The NAMM Show!

First of all, I wish to give KUDOS to Barry Wood for his extensive and colorfully detailed website regarding the NAMM show. His incredibly entertaining product reports parallel the "cool" with the "huh?"

Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities

I really liked Barry's site so much that I wanted to do the same but on a much simpler level. For those of you who wish to see my primitive and crude HTML attempt at pictures and comments regarding the show, pick a year:

NAMM 2003 NAMM 2004 NAMM 2006 NAMM 2007 NAMM 2013

Disclaimer: This web page is not associated with or sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)

* **** *


- NAMM 2003 -


ADAM Professional Audio

The ADAM S3 reference monitors sound nice and smooth in the lower mid-range but lacked some lower frequency detail somewhere in the soundscape - I think it is because they were designed for near field and surround use and the way they were set up for demo / listening did not give them much justice. However, I REALLY liked the S4 pair as they were much clearer in the high frequency, rich bottom and the lower and upper mids were near perfect! Those, in my opinion, are monitors to own!

Check out ADAM AUDIO on the Web!


* **** *


I have always liked Tannoy monitors - I own a pair of old PBM8's. They have always been a bit bottom heavy with a little "smearage" in the mids with slightly harsher highs but for the money, they are pretty good - and inexpensive to repair! Yeah, the new monitors shown here sound a lot better and are more transparent but do appear a little gaudy. The blue ones, on the right side of the pic, look like a pair my 5 year old nephew would use with his fisher-price "my first recording studio." All in all, Tannoy still makes a great monitor.

Check out TANNOY on the Web!


* **** *

Jammin' Johns

This was one of the first things I saw walking into the show! I thought to myself: "Ugh, I hope no-one has actually tried to use it..." Although I feel this display is amusing and some-what tacky, I know of folks who have later purchased one for their latrines and have told me everyone who sees it, wants one. Really? Hmmm... I wonder how well it would appear with my clamshell sink, rubber ducky pictures and roman style tub.

Check out Jammin' Johns!


* **** *


When I saw this display, I said "WOW, now that's a D.A.W.!" I was impressed anyway... But what was TRULY impressive was the fact that only ONE G4 was powering all that you see in this picture - and doing it well! With all that being said, I was finally convinced! MACs Rule - PCs will forever continue to suck!

e-Magic is DEAD so check out LOGIC STUDIO instead!


* **** *


Welcome to the WALL OF BOSS! This was kind-a cool! At the right of the entrance picture are 100 boss TU-3 tuner pedals. They are all connected in series and appeared to be tuning something inaudible. Anyway, it was a neat light show!

Check out Boss!


* **** *


I had never heard of this company until I started listening to KRAFTWERK a really long time ago. Apparently, Doepfer supplied them a bunch of equipment during the Bartos/Flur years. In this pic, a rep is demonstrating their modular system. I stood there, stupefied, for about 20 minutes listening to FAT analog waveforms.

Check out DOEPFER on the Web!


* **** *


The G-Craft Mark I. This is the BEST compressor/amp I have ever heard! I played a guitar through it and was so blown away by how it "squashed" the signal that I had to have it and tried to make a deal on-the-spot with the rep but he flat-out refused to sell it to me. He said that it was the only one he had. I said "Here, at the show, right? You mean there is only one... THIS ONE? PERIOD!?!" He said "Yes, but we will build more in the future." Hmm..... I still wish I had that one for my studio - I can still hear it's loveliness in my mind!

Check out G-CRAFT on the Web!


* **** *


Richard Duvall, of Mesa-Boogie, and I share a laugh at the Mesa-Boogie booth. Being that our company is an AUTHORIZED Mesa-Boogie service center, I felt like part of the family just "hangin' with the Mesa boys" and talking tech with several potential clients. The other pic shows one of many of Mesa's F series amplifiers in gray suede. Pretty "charp" eh?

Check out MESA-BOOGIE on the Web!


* **** *


Who cares about ESP! This is my friend Linda. I have known her for what seems to be forever. She is a wonderful person and I wish her the best.

OK, OK, Here is the ESP Link...


* **** *


YES! I was really impressed by these guys! Their equipment really sounded GREAT! I really dug the PH-16 - 16 stage analog stereo phaser. That device really stuck out in my mind for the rest of the day. Also, they had a drum machine that sounded pretty good and some other tube reverb effects that were nice and warm sounding!

Check out VERMONA on the Web!


* **** *



- NAMM 2004 -



I met Wynton Morro in 1993 at a studio in Orange County, California. He was delivering one of his EQ prototypes for evaluation and I was doing repairs on the console when the engineer asked him about modifications. He said it could be done but it would take an extensive amount of labor to perform. The engineer pressed him for some ideas and after a "go-around," Mr. Morro and I sat down with the schematics. There was an ample amount of grumbling coming out of him regarding less-than-desirable audio design. After marking up the diagrams with his notes on how a mic pre should be designed, when using ICs, he handed them to me and said "good luck." Those mods really did improved the transparency of the mic pre in question! That goes to show you how much of a great engineer Wynton truly is - even on the spot! One can see how his work is demonstrated on Avalon's product line - as you are well aware, his machines sound SUPERB and are completely DESCRETE!

Check out AVALON DESIGN on the web!


* **** *

Stick Enterprises

Ever since I saw Emmett Chapman play his "Chapman Stick" on the stage of a synth concert in 1984 at Fullerton College, California, I fell in love with the instrument. I have always wanted one of these fine instruments. The modern ones are MIDI controllers! Here he is playing a tune on it! What a talent!

Check out STICK ENTERPRISES on the web


* **** *

Manley Labs

OK! - EveAnna (boss lady at Manley) is definitely someone who may NOT be after MY heart but her wit is very charming! Sheesh! I thought I was sarcastic in my F.A.Q. but her F.A.Q. has far more venom with regard to snappy answers to stupid questions. Yeah, I get pretty bored talking about products we all KNOW are pretty cool so, why get caught up in all that hoo-haw! I think I'll just post pictures and personal anecdotes about what the cool equipment reminds me of. NO? ok... "The SLAM is one of my favorite tools in the studio! I love to use it!"

Check out MANLEY LABS on the web!


* **** *


This display touched me very deeply. It reminded me of a loved childhood dog - my Doberman. He loved to play with car parts like hub caps and carburetors. I miss that dog...

Check out QSC on the web!


* **** *


I have way to much to say about this company and their products so, I will keep my comments as short as possible. FU&%ING AMAZING! The display rig you see in the pic made so much noise that I fell in love! Not only will these devices peel paint off walls, they exhibit RUDE behavior too! Every BLIP and BLAP and FERT was noisy Bliss! Metasonix also makes other products such as tube drum machines and other boxes that are FAR more cacophonous than these devices pictured!

Check out the insanity at METASONIX!


* **** *


The Mesa Boogie Stiletto (on the right) is about the loudest and most cut-throat amplifier I have heard yet. The only other amplifier I could compare it to is an old Traynor from the late 70s - those guitar amps were ear-splitting LOUD! I know, I know - one can say the same for any other "Loud-as-F..." amplifier but those most likely do not have SIX EL34s in it! The Stiletto Trident does - (pictured is a deuce)! The amp on the left is a Lone Star with a BEAUTIFUL flame maple wooden enclosure.

Design your own enclosure! Visit MESA-BOOGIE on the Web!


* **** *


Here we see three very talented Jazz musicians. I stood and listened to these guys for about 30 minutes - that is about how long one song / jam was. Oh, yeah... The piano sounded nice.

Check out PETROF Pianos on the web!


* **** *

Monster Power

I personally believe this cable company is a little over-rated but these power conditioners are really impressive! I think I could use a machine that would show me the voltage and current measurements from the source to the load - whilst using my gear... Sure beats a Furman or a Juice Goose by leaps and bounds!

Check out MONSTER POWER on the web!


* **** *


I don't even know why I bothered to take this picture - mics like this one are so nice that my muscles literally freeze with astonishment! This Telefunken microphone is something I could never afford - nobody I personally know owns a mic like this - Only a mere $8K!!! There is the stereo version... - for twice the cost!!

Check out TELEFUNKEN on the web!


* **** *



- NAMM 2006 -



I LOVE Ableton software products! I invested my money well on this company! I am so impressed with their user interface that my writing partner was impressed as well and also purchased licence. If you want to create, loop, sample, edit, produce, compose, perform, destroy, mutilate waveforms and/or DO ANYTHING CREATIVE without dealing with endless crashing of drivers, excessive CPU loading, shortage of memory space or suffering the inevitable blue screen of death, BUY A MAC and load LIVE ----- you can do an incalculable amount of work without interruptions and your musical ideas will flow like cool, crystal-clear water! The gentleman pictured above is a MASSIVE talent who uses LIVE for his music! His name is "Kid Beyond" and he put on quite a show demonstrating his use of the software. Buy his CD - you will be gob-stopped.

Check out ABLETON on the web!


* **** *

Buchla & Associates

This is an interesting Synth. It is called the 200e series. The Buchla associate was demonstrating it to me and I was really impressed on how well it is built - especially with the fold-in case! The amount of creative thought put into each module is staggering. Among complex waveform generators, infinite phase shifters, voltage processors and other modules, there is an interesting and expanded method of filter control. For example: The Model 291e Triple Morphing Filter has a killer feature where you can change the bandwidth, center frequency and amplitude using voltage control. Also, the filter can morph between patches, created by the user, using voltage control as well. That feature is not only for ONE filter - but for THREE! That is phat! You can produce really complex waveforms with this machine! The associate also demonstrated the new touch control features called the 222e on the lower-right side of the image. You just assign parameters (voltage control, sensitivity, ect.) from a module that processes the tactile information to any other module.

Check out Buchla on the web


* **** *


Aaaaand here it is. The beginning of the end of good vocal talent and natural perfect pitch. No need to pay too much for a professional vocalist when you can just hire anyone to do the job. Introducing the software that literally "fixes it in the mix". Melodyne 3 will repair or repitch unfavorable vocals, guitar or brass solos so that all sounds palatable. Did someone say Autotune? Yep, only, this program is FAR more complicated and versatile to use when trying to produce an inexperienced vocalist to at least stay on pitch. Hey! What more can we ask for from budding corporate manufactured pop or rock stars!

Fix up your pitch issues with Celemony Melodyne!


* **** *

Native Instruments

Richard Devine is one of the most talented contemporary electronic music technicians I have ever met. His masterful tweaking of waveform synthesis and looping is PURE GENIUS - he is so creative that he will set a unit on fire just to hear what sounds it will make! I sat at the Native instruments booth for about 30 minutes listening to his demonstration of the latest version of REAKTOR. He KILLED it! As a result of his demo, I purchased a licence.

Check out Native Instruments on the web!


* **** *


The Musicpole (now called The Ragzpole) is an interesting new ergonomic concept of playing music - You can change keys by just rotating the instrument and simply use the same, basic, hand motions. Just plug it into any electronic instrument that receives MIDI commands. The gentleman pictured effortlessly demonstrated it's capabilities and beautifully scaled, melodic sounds were emitted through the monitor however, I tried it and only butchered-out a bunch of random notes instead. A large-capped and mustached, wise-ass in blue over-alls was observing my futile attempts and told me that I "might as well use it for plumbing". OK, very funny, Mario, however, the next time around, I will give it another go.

Check out The Ragzpole on the net!


* **** *


This little guy has some huevos! It is a 1/2 watt, class A, mono-block guitar amplifier. It sounded pretty good! Yep! I know YOU are just dying to know what's makes it tick - I'm not tellin' so don't ask. Ya' know, this is not the only bit of fun Mr. Vex has designed and built - you need to also check out the "ooh-wah" among other his other devices for sale - all are custom, hand-painted and hand-assembled HERE in the good ol' USA. Buy a couple of them and with a little care, they will most likely last through your grandkids lives! Zvex pedals are a high-quality production and pretty cool to own, talk about and use!

Check out Zach's Creations!


* **** *



- NAMM 2007 -



This is an interesting set-up. Whilst checking out what the heck it was, I was approached by Cynthia Webster herself. She asked me if I had an interest in synthesis and I said "Yes I do!" She proceeded to educate me on the concepts of basic waveforms used to modulate other waveforms . Her demonstration of the "Zeroscillator" was fascinating and I hate to admit, it is a module I was completely lost in - it is very different from conventional VCO modules as it processes them using "through-zero" FM synthesis technology. This device makes crap modulated signals sound far more pleasing on the ears. Every sound that came out of this rig, compounded by it's endless and infinite capabilities, was sonically and verbally indescribable.

Check out CYNDUSTRIES on the Web!


* **** *


EBS pedals are built very nicely for mass production models. The Dynaverb works very well with acoustic guitars - it has a liquid-like reverb that sound nothing like any other small pedal can produce without too being too harsh. I come to find out that EBS not only makes pedals but also amplifiers and cabs as well!

Check out EBS on the Web!


* **** *


I met John Taylor at the Peavey booth and he was a very nice guy. He focused his conversations on each and every person that spoke with him. I asked him some gear-related questions and talked briefly about his old Aria pro and Factor basses - I believe that conversation was some-what refreshing to him being that most folks wanted to know more about Duran Duran. Not everyone thought so... Naturally, I was shoved aside by the next pride of hungry cougars (John is a little older then a lot of them BTW). He found my mild displeasure amusing and smiled saying something like "Thanks and take care"

John Taylor - Seasoned Bassist!


* **** *

Mr. Futara --- Mr. Van-Zant

What a pleasure it is to hang out with a life-long friend at a show where we can just "talk shop". Van-Zant is truly one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in this whole crazy industry.

Check out Sonic Reality - "Sample Everything"


* **** *


Allen Sides (owner of Oceanway) demonstrates the "sound you can feel" with his OWA series monitors. Huge sound out of huge monitors - that's the way it should be!

Oceanway Audio


* **** *


Featuring Robert Marcello and the Boss FBM-1

Robert Marcello tears it up at the Boss booth in the Roland section. Man, this dude can play! The pedal he demos, in this vid, is the new Boss FBM-1 (Fender licensed). OK, so it doesn't sound EXACTLY like a '59 Bassman mid-throttle but it does sound pretty good and I wanted to buy one on-the-spot! Thanks for the demo, Robert!

Check out the Boss FBM-1


* **** *


- NAMM 2013 -



Email us with your questions and comments! Thanks for reading! -marty