Highlights of the 2013 NAMM Convention

The NAMM Show, which formerly stood for the National Association of Music Merchants, is a trade show that has been bringing together music retailers and companies making music products since around 1900. Fortunately for the rest of us, we get to see all the new products that will help define the upcoming year in audio.2013 NAMM Show

The 2013 conference, held in Anaheim in January, attracted around 100,000 music industry folks and music fans. Here are just a few of the many highlights from the show.

Vintage Instruments Everywhere

At Sage Audio mastering, we love vintage like most everyone in the industry does, and this year saw a slew of “new vintage” lines.

Fender typically comes up with a new reissue of classic Teles and Strats every few years or so, and this year is no different, as the company introduced its new “Vintage” line. The line includes  re-creations of classic years of both models, and was among the many interesting products introduced at the show

Another interesting reissue comes from the legendary Magnatone Amps.

The brand hasn’t been manufactured since 1969, but the amps have been used by everyone from Buddy Holly to Neil Young to David Gilmour. The new versions are point-to-point wired tube amps built in the U.S., and are already being used by Z.Z. Top’s Billy Gibbons. The manufacturer points out that the amps include the original pitched-based vibrato, which the company points out is different from the volume based tremolo that is sometimes labeled as vibrato on amps.

Telefunken M82

It seems the microphone getting the most notice at the show is the new Telefunken M82 dynamic mic. The unit is marketed as both a kick drum mic and a vocal mic, which is part of the special attention it received. Though its powers as a kick drum mic were not displayed, reports say the mic’s quality on vocals are quite impressive.

Waves IR-Live

Live engineers were all pretty excited about the introduction of Waves IR-Live convolution reverb designed for live performance. Like the highly touted Waves IR1 for recording studios, the IR-Live is an impulse response-based convolution ‘verb with presets from some of the most famous venues in the world, ready to be applied to live shows in real time.

JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor

What kind of audio mastering engineers would we be if we didn’t at least mention a studio monitor?  The JBL M2 Master Reference monitor has been in development for some time now and comes with multiple new patents. The company describes the new monitors as a “game changer.”JBL Studio Monitors

We’ll see if that proves true when the monitors are released this spring.

An Optimistic NAMM

Finally, I want to include a note about the overall mood of the conference, which was much more optimistic than in the last few years. Part of this was probably due to the fact that sales in the music industry were up 1 percent at $6.8 billion in 2012. That 1 percent may not seem like a lot, but after a few years of decline, it’s definitely something to get excited about.