NAMM 2018 Tidbits – Pre-Show

There’ll be a full report eventually, but as has been my custom, I’ll be dropping little tidbits here daily. If I mention something that you’d like to learn more about, drop me a note before the show is over on Sunday 1/28 and I’ll see if I can dig up more info for you.

The new section of the Anaheim Convention Center that they’ve been building for the past few years is now open and NAMM has moved as many of the audio hardware and software exhibitors as they could into the new section, so things will be in different places this time around. Hopefully I’ll find everyone I’m looking for.

As a pre-pre-show event, I had a visit with the newly opened  Harman Experience. Given that this is Disneyland country, Harman re-purposed a large chunk of former manufacturing space to showcase their products and capabilities and show that, under the Samsung umbrella, how many more services they can offer by integrating Samsung’s background in high end video display as well as home products with the pro audio products that we know. The facility has several “showrooms” illustrating such things as applications in retail merchandising, hotel rooms and restaurants, as well as large, small, music, theater, sound and lighting. Given that this was a NAMM tour, the focus was on their ability to quickly set up just about any speaker, mixing, and lighting situation ranging from a small club to an arena, and with the engineers and product specialists right there, get into details that you can’t get from a dealer. If you’re heard rumors (social media can piss on any good idea) that Harman is pulling out of trade shows and replacing them with their in-house facility, that’s not correct. They’ll be at NAMM and other related shows, but they won’t be hauling out as much gear. Anyone is welcome to visit the Experience just for a tour, and when you’re ready to plan for a new sound and/or lighting system, they’re available for any level of support you need.

Since I asked, I got an extra tour of their engineering and test labs at the facility. They don’t build any retail products there any longer but have a well equipped prototype shop, a couple of anechoic chambers, shock and vibration test setup, and a torture chamber where they run speakers and power amplifiers under test at full power plus for extended periods of time. Cool stuff.

I just had a quick run through the NAMM preview and got a look at the new Auto-Tune Pro with ARA integration. If you’re not familiar with that acronym, it’s a software protocol that was initially developed to integrate Melodyne with PreSonus Studio One, allowing it to do its analysis “live” without an additional step before it does its thing. It will speed up work with Auto-tune, too – hopefully for the good of the music. Interestingly, the new Auto-Tune includes a mode that makes it sound like the old Auto-Tune that has found a home in certain kinds of music.

IK Multimedia the iRig I/O, a new foot controller that integrates their Amplitube effect and amplifier modeling with real time feet–on control. It can integrate with a computer via USB for the studio guitarist, and it includes a shelf to plug in an iPad for a lovely graphic user interface for stage work.

Bittree has been making professional patchbays for years and is trying to break into the small studio market with a new 48-jack (if I remember correctly) panel with DB-25 connectors on the rear. It’s sized to fit on top of one of the common sizes of 500-series racks, and has optional ears to extend the width for rack mounting. It’s not cheap, about $600, but I’m a firm believer that every studio should have a patchbay.

It’s pretty darn cold here in the mornings. Hotel prices have nearly doubled over last year during the show, so this year I tried an experiment and tried an Air B’n’B. The room is nice, but the only heat is a space heater in the bedroom and I’m typing this in the living room with my coat on. I’m getting too old for this.

Well, off to Hall E, which is still Hall E. More tomorrow.


About mikeriversaudio

Helping people getting their studios together has been a passion of mine for more than 30 years. Get yours together.
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