Summer NAMM: 10 Years Later, the Hits Keep on Coming!In its latter years, the Chicago Summer NAMM show was referred to as the "wake on the lake," because of poor attendance and lack of direction. Ten years 7/30/2002 8:00 AM Eastern
In its latter years, theChicago Summer NAMM show was referred to as the "wake on the lake,"because of poor attendance and lack of direction. Ten years ago, NAMMrefocused the summer event on guitars and acoustic instruments andmoved the show to Nashville. The new venue brought Summer NAMM to apopular tourist destination (an obvious draw for attendees), while thelocal recording community boosted the participation of pro audioexhibitors. From July 19-21, 2002, some 21,000 music and audio prosreturned to Nashville for the tenth anniversary of NAMM's run in MusicCity. And this reprise was a hit, with good fun, great music and plentyof hot new products to see--and hear.
The day before NAMM, theway-cool, all-newand SSL 9000K-equipped!Paragon Studioscomplex (in nearby Franklin, Tenn.) hosted Digidesign's (www.digidesign.com) Digiworld event. The spotlightwas on the world debut of the Digi 002, a powerful DAW controller andhardware/software package that provides FireWire connectivity, atouch-sensitive control surface, support for 24-bit/96 kHz resolutionand Pro Tools LE 5.3.2 software. Borrowing technology from DigisControl|24, Digi 002s touch-sensitive faders, rotary encoders andLCD scribble strips allow tactile control of most Pro Tools LE featuresand parameters, including plug-in manipulation. Additionally, thesingle-box design includes all inputs and outputs. For liveapplications, Digi 002 can be uncoupled from Pro Tools and used as astandalone 8x4x2 digital mixer with onboard EQ, dynamics, delay andreverb. Features include eight analog inputs, including four micpreamps with phantom power; eight analog outs plus separate monitor,headphone, and -10 dBV RCA outputs; eight touch-sensitive faders, eightmotion-sensitive encoders, and ten 4-character scribble strips forindividual track parameters. The MIDI ports handle 16 channels in/32channels out; also standard are eight channels of ADAT optical I/O andstereo S/PDIF I/O. Digi 002 ships with a 32-track version of Pro ToolsLE 5.3.2 software and bundled plug-ins and runs on Windows XP Home andMac OS 9.x systems. The $2,495 package is slated to ship this fall.
Korg's (www.korg.com) D1200 is a 12-track hard diskrecorder/mixer/studio offering 44.1kHz, 16/24-bit uncompressedrecording, 40 GB of hard disk space and optional CD-RW drive to producefinal CD masters, all in a compact package. Standard features includean extensive array of onboard effects, eight virtual tracks per track(96 tracks total), combo 1/4-inch/XLR line/mic inputs with phantompower, a hi-Z guitar input, and S/PDIF digital input with built-insample rate converter, built-in auto-chromatic tuner and onboard PCMdrum machine with 215 rhythm patterns. MSRP is $1,250.
The AW16G from Yamaha (www.yamaha.com/proaudio) combines a CD recorder,16-channel 16-bit/44.1kHz recorder, digital mixer, 20GB hard drive,dual-onboard effects processors, and an 8-channel/4-pad Quick-LoopSampler, with 250 preset phrase samples and 47 seconds of user-samplingtime. Each track can have up to eight virtual tracks; all 16 tracks canbe saved to CD-ROM for export to computer or other DAWs, and files aredata compatible with Yamaha's AW4416 and AW2816. The 36-channel (total)digital mixer features eight mic/line inputs with phantom power, a hi-Zinstrument input, two effects buses, two aux sends and four channels ofeffects return. The $1,299 unit also includes templates to controlsoftware such as SONAR, Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools and Nuendo.
The "Guitar Workstation" has arrived. Digitech (www.digitech.com) isshipping its GNX3, which combines an 8-track 24-bit/44.1kHz digitalrecorder, Multi-Modeling technology (models of 19 guitar/bass amps, 15cabinets and 10 distortion boxes), built-in drum machine, JamManlooping, digital multi-effects, and more. The hardware includes XLR micand guitar inputs, MIDI control and S/PDIF, and analog outs. The GNX3'shands-free interface makes this one fast, easy and fun.
Gibson Guitars subsidiary Opcode (www.gibson.com) showeda line of audio-recording peripherals. Slated for Q4 2002, these rangefrom a single-cable USB MIDI interface to the flagship SonicPort StudioUltimate X192-8.8, featuring eight +4/-10 analog I/Os, digital I/Os,192kHz/24-bit conversion, wordclock and 32 MIDI channels. Drivers areavailable for ASIO2, GSIF, DirectX, WDM KS, MME and Mac OS X CoreAudio.
Goodbye 02R, Hello 02R96
At a gala reception at the Country Music Hall of Fame (www.halloffame.org), Yamaha (www.yamaha.com/proaudio) celebrated the launch ofits new 02R96 digital console (spotlighted in the May, 2002 Mix) andofficially retired its predecessor, donating a classic 02R to theCMHFs music technology collection. During the festivities,producer/songwriter Tommy Sims and producer Brian Ahern spoke on theiruse of the 02R on projects for artists such as Emmylou Harris, CeCeWinans, and Bonnie Raitt.
Thoroughly Modern Microphones
Audio-Technica (www.audio-technica.com) expanded its ArtistElite live performance mic line with the end-firing AE5100 andside-address AE3000, two large-diaphragm condensers for instrumentmiking, both available with the new AT8471 secure-locking,shock-isolation clamp. The big wow was the $699 AE2500, adual-element, high-SPL design that puts side-by-side dynamic andcondenser capsules in a single mic body. Intended for kick drum miking,the AE2500's 5-pin (dual-channel) XLR provides separate access toeither capsule, letting users combine the two elements at the mixer forjust the right blend of beater snap transients and low-end boom.
Audix (www.audixusa.com) unveiled its $349 D6, alarge-format cardioid, dynamic kick drum mic, which uses the sameversatile on-drum mounting clip as other D Series mics, features a 30to 15k Hz response and is designed to sound good in any position,allowing for fast setups that dont leave time to find the drum's"sweet spot."
SE Electronics (www.seelectronics.com) showed a full line ofaffordable condenser mics--including the top-end Z5600 tube model($649), which features a huge 1.07-inch diameter, gold-sputtereddiaphragm and nine remote-controllable polar patterns. In related news,SE distributor Network Pro Marketing (www.networkpromktg.com) is now handling U.S.operations for the popular SPL (www.soundperformancelab.com) products, includingclassics such as Transient Designer and the PQ Mastering Equalizer andthe new MMC1 Multichannel Mastering Console.
Known and respected worldwide for his no-compromise,high-performance microphone modifications, transducer innovatorStephen Paul (www.spaudio.com) has teamed with Alan Hyatt(of Studio Projects Microphones; www.pmiaudio.com) to collaborate on bringing aStephen Paul Audio microphone line to market. The first product of thepartnership--a high-end studio mic--debuts at AES, with first shipmentsexpected in early 2003.
An entire guitar collection in oneinstrument, the Variax Modeling Guitar from Line 6 (www.line6.com) does forguitars what the company did for amps. Two simple controls on thiscustom solid-body guitar offer access to the sounds of classic six- and12-string electrics and acoustics, as well as dobro, banjo and electricsitar sounds. Variations include single-coil and humbucker flavors, allcreated via a (nonmagnetic) hexaphonic pickup that converts stringvibrations to digital signals. These are processed using algorithms ofthe interaction of each (modeled) instrument's pickups, tone controlsand physical structure, dynamically altering the natural stringvibrations to match the characteristic tone of the modeled instrument.The signal is then converted back to analog for use with any guitaramp.
GraphiMix from Voyager Sound(www.voyagersound.com) is a Windows-based(Win98/NT/2000/XP) program that offers a slick control interface forvirtually every parameter of every MIDI-compatible device in yourstudio: mixers, sound cards, DAWs, effects, sequencers, instruments,etc. For example, instead of searching for banks of faders, users cansimply drag and drop screen-based icons and move them according totheir needs for quick access to elements such as levels, pans, EQs,routing or effect sends--in stereo or multichannel. Supported mixersinclude Yamaha's 01V, ProMix 01, DME32 and 02R. The program can becustomized to control any MIDI device, as well as consoles from othermanufacturers.
One More Time
There were other product hits from Summer NAMM, and wellpresent these in our regular new products sections in upcoming issues,as well as in Mixs 2002 New Products Guide, which shipswith next months AES issue. If you missed Summer NAMM, dontfret: Winter NAMM returns to Anaheim from January 16-19, 2003. Markyour calendars now!
Five Hits You May Have Missed
Every show brings a few cool products that dont make headlinesbut deserve your attention. Here are a few that impressed us
Ultrasone HFI-2000Headphones: German manufacturer Ultrasone previewed a new line ofstudio headphones. The top-of-the-line HFI-2000 features a wide (15 to25k Hz) response with a patented S-Logic sound system providingnatural 3-D imaging that's unlike any headphones youve everheard. Amazing! (www.ultrasone.com)
AudiOtis Flight Case Systems: Imagine a custom touringconsole case/stand combo with fold-out legs and indestructible aluminumdiamond-plate construction, which supports the mixer on gas-filledshock-absorbing springs. Once the case is opened, the console rises toa sitting or standing height, and sliding rails bring the board to aconvenient working position. Slick! (800/543-0816)
Alesis HD24 Accessory: Alesis showed a FireWire adapter thatsnaps onto the removable IDE hard drive media for its HD24 rackmount24-track, offering instant, fast access to data files on virtually anysystem, with no external caddy required. Clever! (www.alesis.com)
Digitechs X-Series Pedals: Studio-quality rack effectsin stompbox cases! The chorus, flange, phase and compressor boxes arestunning, and the Synth Wah envelope filter offers as much fun asanyone can possibly have without being arrested. Yeah! (www.digitech.com)
Zydeco Tie: More portable than a traditional frottoir,this necktie-shaped, instrument-quality washboard clips on over yourcollar for jamming anywhere, anytime. It's crafted of brushed stainlesssteel, and the $20 price includes metal playing thimbles. Woweee! (www.zydecoplaywear.com)