The 2019 NAMM Show – Educational and Tire Kicking Opportunites

The 2019 NAMM show in Anaheim, California runs from January 24 through January 29. While it’s still a show for the music trade industry, partnering with the Audio Engineering Society (AES) has opened up attendance for engineers and producers in recording and live sound. Most of the sound and music production exhibits are concentrated in a new two-story section of the Anaheim Convention Center, and the AES@NAMM program offers a number of technical training opportunities. Here’s a rundown on things that might interest you enough to brave Anahiem and attend the show.

First, there’s the AES@NAMM program. This is actually a separate event from the NAMM trade show itself, has its own registration, and price of admission. It’s a series of classes over the four day show period that have sort of two prongs, one being training on specific hardware, software, and technologies presented by the equipment manufacturers. For instance, Allen & Heath will be offering training on the d-Live console, Lectrosonics will be presenting sessions on wireless IEM systems, and  VUE will be teaching about line array speaker systems. Technology tracks include things like networking and mic techniques. In addition, the Main Stage area (actually a ballroom in the Hilton), put together by author and technologist-about-town Bobby Owsinski, will feature talks on topics in studio and live sound by well known engineers such as Andrew Scheps, Sylvia Massy, and Bob Scovill. To plan your AES@NAMM training (or to decide if there’s anything worth while for you), here’s a link to the AES@NAMM Class Schedule. Should you choose to attend one or more of the classes, here’s a link to the AES@NAMM fee schedule page. You’ll find a link to the registration application there. There’s a price break for AES members (they’ll be happy to sign you up at the show) but I’ll warn you that other than the digital console and line array tracks, you’ll be in for at least $99 for a day.

If you’d like to attend the NAMM show proper, you can take advantage of the AES partnership and attend as a non-member. Here’s a link to the NAMM Badge Application page. That link also has links to show information, exhibitors, events, and educational opportunities. Click the Register for an Attendee Badge button, fill out the application form (this is where you tell them about your involvement in a studio, live venue, production, house of worship, etc.) and when you get to the part where you pay your money, using the promo code AES@NAMM will get you a badge for $25. This is for the NAMM show itself, not the AES@NAMM program.

The NAMM show offers a number of educational sessions in addition to the trade show itself. You might find some of the TEC Tracks presentations interesting.

If you have an interest in Audio over IP Dante, Audinate is offering a free one day class on January 24 and 25. You don’t even have to be registered for NAMM or AES@NAMM to attend, but you do need to register with Audinate. You’ll first need to set up an Audinate user account if you don’t already have one, and from there, register for a class.

You know the NAMM show from its reputation, and maybe from my show reports here. With the new layout for the audio exhibitors, it’s pretty much like an AES show, and with your NAMM badge, you’re free to go to the other end of the convention center to bang on drums, try out effect pedals, or check out the latest in flutes and saxophones. Something new this year is an exhibition of the photos of rock ‘n’ roll photographer and author Neal Preston.

That’s about all I know, and hope this will encourage you to attend – either or both the AES program and NAMM show. I’ll warn you that traffic around there is a nightmare, parking is expensive, and hotel rates are absurd, so plan accordingly.



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2018 New York AES Show Report Posted

My report is now on line. Visit the Trade Show Reports page and click the 2018 link, or to download it directly, click here. No videos, just words, pictures, and links.


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AES Show

Just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting daily tidbits . . .  well, I’m here for the show. The space seems smaller than in previous years, however the show floor was rally bustling, with first and second day crowds seeming as big as the usual Saturday mob. I think the concurrent NAB show brought a lot of folks over – I saw a lot of NAB badges at the AES booths.

Anyway, I just dropped this note to let you know that it’s happening, that they days seem longer every year, I’m not getting any younger, and I just don’t have the energy when I get back from dinner around 9:30 to sit down and write a daily summary like I used to. Just be patient, a report will come along next week.

And if you’re here and you see my name on a badge, stop and say hi.

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AES 2018 – Advance Registration Extended to October 15

If you’ve been putting off registering for the upcoming AES show, you can still register for a free Exhibits Plus badge until October 15. Click HERE  to register. If it isn’t pre-entered, use the VIP promo code AES18NOW for the discount that makes it free.

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New York AES and NAB Shows Coming Soon – October 17-20, 2018 (updated 9/15)

The annual US Audio Engineering Society convention and New York NAB show is coming to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. As was the case last year, the two shows are held concurrently. Though each has its own registration for the technical programs, a badge from either show will get you into the exhibits for the other show. I expect most of my readers here will be interested in AES, but if you attend, plan some time to kick tires around the NAB show exhibits. They have some interesting stuff there as well.

Registration for both shows is open now, with early discounts in effect. AES is again offering free Exhibits Plus registration which includes the exhibits (October 17-19) and technical presentations conducted on the exhibit floor. This year, there will be four show floor Expo sessions – Project Studio, Live Sound, Broadway Sound, and Broadcast Sound. These are all-day programs with expert instructors covering a wide range of subjects.

Something new this year that’s part of the technical program (meaning you have to pay for it) is the Audio Builders Workshop, coordinated by the AES Boston section that presented it locally and are now taking it on the road. In the early days, recording studios built a lot of their own gear, but with the availability of so much commercially made and reasonably priced gear, this has become a bit of a lost art. But like so many things in this field, old is becoming new again, and there’s an active DIY movement. On Saturday, October 20, the Builders Track will present “Build Your Own Recording Equipment,” offering insight into the tools, skills and budget needed to create one’s first piece of gear. “Design and Build Your Own Gear” will take you through the steps to design a circuit, put it in a box, and power it up, with Bob Katz walking through his DIY project, the “tube blender.” Today most of us know Bob as a mastering engineer, but 25 years ago, he was designing problem-solving products and he’s still at it. “The State of the Art of Do It Yourself Audio,” led by Audio Builders Workshop founder Owen Curtin will examine the exploding DIY market and introduce you to some quality pieces that are now in reach for those willing to wield a soldering iron. This track isn’t limited to hardware and analog circuitry either – there will be a “Code It Yourself: DIY-DSP” session for those interested in taking advantage of digital tools to perform audio tasks.

Click here to register for the AES convention. If it isn’t already filled in, use the promo code AES18NOW for free registration if you register before September 20 (which might get extended – it usually does) or $50 off the regular Exhibits Plus rate of $75. If you’re interested in the Builders program but don’t want to spring for an All Access pass, one-day all-access passes are available at a lower cost. AES members, including student members, get a discount, so you might consider joining, which will also get you a discount for the upcoming AES@NAMM program in January.

For more information on the New York NAB show, click Here.  Your free AES Exhibits Plus gets you into the NAB Core Package which includes both the NAB exhibits and presentations on the show floor.

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NAMM Winter 2018 Show Report Posted

Later than usual, here’s this year’s Winter NAMM show report. More details than in the daily tidbits, pictures, links, snarky remarks. The usual disclaimer – I write about what I personally find interesting. There was a lot more at the show than I’ve reported here.

Find it in the Trade Show Reports section or download it (PDF) directly here.

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NAMM 2018 Tidbits – Day 3

Well, either they got the security setup under control or my strategy of getting there at a bit after 10 AM (doors open at 9:30) worked and the line to enter the building was only about a minute long, plus I didn’t see the long waiting lines at the doors during the day that I saw on the first day. That’s a good thing. I’m enjoying the new North addition to the Anaheim Convention Center – it’s nearly all audio products and the only times where there’s too much noise pollution is when there’s a band playing at a booth – much better when you wanted to listen to a compressor and there were three drummers 20 feet away.

Looptrotter is a new company name to me. They were showing a line of signal processors all of which feature “analog character” and distortion of various forms, saturation being their featured tool. They have a monsterous looking compressor appropriately named Monster, as well as an an assortment of 1- and 2-rack space and 500-series modules most of which have “satur….” in their names. I get the drift. But what I found particularly interesting was that they make a fully modular console that takes two 500-series modules in each channel strip, plus some other 500-size spaces, kind of like a more expandable version of the API Box. There must be a saturator in there somewhere.

Retro Instruments showed a new 2-channel compressor, the Revolver, based on the EMI-modified Altec 436 used during the period when The Beatles were making records at Abby Road. Revolver … Revolution – get it?

Waves Distribution always brings a wide range of small audio companies to the show (they’ve been the hone of the Distressor since its inception) and new this show was a pair of preamps from Useful Arts Audio. They showed what’s essentially the same tube amplifier circuitry in two different configurations, in the studio as a two-channel mic preamp and on stage as a direct box. The direct box offers a 20 megohm input impedance and has a simple high and low band equalizer. The studio preamp adds a “Color” control in the output section which appears to adjust the drive to a triode stage which isn’t there for the gain (it adds about 10 dB when cranked up fully), but rather, specifically to add 2nd harmonic distortion. It’s remarkably effective, and brings to mind the early Aphex Aural Exciter which creates 2nd (and higher even order harmonics) and, in its day, was used on nearly every pop music record that reached the charts.

Audio Fusion showed what appears to be a well thought out multi-channel personal monitoring system that uses a mobile device running their app on the listener end and an interface. You have to start with something to bring multi-channel audio into the computer – this can be an audio interface in the studio or a digital console with direct outputs from the channels. The computer sends a multi-channel stream to the connected mobile devices using a WiFi router. Each user can set up his own monitor mix, and the engineer (if there is one) can take over from the computer if they get in trouble. Expected computer features like naming channels and storing mixes, as well as locking things that you don’t want the talent fooling with are incorporated in several clean looking graphic screens. While there are several digital consoles on the market today that incorporate individual personal monitoring, what Audio Fusion offers is the opportunity to bring this capability to other setups.

Bose must be one of the most bashed companies in pro audio circles, but they’re coming around. What caught my eye at their booth, though, wasn’t a speaker system, but rather an educational package called BOSEbuild. Their first product in this line is, as expected, a speaker, but it comes as a bunch of individual components starting with a magnet and a voice coil, and with the help of an iPad, the user is guided through the principles of electromagnetism, how we hear, frequencies and amplitude, resonances and such, assembling components which, when finished, make a fully functional Bluetooth loudspeaker.  It can be self-guided, parent-guided, or they have a classroom kit with a teaching curriculum. If you have a kid in the 8 to maybe 14 year old range who has an interest in music and science, this would make a good gift.

Lastly, Zoom has a couple of new small recorders. Their simplest H1 handleld recorder has been updated to the H1n. It’s menu-free with clearly and sensibly labeled buttons of the front panel. It records 24-bit resolution up to 96 kHz sample rate to a micro SD memory card. The F1 is pretty much the same guts in a different package, one in a belt-clip configuration and supplied with with a lavalier mic, the other in a camera mountable configuration and equipped with a a shock mount and their SGH-6 shotgun mic which can be interchanged with other mics for their H5 and H6 recorders. Also new from Zoom is the Livetrak L-12, a 12-channel mixer that can record up to 12 discrete channels plus a stereo mix. It’s like a grown-up TASCAM Portastudio with effects and 5 sub-mixes for individual headphone mixes.

Off to the races for a catch-up day.


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