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Sunday, January 27, 2013

NAMM 2013 Overview - Part 1

Winter NAMM in Anaheim is certainly a winter-wonderland of gear, music, friends and celebs that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. If you've been to it more times that I'd like to admit, it's not quite the experience that it once was. That said, it's still the best way to spot trends (which is what I try to do), gauge the health of the industry, network, and catch up with old friends.

First a few NAMM bitches. The TSA-like security was at an all-time high, with rules that even many of the door attendants didn't seem to understand. Then, the cell phone communication was as troublesome as ever. And still no free wi-fi? Come on, Anaheim, it's 2013 already.

Then there was the new promenade that was created in front of the convention center between the hotels. It was great for the concerts at night (Tower of Power on Thursday night, Legends of Rock on Friday) as it seems to accomodate about 5,000 people, but it made the foot and car traffic much more difficult. And parking was harder than ever, although that was no doubt due to the 100,000+ crowds.

Okay, let's get on with some of the trends that I saw.

Livid Base image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
The Livid Base
One of the things that was bigger than ever was controller category, with new offerings by Akai, Ableton, Livid and many more. Here's the Livid Base, which caught my eye as very cool, although the picture doesn't do it justice.












Akai MPC Professional  image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Akai MPC Studio


Speaking of Akai, they had some cool new products with the new streamlined MPC Studio.












Akai MPC Fly  image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Akai MPC Fly




Akai also got the "best idea in packaging" award for coming up with MPC Fly which is built like a laptop with the top half being an iPad dock.













Blue Nessie  image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Blue Nessie

It seemed like ever mic company at the show had a new USB offering. Here's the new Blue Nessie, which has a built-in EQ, limiter, desesser and even zero-latency monitoring. Very cool.
















Behringer iS202  image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Behringer iS202 iPad Dock

One of the things that I expected to be hot that wasn't was iPad software and accessories. Last year that was the big trend for the show, this year not so much, although Behringer had a number of products like this iS202 Docking Station. Behringer had so many new products that they've truly become a major force in the industry. Like Yamaha from about 30 years ago, they've developed into a powerhouse by making their products better and better, yet they've managed to keep the prices extremely low.

By the way, Yamaha was truly disappointing at the show, with only a minimal showing of very dated products. I don't know what that means exactly, but it's not looking good on that front.






Tascam iPhone Accessories  image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Tascam iPhone Accessories
While the iPod had some decreased traction, the iPhone had some renewed energy, with a ton of new products and accessories like mics and mic preamps similar to these offerings from Tascam.


So those are the big picture trends that I saw from the show. I was only there for 2 days and didn't see all of it, but I did get around enough and speak to enough people to get the general feel. Tomorrow we'll take a look at audio products, then we'll visit with music products, and some oddities.

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