Meeting at the Crossroads: A Sound Perspective

By Barney Jameson, former editor of Pro Audio Asia and Editorial Director of Blank Canvas Publishing Ltd.

This week, thousands of people are gathering under blue skies in Anaheim, California, for the world’s largest international showcase of music technology, The NAMM Show.

The industry’s annual trip to Southern California is now a tradition that stretches back over decades. NAMM President Joe Lamond calls it the Crossroads – the coming together of related but subtly different communities, all under the expansive roof of the Anaheim Convention Center, and all united by a mutual devotion to music. But this year, an entirely new community is joining the party, as the great and the good of live sound and professional audio fill the brand new aisles of two newly constructed halls.

Named ACC North, the new halls are just the beginning of the developments awaiting visitors to this year’s show, but their impact cannot be overstated. Greatly expanding the floor-space available to The NAMM Show, the new halls represent the answer to a long-standing puzzle for NAMM: how to accommodate professional sound in a meaningful way. For years the manufacturers of line arrays, mixing desks, power amplifiers and more have represented The NAMM Show’s biggest source of growth, but the Anaheim Convention Center lacked the available space to bring them into the show properly. Each year, swathes of the live sound and entertainment technology industries came to Anaheim, but remained on the exhibition’s periphery. Finally, those manufacturers, distributors, rental companies and sound engineers have a purpose built home.

The industry’s response has been remarkable. This year’s show will feature dozens of market-leading professional brands for the first time, from L-Acoustics, d&b audiotechnik, Adamson and Meyer Sound, to DiGiCo, Powersoft, Funktion One and many more. After hours, The Parnelli Awards has now joined The NAMM Show, taking place on Friday night, while the TEC Awards take place on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Hilton is being reinvented as the NAMM U Education Center, the new home of professional audio education in North America, courtesy of AES@NAMM.

Produced in partnership with the Audio Engineering Society, AES@NAMM will give visitors the opportunity to attend the Pro Sound Symposium: Live & Studio, with four full days of hands-on training focused on working professionals. Topics will include line arrays, mixing desks, wireless systems, studio set-ups, system optimisation and more. As with a traditional AES convention, the event will also bring together many of the industry’s brightest minds to present peer-reviewed technical papers.

The result is set to become the biggest NAMM Show yet, and it all starts tomorrow morning. The Crossroads just got a little more crowded.


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