest instruments and engineering developments during the annual NAMM conference, presenting exciting new technology.

Many celebrity musicians use Kurzweil Music products, including Sting, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Roger Waters, The Who, Billy Joel, and Jon Carin.

Visit the Kurzweil Music Systems | Artist Lounge to see more famous fans of the synthesizers.

“The combination of Kurzweil Music’s strong core technology, with the recent Kurzweil Mara chip technology — which is stronger than anything else in the industry — is well matched with Hyundai’s solid brand, extensive resources, management excellence, and manufacturing reliability,” Ray Kurzweil said at the event.

related viewing:
Hyundai Development Company | Hyundai names Ray Kurzweil Chief Strategy Officer of Kurzweil Music
Kurzweil Music Systems | Keyboard magazine tours Kurzweil Music research & development lab video

Ray Kurzweil speaking with Kurzweil Music visitors in salon at NAMM 2014. (credit: Kurzweil Music)

Ray Kurzweil greets fans and colleagues

At this year’s NAMM, Ray Kurzweil enjoyed greeting fans and colleagues at his private talk, hosted by Kurzweil Music Systems, and attended by aficionados of the industry, executives, and musicians.

His presentation touched on the exponential power of trends in computing, and the future of devices’ capabilities to bring difficult composition apps to a larger strata of end users.

This includes players who are new to musicianship, empowering beginner to intermediate skilled artists to craft world-class music.

Kurzweil Music Systems has a goal to bring advanced composition tools to everyday people. Ray Kurzweil illustrated the ability of their new tech to bring high level, professional composition trade tools to even amatuer or undertrained musicians, who have an ear for music but lack the education or cannot afford to buy and use complex industry class tools.

The company’s parallel goal is to bring advanced professional instruments to the live stage and expert studios — tools that can precisely replicate acoustic instruments and create custom synthetic sounds.

related viewing from Kurzweil Music Systems:

NAMM 2014 patio at the convention center. (credit: National Association of Music Merchants)

From the live stage at NAMM 2014. (credit: National Association of Music Merchants)

Ray Kurzweil on Kurzweil Music legacy of innovation and celebrity fans

In his talk, Ray Kurzweil touched on his experience with the company integrating new tools with legacy tools, following a seamless design agenda. The company’s innovations in sample memory, user interface, and backwards compatibility have gained the attention of top, full orchestra composers like Andrew Lloyd Webber, who exclsuively used Kurzweil synths to compose his long awaited Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies.

Kurzweil’s PC3K served as a cornerstone of the musical production. Long a favorite of Broadway and stage productions worldwide, the Kurzweil K2600 had for years played a crucial role in both the orchestration and performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s previous productions.

Other celebrities rely on Kurzweil professional tools for crucial live performances serving entire stadiums. Roger Waters used only Kurzweil synths in his world tour Rogers Waters: The Wall Live.

related viewing:
Kurzweil Music | Kurzweil PC3K plays starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera
Kurzweil Music | Kurzweil Music on stage with Roger Waters: The Wall Live
ABC | Justin Bieber on a Kurzweil piano performing at Times Square 2012 “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”

John Bundrick with his Kurzweil Music keyboard. (credit: Kurzweil Music)

Hannah Holbrook of Shel performs on a Kurzweil Music stage keyboard at Ray Kurzweil’s talk at NAMM 2014. She says Kurzweil synths fit in well with the violins and mandolin played by other Shel members. (credit: Amara D. Angelica)

Audio electronics at NAMM 2014. (credit: National Association of Music Merchants)

Electronics at NAMM 2014 everywhere

Touring the tradeshow floor, Ray Kurzweil noticed the accelerating acceptance of electronically created music and easy-make DJ tools as a trending musical wave of 2014.

Below is a video collection of some of the hit DJ apps and electronics to bring out the dubstep in anyone.

related reading:
Rane | profile and products
Rane | YouTube channel
Rane | Rane’s 2014 NAMM recap

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Rane Sixty-Two at NAMM 2014. (credit: Rane)

Rane’s 2014 NAMM recap

Rane | As many of you may know, the National Association of Music Merchants, aka NAMM, is held in Anaheim, California, in January each year and showcases the latest and greatest in music gear.

The Rane booth has always historically been an exciting stop on the convention floor.

This year was nothing short of awesome with the release of our Sixty-Four mixer, new features with the Sixty-Two, and the powerful improvements in Serato DJ.

gallery | Our NAMM 2014 photo album can be found here: Facebook/OfficialRaneDJ.


Day 1 | First up! We were fortunate enough to have two of our go-to Rane DJs, Faust and Shortee, aka Urban Assault, grace the decks and show us how they work on the Sixty-Four.

video 1

Day 1 | DJ Big Wiz walks through Serato DJ and the firmware additions to the Rane Sixty-Two.

video 2

Day 2 | One of Rane’s newest friends and Ableton clinician, James Patrick, showcased how he uses his favorite mixer, the Rane Sixty-Four with his Ableton Live DJ set.

video 3 – part one

video 3 – part two

Day 2 | DJ Big Wiz running through the paces with the Rane Sixty-Four and Serato DJ.

video 4

Day 2 | DJ White Shadow doing his thing with Serato DJ and the Rane Sixty-Four.

video 5

Day 3 | Seattle’s own DJ Niros doing a video set with Serato DJ and the Rane Sixty-Four.

video 6 – part one

video 6 – part 2

Day 3 | James Patrick using the Rane Sixty-Four in his Ableton Live performance set.

video 7

Day 4 | DJ Big Wiz goes over the differences between the various Rane devices so you can choose which one is right for you.

video 8

The Rane Sixty-Four at NAMM 2014. (credit: Rane)

Rane | We’d like to give a huge thank you to all of our reps, dealers, and Rane supporters who help make what we do possible.

A special big shout out to Jason “Feniks” Couture, Daniel Dub Cowboy, DJ Eyecon, DJ Ace, DJ Nutron, Joshua Karl, the Serato fam, DJ Big Wiz, James Patrick, DJ Niros, Faust and Shortee, Ramon Guzman, Kevin Shoop, Ty Buchanan, Dubspot, and Jared Kertel of 12inchskinz. Until next time!

Kurzweil Music Artis 88 key stage piano featuring latest technology. (credit: Kurzweil Music)

Kurzweil Music’s newest Artis keyboard

Kurzweil Music’s recent Artis stage piano is their latest product from their research & development lab. The keyboard has over 1000 complex effect chains, incorporated into programs featuring award-winning effects.

Roberto Vazquez with his Kurzweil Music keyboard. (credit: Kurzweil Music)

It features an impressive new grand piano along with a wide selection of sounds from the acclaimed PC3 sound set. The Artis is capable as an all-in-one gig machine, with astonishing sound quality, 128-voice polyphony, 88-note hammer weighted action and a friendly user interface.

The centerpiece of the Artis stage piano is an entirely new German 9′ grand piano sound offering a level of sound quality and playability that raises the bar for stage pianos in its price range.

The Artis also includes KB3 ToneReal™ organs, a powerful effects engine for vintage keys emulations and many new sounds from the KORE 64 ROM expansion for PC3 (synths, horns, guitars, drums and percussion).

“The Artis hits the stage piano trifecta: sound quality, features and price point,” said Bryan Pistone, Kurzweil Music’s national sales manager for American Music and Sound.

With 9 sliders and a dedicated front panel 3-band EQ section (with sweepable mid), the Artis user interface is intuitive. For lightning-fast, gig-ready sound selection, Quick Split/Layer and Favorites buttons provide one touch access to the sounds players use most frequently.

related reading:
Music Merchandise Review | Kurzweil unveils new Artis performance keyboard at NAMM 2014

related listening:
Kurzweil Music | Artis video performances
Kurzweil Music | Artis song demos
Kurzweil Music | synthesizers

Hot live performances at NAMM

NAMM always hosts amazing acts. After his talk, Ray Kurzweil enjoyed the private performance by the popular folk group Shel. There were many top rock groups, acoustic performers, and composers with classy demos and hip montages.

related viewing:

related NAMM news highlight reels:

day 1 at NAMM 2014

day 2 at NAMM 2014

day 3 at NAMM 2014

day 4 at NAMM 2014