NAMM 2017 report from Nu-Blu

This report from the 2017 Anaheim NAMM show comes from Daniel Routh, guitarist and vocalist with Nu-Blu. The band spent four days there earlier this month, where they represent their sponsor, Peterson Tuners, and bluegrass music, giving Daniel a chance to check out the scene on site.

Each January, thousands make their way across the world to Anaheim, California. There, at the Anaheim Convention Center, they participate in 4 days of music, marketing, mingling, and relationship building. This is The National Association of Music Merchandisers Show, widely known as The NAMM Show. For those who may have attended Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN each July, imagine that only 10 times larger. Three stories of total musical immersion encompassing all genres. Here you will encounter, from multiple vendors, every form of musical instrument and noise making device, sound reinforcement, lighting and special effect apparatus, recording gear, cases of all varieties, picks, capos, strings, tuners, and the list goes on. Here is the land where music rules and so becomes the great equalizer.

This year’s event was plagued by chilly temperatures and rain. Lots of it. But it had little to no affect on the attendance of the show. The aisle were full of people from all around the world. So much so that it was often difficult and time consuming to navigate from one place to another.

There were several interesting items at this years’ show that would be of interest and noteworthy to those in the bluegrass genre to take note of:

  • Peterson Tuners released a new version of their Stroboclip Tuner called the Stroboclip HD. This new design comes in a matte black finish, which blends in much better on a headstock. The display is also now in high definition, hence the HD title. It’s much easier to read and very smooth. It’s almost like you slide right into tune with it! Perhaps the most attractive thing about the Stroboclip HD is the new considerably lower price point.
  • QSC audio continues to add to their line of stellar equipment with the Touchmix 16 digital mixer. Although not a new product release this year, we feel that it’s something that has been over looked by most bluegrass artists. QSC put many hours of dedicated time into this unit to make it the perfect mixer for bluegrass! They even have presets that are designed for mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle, Martin type guitar, and upright bass. The interesting thing about the presets is that they were developed in a real world setting, using an actual bluegrass band that knew what each instrument should sound like. So instead of eliminating feedback and ending up with a thin mix afterward, the presets actually leave in the tones that need to be there to fill in a bluegrass mix. The presets are only the beginning, there’s a ton more in this unit, including live multi-track recording. It’s great to see a company as large as QSC showing bluegrass some love!

For those leaning more to the studio/recording side of things, a couple notable items stood out this year. The first is a new version of the Lynx Technologies Aurora Converter. A much anticipated item for Lynx users, it offers an upgraded AD/DA algorithm and a MUCH cooler running unit. Also integrated with this new Aurora is a more component input/output section on the back. This allows for greater flexibility with this unit for in-studio use, as well as taking on the road to record live shows. With taking it on the road in mind, Lynx Technologies also included a new on-board recorder that allows you to record your incoming audio directly to an SD card. So recording your live show is as simple as plugging into your mixer and pressing record.

The second notable studio item was the line of studio monitors from Nuemann Berlin. World famous for their microphones already, they have now conquered the other end of the audio experience and released a full line of studio speakers to fit any size studio, from a small mastering suite to a large room. These speakers deliver amazing clarity, especially in the mid range, and allow you to really hear your mix so it translates well out of the studio. One of the other things I noticed is how much better I could hear effects such as reverb, delay and compression in these monitors. I’d say a set of these would definitely help anyone get a better mix, especially in balancing presence in a mix.

All in all, an overwhelming weekend of music and products, and you just never know who you will run into! Not to mention the struggle to keep it all below 85db….yeah right!