The Ups(tairs) and Downs(tairs)
Every year I look at NAMM as two different shows. There are the manufacturers who have their spaces upstairs and the ones who are downstairs. Upstairs, I expect to see some new products (sometimes fantastic products) from the well-established manufacturers. Downstairs there are the more innovative, hopeful and sometimes amazing products. That said, upstairs and downstairs are two arenas.
So, let’s start upstairs
The ISP Company has been making really great audio gear for many years now. They also have been building guitar and bass gear but this year they knock it out of the park with their Theta Pro DSP guitar preamp/effect processor. The THETA PRO DSP is a floor controller with the programmable digital Theta preamp plus built in studio quality effects processing. Basically it has more gain than anything else on the market and zero aliasing.
TRX (Carvin Audio) showed off the ATOM 8. This is a small 2-way monitor/main active box with a DSP controlled amplifier module that offers and astounding 1200watts of power. The enclosure is designed to tilt 25 and 45 degrees. Great for tight stages that need big sound.
I went by Rapco/Horizon because my Road Hog guitar cable finally died after a dozen years. They now offer the Silver Hog for instrument and microphone cables. Very cool silver plated cables and I am sure as tough as the original Hog.
As I walked by PreSonus, I saw two 32.4.2AI digital mixing consoles linked together. I was told that could be done by connecting two boards with a FireWire 800 cable. It was nice to see it set up. By cascading two StudioLive 32 consoles you get a 64-channel mixer with 32 mix buses (14 aux buses, 8 FX buses, 8 subgroups and a stereo main bus.
I headed down stairs I ran across Boogie Juice. This is a fingerboard cleaner and treatment in a small tube, felt tip dispenser. The product comes from New Zealand and works absolute great!
The next item that caught my attention was the Ear Peace Company. I have tried dozens of ear plugs, valves, treatments but this one was inexpensive (about $15) and really delivered hi fidelity in an 11-14 dB noise reduction. I was thinking about having them available for the older folks in the congregation who just think the worship band is too loud.
The last things that caught my eye were the Smart Track and Evo track pedal boards. These are ingeniously designed and beautifully made aluminum pedal boards with a unique securing feature. The product comes right out of Barcelona Spain. I know that only scratches the surface but it’s always like that at NAMM.