Summer NAMM 2017: Two new toys

So far, Summer NAMM 2017 is turning out to be a total sleeper for keyboard players. Here’s a couple of new toys that could be fun for musicians on the run.

Looks like the Yamaha SC-02 SessionCake is coming to North America ($99 USD). The SessionCake is a battery-powered brick which, by itself, it a kind of headphone amplifier that lets you add effects or whatever through an iOS device. But, wait, there’s more! Up to eight SessionCakes can be chained together into a Borg-like mixer for group jams.

Kraft Music are the first to list the SC-02. There are also more details on the Japanese Yamaha site. There are two models: one for keyboard and one for guitar/bass.

The other little box that is flying in under the radar is the Boss DR-01S Rhythm partner ($229 USD).

Depending upon how you want to look at it, the DR-01S is either a metronome on steroids or a classic rhythm box with a speaker and bongo-like styling. No, you don’t physically beat on the thing although it’s possible to trigger a percussion instrument via footswitch. The DR-01S sports rhythms for “acoustic musicians” and has the expected goes in and goes outtas like AUX IN and LINE OUT. It runs on 6 AA batteries.

The reference to “acoustic musicians” makes me think “no heavy metal.” I’m going to give the DR-01S a listen and see if its patterns are appropriate for contemporary liturgical music. Since it’s a small unit, I worry about sound quality (boxiness) and whether I could run a keyboard through it without a mushroom cloud. Could be fun and useful!