Thank you to Casio and Best Buy for the chance to come down to NAMM and cover the show again this year. Casio has been a fantastic host—the folks at the booth made both me and Marc-André feel more than welcome. I am truly grateful for the opportunity.
You can get lost in this show with all the blinking lights, loud sounds, celebrities and music industry people of all types. Everything converges on the Annaheim Convention Centre for four days, turns the area into a grid-locked mess and then leaves. It’s quite exciting AND tiring.
This year seemed to be a holding-steady year for most vendors. There weren’t a lot of new over-the-top products introduced, but rather more updates, polishing or bolstering to product lines.
Of the brand new products we did see at the show, I particularly liked Casio’s XW-PD1 and XW-DJ1 controllers. Not only are they an innovative design and form-factor, they’re incredibly feature-rich.
The Korg Kaossilator 2 was a surprising little gem that I wasn’t expecting. Being the smallest yet of the Kaoss lineage, it certainly packed a lot of fun functionality into the palm of your hand.
The Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone was a big surprise—so small, but it’s a stereo microphone in a mid-side configuration which allows for a very versatile and phase-coherent recording experience.
The Roland HS-5 Session Mixer was something that I was also impressed by. It’s not as flashy and feature-rich as the Aira line of products, but what I saw was something that was inviting and encouraging strangers to enjoy playing music together.
It’s easy to dismiss the show as a overt marketing vehicle for instrument and service vendors of the industry. But, if you dig, there is a lot more to NAMM than what you see on the surface. Once you get past all the flash and pizzazz of the show floor, you can discover a deep commitment to education—at all levels.
The show itself hosts a number of talks and seminars that cover a wild range of topics.
The NAMM foundation supports music education in a big way. Sure, you might take the cynical approach – thinking that creating more musicians equals more sales for the music industry, but when you look at the message, the vision and mission of the NAMM foundation, it really drives home the whole … bigger purpose of all of this: Wanting to share the enjoyment that one gets from making music.