Keyboard’s Top Gear from CES 2016

The second-best January trade show turned up some interesting musical gadgets.
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Every year, before the music technology bacchanalia of the NAMM Show, a mainstream tech horde descends upon the poor, inhospitable Las Vegas landscape for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Here, the true bonanza of gadgetry exhausts everything and everyone in its purview, leaving a wake of thousands of depleted attendees, with eyes too bloodshot from dry air and sleep deprivation for a reservoir of Visine to handle.

While CES can be fun for finding out that HDR is the next technology that will keep TV prices high and that the only things hotter that autonomous cars and drones are autonomous drones, there isn’t a ton of stuff among the thousands of square feet of booths that is directly relevant to musicians.

However, because we apparently love the masochistic practice of sifting through 1,001 virtual reality and tablet PC headlines to find semi-precious gems, we’ve chosen the top new products from CES 2016 for Keyboard readers. These aren’t going to be the cornerstone of your studio or stage, but every headphone, turntable and recorder here presents a unique value.

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Here they are, in no particular order.

Olympus LS-P2 handheld audio recorder
$179.99, available Feb. 2016 (pre-orders now)
• Three-mic technology with 24-bit/96kHz PCM recording made for capturing music.
• Bluetooth playback.
• “Zoom” mic mode and noise cancellation for recording.
• EQ for playback.
• 8GB internal memory; MicroSD cards up to 32GB

Roli Noise 5D
Free, available now
• iOS instrument with 3D Touch expression on the iPhone 6s.
• Modeled after the Seaboard Rise controller; striking, pressing, gliding, sliding and lifting off equal 5 layers of expression.
• Comes with 25 sounds and Bluetooth MIDI.
• In-app purchases for additional sounds.

Etymotic ER•20XS High Fidelity Earplugs
$19.95/pair, with discounts for 3 or more pairs, available now
• -20dB equal sound reduction across the audible spectrum.
• New discreet design.
• Replaceable eartips.
• Comfortable wear; easy removal.

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Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC high-res headphones with active noise cancellation
$299, available April 2016
• Earcup mikes feed sophisticated 180-degree noise cancellation.
• 45 mm True Motion drivers.
• Memory foam earpads.
• USB charging.

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Ion Audio Total PA Plus 350W Bluetooth PA speaker
Price and availability TBA
• Includes microphone and cable
• Plays music from SD card, USB port or multiple audio inputs
• EQ presets
• Stand mountable and include rolling wheels.

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Doppler Labs Here wireless Active Listening earbuds
Less than $300, available by end of 2016
• Smartphone app controls processing of the listening environment.
• Volume, 5-band EQ, filters and effects control over incoming sounds.

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