At the 2009 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim. I traveled the show floor - front-to-back and end-to-end - to see as many new products and talk with as many people as possible.
Optimism was the word of the event, particularly among manufacturers truly excited about their new products. (Check out our Photo Gallery from the show!)
I saw a lot of creativity, and a lot of usefulness, and a lot of both.
There wasn’t one single product that was a show-stopper, but rather, a very deep well of new ideas, clever takes on existing designs, and innovative examples of the pro audio industry moving more into the mainstream of the “consumer” side of the equation.
Case in point was a stop at the Blue Microphones booth, where Scott Schumer showed me Mikey, the company’s new recording device that simply plugs into any iPod.
Mikey offers a quality stereo condenser capsule, three-position user selectable gain setting, and even a built-in loudspeaker for playback. The user-positionable head swivels 180 degress so the mic can be positioned towards sound sources in various directions.
Scott Schumer With “Mikey”
Blue also debuted two new Bottle Rocket microphones. The Stage One Bottle Rocket is a transformerless solid state microphone, while the Stage Two Bottle Rocket is a transformerless tube microphone.
Both are fully compatible with the Bottle Caps, the same interchangeable capsule system used with Blue’s Bottle mic. A lot of flexibility, for sure. (Find out more here)
Moving along to the Renkus-Heinz booth, I found Margie Ulm and Sille Novakovic in great spirits. They were showing Iconyx digitally steerable array loudspeakers, which have already proven a big hit in a wide range of applications since being introduced just a short time ago.
Margie and Sille at the RH booth
In fact, a pair of Iconyx loudspeakers were utilized throughout the show at one of the primary NAMM Show concert stages at an entrance to the exhibit hall. Renkus-Heinz was also a sponsor for a concert by Alice Cooper, one of the hottest live shows at NAMM.
Audio-Technica continues to bring innovative product to market, and this time out Gary Boss showed me the new AT8022 X/Y and BP4025 X/Y stereo microphones, well-suited for recording, live and broadcast.
Gary Boss with the new A-T stereo mics
Both have a coincident capsule configuration that allows for a smaller housing while producing a stereo image with the spatial impact and realism of a live sound field. Find out more about these new mics here.
Electro-Voice had a very strong showing, with Guy Low taking me for a tour of new product lines across several genres. What first got my attention is the new line of PL Series microphones. (Read more about them here.) I worked at EV long ago when the original PL Series debuted, so it’s great to see that heritage continue.
Guy Low with new Q Series amplifiers
In addition, EV unveiled the next generation of NetMax with the N8000-1500, which offers the company’s new FIR-Drive technology for a precision line array control platform within IRIS-Net (more here).
EV also showed the new DC-One, a two-in-six digital loudspeaker system controller intended primarily for users of small- to medium-sized sound systems (more here) and new Q Series amplifiers with four models for a wide range of mobile audio applications. Rounding out the lineup were the new Tour X line of loudspeakers, subwoofers, and monitors.
The Harman room was jumping as usual, with AKG leading off with the introduction of the DMS 700 digital wireless microphone system, offering digital audio encryption, ultra wide tuning range and high channel count in 19-inch chassis (more here).
Harman Pro’s Michael MacDonald and next gen EON
Crown debuted a wide range of new models, continuing to prove why they’re one of the pre-dominant power amplifier companies in the world. Standing out in my mind is the new I-Tech HD Series Amplifiers, which features a new OmniDriveHD DSP engine (more here).
JBL is certainly not standing pat, with the next generation EON500 and EON300 loudspeakers making the point. There’s been a lot of sonic upgrades and features added to enhance this line, and what stood out most for me are the ergonomically designed grip points and flexible mounting capabilities (more here).
Micheal Chiriac of Cascade and the Editor’s Choice Award
In our coverage of top recording products, Barry Rudolph points out the new JBL LSR2300 Series studio monitors, an all self-powered group that includes bi-amplified 8-inch and 5-inch monitors as well as a 10-inch subwoofer (more here).
Moving along to slightly more sedate environs, I was pleased to meet Michael Chiriac, CEO of Cascade Microphones, who pointed out the Electronic Musician Editor’s Choice Award for the Cascade Gomez Michael Joly Edition microphone.
On the outside, the Gomez looks cool, and inside, it uses a short, single-ribbon motor for broad vertical and horizontal pickup to eliminate off-axis coloration and provide a tailored high frequency response that’s great for guitar cabs and vintage-sounding “soft top” vocals (more here).
This report continues soon… In the meantime, don’t miss Barry Rudolph’s coverage of top recording products at the show.