The annual NAMM Show is poised for its run at the Anaheim Convention Center, Jan. 19-22, with more than 1400 exhibitors and more than 90,000 attendees expected. This trade-only convention is notorious for its history of musical star power and game-changing product innovations. Although on the surface, the show is dominated by guitars, drums, brass and keyboards, the professional audio manufacturing community is also there in force. This is particularly true for recording equipment such as microphones, digital signal processors and software.
One of the greatest contributions the music industry has made to professional audio is its never-ending need to combine exceptional sound quality and bulletproof reliability, while being among the first to embrace new ideas and technologies. The ubiquitous digital recording software found on every computer and in virtually every recording studio today got its start in the music industry. Wireless microphones with full fidelity? Wireless in-ear monitors? Audio plug-in modules? The NAMM show played a major role in spreading the word on these groundbreaking technologies, all of which are now ubiquitous throughout the broadcast, live event and recording industries.
This year’s NAMM show promises more of the same. For those attending, the key locations for pro audio are at the opposite ends of the Anaheim Convention Center. Hall A is the place to be to see the latest offerings from established and cutting-edge manufacturers, while Hall E is a maze of smaller booths by companies who attend the show with new ideas and big dreams.
Hall A is the space is where the major microphone and wireless companies will be, along with manufacturing groups such as Harman Professional and MUSIC Group, software firms such as Avid and iZotope, and major distributors such as American Music & Sound. If you’re interested in mixing consoles, microphones, loudspeakers or in-ear monitors, this is the place to start your search.
Because space assignments for exhibitors are based on longevity, most first-time exhibitors are found in Hall E. Although remote, this end of the convention center is also where registration is located and badges are picked up, so it’s a great place to start your NAMM experience. If you take joy in being among the first to spot clever ideas, game-changing technologies, or even just new and less expensive versions of well-established products, Hall E is the place to be.
Be advised that there are no hard-and-fast divisions of location by product type. A dizzying array of music-related products is spread throughout the five halls, and a bit of advance research is advised. It’s easy to get distracted by all the shiny new toys on display, and the free concerts — not to mention the famous and near-famous recording artists seen making booth appearances or walking the aisles right beside you, looking for the next big thing.
See you in Anaheim!