CES Day 1 Quick Look

Connected. Robotic. Virtual Reality. And a few practical things.

Handheld digital recorders were popping up like weeds when it was a fresh idea, but things have been pretty much dead in the past couple of years. Roland broke the silence with their new R-07, a cigarette pack sized stereo digital recorder that’s quite feature-packed. In addition to the on-board controls, it can be remotely-controlled over Bluetooth with a dedicated app. According to the rep, you can also monitor in real time through the app. It offers the dual-recording feature of optionally recording secondary track 10 dB or so lower than the set level to provide a backup if something gets too loud and clips before you can take care of it. Further, it uses the secondary track as a limiter – when it detects a clip, it replaces the primary track with the secondary track normalized to full scale. I first saw this from Sony, then TASCAM adopted it, and now Roland – most transparent limiter ever.

The Hyper range from Sanho Corp is a comprehensive line of support products for the USB-C interface. They offer several hubs, video adapters to Display Port or HDMI, charging stands and a combination battery pack and hub.

I reported last year that Rane had been resurrected, and they were here at CES this year, along with their partner company, Denon. Rane is mostly concentrating in the installed sound and commercial market, and this year showed a multi-channel processing box that’s software based and computer-controlled. It’s similar to the Peavey Matrix system of a dozen or so years ago in that you can construct and adjust a processing chain by dragging and dropping processors on a screen. Denon has a batch of single rack space audio players with assorted combinations of input sources – CD, USB, memory card, Bluetooth, etc.

In what I call Cosmetic Audio, the Victrola line from Innovative Technology has a large collection of vintage-styled phonograph players, all of which play records, some include a radio, CD player, file player, Bluetooth receiver, etc. Some even have a trumpet or morning glory horn. They also have some decent looking mid-priced turntables that look like turntables.

I didn’t make it to the robots section yet, but it seems that there are a lot of robots to entertain little kids and older folks who can use a companion. There’s a huge wave of integrating smart voice control with things that, just a few years ago, achieved some level of intelligence and connectivity. But along with this, there seems to be a bit of common sense, with people not being too sure if they want all that information about what they do in their private lives to be access to distribution beyond what they’re talking to.


Posted in Trade Show Reports | Tagged , ,

New Review/Article – Understanding Digital Multimeters (DMMs) and a Short Review of Three Inexpensive DMMs

In an upcoming article as part of my occasional Trust But Verify series in  Recording Magazine, (guessing around the February or March 2018 issue) I described how a digital multimeter (DMM) could be used for measuring some parameters of audio equipment. Since not every musician or recording hobbyist following this series already owns a DMM, I thought that some guidance in choosing one might be useful, hence this article. Since I hadn’t looked at the marketplace since I bought my meter more than 30 years ago, I reached out to Circuit Specialists, a knowledgable and friendly distributor of electronics tools and parts, and got the loan of three DMMs costing less than $50 to evaluate.

Now I think that everybody finding his or her way to this web site should have a DMM. So if you want to join that club, here’s some background information which will help you understand some specifications and terminology that aren’t common beyond the area of electronic test equipment.

Check out the Technical Articles section here, or jump directly to the DMM article/review here.

Posted in Product Reviews, Technnical Articles | Tagged , , ,

AES @ NAMM – The Class Schedule

They finally got something published, probably subject to updates. A quick look suggests that there’s more practical things to be learned here in the areas of live sound that in the studio, but it all depends on how much you know and what you don’t know. There’s not a lot of detail describing the classes, and a lot of them are repeated througout the four days of the show. If your schedule is flexible and you can go on any day, you can probalby pick a day that will be more productive for what you’d like to learn. And remember that you get a NAMM show badge as part of your class registration (actually it’s the other way around but . . ) so be sure to take advantage of that and spend a day kicking tires.

One thing worth noting is that they’ve scaled back the “penalty” for not being an AES member. Now it’s only $20 more for non-members as opposed to $100 more that was in the previous announcement. The cost for a half-day looks a little wonky in the table. I’m guessing that the morning and afternoon sessions cost the same, $69 for AES members, $89 for non-AES members. They’re still encouraging you to join AES, and I support that too.

Fee Delegate Category
$129 Non-Member 1-Day
$99 AES Member 1-Day
$89 Non-Member 1/2-day AM
$69 AES Member 1/2-day PM


Follow this link for the current version of the full schedule of AES @ NAMM classes.

Posted in Info | Tagged , ,

Plug-In Bargain Of The Week – SSL Duende Native Drumstrip $15 December 11-15 2017

I kind of sluffed off on the Black Friday deals because they were coming too fast and furious, but this special offer came into my mailbox this morning and it seemed worth a plug. It’s a collection of compressor, transient shaper, low and high frequency boost and distortion all wrapped up in a package with presets tailored to drums. Which drums? Probably the most popular pop music sounds, but for $15 it’ll probalby solve a few problems or give you a little inspriation.

For more info and a link to the SSL Store, click here.

Posted in Info | Tagged , ,

AES at NAMM – Some More Info and . . . . The Hottest Ticket in Town

Information about the somewhat mysterious AES@NAMM program continues to dribble in. To recap, this is a program coordinated by the Audio Engineering Society (AES), scheduled concurrently with and co-located with the NAMM show at the Anaheim California Convention Center, January 25-28, 2018. It augments NAMM’s growing educational-at-the-show program by providing a series of technical classes and lecture-demonstrations (both half-day and full-day) in the fields of live sound and studio recording. There’s still no detailed schedule or syllabus, but at least now we know the scope of the program, sponsors (I suspect they will be providing the majority of the presentations), and the cost.

First, the cold, hard facts: For AES members, half-day sessions are $69, full-day (which could be two half-days on the same day) are $99. It’s 100 bucks more for non-members/  An annual AES membership is $125, so joining AES (you should, anyway) can save you some money if you plan to attend more than a day’s worth of classes. That’s not cheap, but depending on your needs and how well the technical level of the classes matches up with your needs and experience, a class or two might be very worth while. You’ll be better able to judge this when the schedule is published. But brace yourself for crazy traffic jams and expensive parking, plus a lot of people bustling around the Convention Center at show time.

Now, the really good news – what you’ve been waiting for – is about NAMM registration. In order to register for AES@NAMM classes, you must first be registered as a NAMM show attendee and get a badge. Traditionally, NAMM attendance has been limited to those directly connected with the trade, which doesn’t include you, the tire kicker. However, in conjunction with the AES program at the show, you can register for only $25. As far as I can tell, this is a full NAMM registration, which gives you access to the exhibits, special programs, and NAMM’s own technical sessions. And, of course, then you can register for the AES classes if you wish.

NAMM Registration is now open. To register for your NAMM badge, click this link. Fill out the form, and in the Promo Code box, if it’s not already there, type AES@NAMM.

Here’s a little more about the AES program:

Symposium tracks, called “academies,” and their supporters, as we know now (more are expected to be added), are:

  • Line Array Loudspeaker Academy – Adamson, Bose Professional and EAW
  • Live Mixing Console Academy – QSC and Yamaha
  • Entertainment Wireless Academy – Lectrosonics and Sennheiser
  • Studios Academy – Apogee, DigiGrid, Focal, Genelec, Meyer Sound Laboratories and Waves.
  • In-Ear Monitor Academy – will spotlight the installation and operation of in-ear monitoring systems
  • Main Stage: Studio sessions coordinated by seasoned author and engineer/producer Bobby Owsinski with a team of studio industry experts will address a range of key operational parameters for recording and production facilities.
  • Main Stage: Live Sound will focus on setting up and using contemporary live-sound systems, with instruction on configuring and interfacing key components in high profile, real-world applications.
  • Sound System Measurement & Optimization Tutorials will be presented by a experts, including John Murray, Bruce Olson, Charlie Hughes, James Anderson, Chris Tsanjouries and Andrew Smith, who will discuss measuring and then optimizing the technical performance of various audio systems.

Sound interesting? Keep up to date by checking the AES@NAMM link periodically.

Posted in Info, Trade Show Reports | Tagged , ,

2017 New York AES Show Report Posted

My report on the 2017 AES Convention is now on line. Check it out in the Show Reports section or click here to jump directly to it. As usual, it’s a PDF so you can download it and read it at your leisure.

Posted in Trade Show Reports | Tagged ,

AES Show Report – Coming

For those of you who have become accustomed to checking my daily tidbits and missed them this year, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive, I did attend the conference, and I’ll have a report up later in the week. While I usually get to a couple of paper or panel sessions at AES, in the past I’ve spent most of my time with the exhibits, however this year, there were more than the usual number of technical sessions that I wanted to attend, so I spent more than my usual time “downstairs.”

The exhibit hall was very busy every day, and while only a couple of exhibitors had expansive displays, there was plenty to see – and some to not see, as there were a few regulars who were conspicuous by their absence. I suspect that at least some of them are anticipating a better than usual opportunity for showing their wares at the NAMM show and will be there in all their glory, since, with the NAMM-AES connection for the upcoming show, there will be a special (and new) exhibition area dedicated to audio and recording products. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for more details on

Posted in Info, Trade Show Reports