March 2012 Issue 151
The beginning of the year has a tendency to hurtle rather than meander. Holidays pass by with a familiar velocity, magazines get finished with typical furore and by mid-January you find yourself in the slightly bizarre surroundings of Anaheim, California.
Living under the literal shadows of Mickey Mouse and his posse is an unnerving existence, but thankfully NAMM Show offers a suitable distraction.
People love NAMM. It’s not often you can say that about a trade show, but they really do. It’s a fun show. It has a relaxed atmosphere, and the security personnel are so marvellously efficient. Every year we kick the show off with Harman’s press conference at 9am and every year we face the same wall of yellow jackets, kaki pants and very polite, seemingly impenetrable reasoning. Official opening time is 10am, but there’s always a way past. Well, most of the time.
At show close, NAMM reported 95,709 registered attendees, a six percent increase from 2011 and representing a new record for the 110-year-old show. International registration also experienced a 15 percent increase from last year to 11,981. The association previously reported strong exhibitor numbers, with 1,441 exhibitors at this year’s show, including 236 new exhibitors.
“Once again the NAMM Show served as the crossroads for musical instrument and live sound products manufacturers, retailers and their guests from all over the world,” said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. “We are extremely grateful to all of the NAMM Members, music educators, artists, partners and media who made this 110th NAMM Show a resounding success for the industry and a great start to 2012.”
Although Lamond’s summary of the show focuses on its predominant elements, for TPi the more professional parts tend to be of more interest. Amongst this subculture, the general noises were positive, and about 20dB lower than the most face-screwing part of the show floor – the drumming section.
Above the whir and excitement, a couple of notable things rose. The widespread adoption of and adaptation for the iPad was clearly evident. Many companies showcased new control apps for products with existing control features, while others launched products with the iPad at the centre of their being. Mackie launched the impressive DL1608 16-channel digital live sound mixer with iPad control, which promises to ‘redefine live mixing by combining the proven power of a full-featured digital mixer with the unmatched ease and mobility of an iPad’. But the winner of the made up award for iPad adoption was Numark, which offered speakers and mixers from Alto Professional and equipment from Numark DJ. Another hot topic on the show floor and in the Marriott bar after hours too, was the DiGiCo UB MADI. The neat little product allows any computer to instantly connect to MADI via the most standard connector of all - USB 2.0. UB MADI requires just a single USB cable, providing both audio and power connectivity. Unlike existing PCI based solutions, UB MADI is fully hot pluggable, booting within seconds of its connection.
We spent our time ambling around the relevant areas of the floor, meeting many familiar faces and some new. The Chauvet team showcased a stand filled entirely with brand new products and reported healthy trading figures. Allen & Heath showed us the new GLD digital mixing station, which is conceptually based on the iLive Series and aims to minimise the complexities of digital mixing. Avid gave us a tour of the Venue SC48 remote digital live sound system, Stage 48 remote I / O box and Venue 3 software.
Harman, as expected, offered a whole host of product news, which included JBL’s VTX line array series, BSS Audio’s introduction of AVB functionality to the Soundweb London family and the debut of Crown’s flagship I-Tech 4x3500HD power amplifier.
Renkus-Heinz treated us to some live music in the Sheraton Park Jazz Lounge Stage, which was kitted out with an IC Live system, Iconyx IC7 system and CF-Series subwoofers.
We also spent some quality time with the Meyer Sound team, who had a gruelling schedule of appointments on the Marriott terrace.
Roland’s annual soiree saw a team of press slip away from the maelstrom of the Marriot and Hilton hub, and descend on Luggatti’s Italian restaurant in Huntington Beach. Business Development Director Peter Heath and Head of Education David Barnard joined Japanese Main Board Director Kimitaka Kondo and Head of Domestic and International Sales Atsushi Shimizu, to host some very welcome respite and hospitality courtesy of RSG.
And just as the jet lag began to reach pleasant levels and the silhouette of Mickey’s ears threatened to permanently impress on the subconscious, it was all over. NAMM 2012 and our American dream reached paralleled conclusions. Until next year – the 111th. Oh my!