2020 Winter NAMM Tidbits

Usually I try to get a few tidbits out before the end of the show and before the full report. This year the WiFi in my hotel was so slow that I couldn’t really get on to web sites to verify some facts and I didn’t want to rely too much on my feeble memory. Finally the clog cleared a bit so at least I can post these few notes.

NAMM is in full swing, and I’m behind on my daily blurbs as usual, so here’s a little catch-up. I’ll be writing about many of the things you read here when I get into my full show report, which should show up about a week after the show closes. As usual, I look at what interests me, and other than this mention of the existence of Bluetooth drumsticks, I don’t do drums.

My favorite from Preview day, and might be my favorite of the whole show – and it’s even a software product – is Perfect Groove from Rebeat Innovation. It’s a tool that imports a stereo master file and shows you how a vinyl cut will turn out. It’s not intended to replace the cutting (the reaI mastering) engineer, but rather to point out any potential problems in cutting to the digital mastering engineer so that he might make changes to the master to avoid those problems. In essence, it’s a virtual test cut without burning up a blank master.

Several years back, The in-ear earphone specialists, Sensaphonics, showed a system to resolve a problem with in-ear monitoring on stage, the fact that the mix was just too pure and gave the performers no sense of ambience that they get with monitor speakers. They added an ambience mic that could be added to the console mix to allow the players to hear what was going on around them. ASI introduced an updated version of this system. Working in partnership with Sensaphonics (who provides the earpieces), they’ve updated it with stereo ambience mics and a mixer that runs as a smart phone app, and done it at a considerable cost saving over the original Sensaphonic system.

Along the in-ear line, FIR Audio opened my eyes to a job that I never realized existed, but is certainly important, particularly for large touring and stage shows, that of, for lack of a better term, IEM Tech, They make a series of tools for the maintenance of in-ear earphones to keep them working up to par and troubleshooting when something goes wrong. Among there products are a vacuum cleaning system to suck accumulated ear wax out of the earpieces, a cable tester that accommodates all of the currently used connectors on both the earpiece and output ends, and an analyzer that generates an end-to-end frequency response plot of an in-ear phone. I can see this as being a valuable check-up tool to find problems before a performer does.

When I worked with Mackie in 1999-2000, I tried to get them into microphones. 20 years later they’ve introduced their first series of three microphones. The EleMent series consists of a handheld dynamic mic, a large capsule studio condenser mic, and a USB mic for the podcasting and content creation users. They’ve also broadened their CR series desktop monitor line which now includes, by woofer size, a 3”, 4”, 5”, and 8” two-way speakers with or without Bluetooth input, and a new 8” subwoofer.

PreSonus is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year (this is a celebratory anniversary year for several other companies, too) and announced a few new products. There’s a new rack-mount high I/O count interface in their Quantum series with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. A new tabletop interface combines the features of the PreSonus FaderPort single-fader DAW controller with a 2-in-2-out USB interface. Also new to PreSonus is a new series of small format analog mixers. Not entirely analog, they serve as a multichannel USB-C or USB 2.0 computer audio interface and record stereo to an SD memory card. Also brand new is a small diaphragm condenser microphone that sells as a pair with a really sturdy stereo bar for $129.

Full report will be coming next week.

More coming in the full report.

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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