And here we are with our last impressions on NAMM 2015.
As far as we are concerned, for the very first time we have to say that it was really hard work!”. Not only due to the different situations and episodes – we could even call them back luck – that our days at Anaheim were full of, but also for the incredible number of people who crowded into the halls of the fair and who made our work as editors much more difficult that at the past editions.
We really don’t know if the organizers of the show had expanded to make room for the crowd of operators of the sector – we must remember that NAMM is dedicated to these specialists – but the crowds inside and outside of the fair were clearly much higher than other years, something that we hadn’t seen for quite some time. A clear signal that money has started to change hand over there ‘across the pond’… And we have certainly seen our share of operators of the sector in the past 15 years – maybe too many – and as many exhibitors, we also have our doubts on the quality of the public present.
NAMM operates and gets positive feedback 360° because it’s ‘cool’; because of its perfect organization, full of companies and characters without any doubt. But we can’t say the same about the products on show which were clearly repetitive and always the same as each other, except for the few innovations worth technical review.
At NAMM Hi-End Audio Pro is now reduced to a few ‘survivors’ at the expense of a ‘middle class’ full of companies with wide ranges of more or less useful instruments, even with just average quality, which, luckily, has levelled out over time.
It’s difficult to see really bad quality instruments and it is, in fact, easier to find efficient products with really low prices. Digital mixing platforms with 16 channels and DSP and complex matrices at less than USD 2,000! Digital Wireless systems that are reliable and well-made for about USD 500, and audio modules for USD 50 which, believe me, could be found in any serious recording studio. If anything, the problem is that in our opinion there are very few really useful products that have a clear position on the market, made up of a public that seems to be less expert and more confused, with difficulty in distinguishing between what is useful and what is superfluous.
We would also like to say a few words about prices. Here at NAMM it’s normal to see the price lists of products on show at exhibitors’ stands. We really still cannot understand how we often see “street-prices” of some products can be reduced by almost 50% when we speak about last and final price. Would it not be better to have some kind of ‘price policy’, maybe lower, clearer and managed correctly? But instead there are some resellers who struggle while others manage to give impossible discounts, that you would never be able to get from the distributor himself.
In conclusion, what were the most interesting products at NAMM 2015?
The module from Arturia Audiofuse, is a really intelligent product, full of interesting functions, along with the products for live mixing from PreSonus which offers solutions for digital mixing at less than USD 2,000, and using AVB protocol in its Studio Live.
The new preamp from Manley Lab Force is as easy as it’s effective, and is not so expensive. The microphone Hummingbird from Blue Mic is nice to look at and functional, and uses a mobile capsule that we immediately imagined could be useful in studio and live.
And Universal Audio with Apollo Extended which, seeing the interest it attracted, seems to be becoming a real reference point for signal processing both in studio and live.
…really hard work!
See you next year