NAMM 2019 Show Report: Day One
Report: Mark Davie
The NAMM show had barely opened and a new audio company was born. Blake Augsburger (ex-president of Harman) announced the arrival of LEA Professional, which stands for Loud Enough Audio and is aiming to bring the first Internet of Things professional amplifier to market.
Sennheiser and Neumann did a double act. Neumann President Wolfgang Fraissinet debuted those Neumann NDH20 studio headphones he’d let slip in our interview late last year. The new Neumann KH750 sub was also on display, with a Neumann designed 10-inch long-throw driver in a short sealed cabinet for big punch in a small package. On the Sennheiser side, it started with the tiny SK6212 bodypack for 6000 series digital; moved onto its 400 and 500 Pro IEMs which use a single 7mm dynamic driver to cover the audible frequency spectrum instead of multiple balanced armatures. But the biggest news was the XSW Digital range. Instead of packs and cables, the 2.4GHz range of products all plug directly in. For instance, the instrument set comprises two 1/4-inch jacks connected to rotatable transmitters and receivers the size of a thumb.
EV had a speaker demo room set up like a high-energy museum display, but the new gear was out front. Its first wireless series, RE3, comprises about 80 products, including capsules from the newly minted RE420 and 520 handheld condenser mics.
Adamson debuted the new CS series of portable speakers, and had live luminaries like Kenny Kaiser talking about when they first fell in love with the E series line array.
API broke out the champagne to celebrate 50 years since Saul Walker’s designs were formed into a company. There’s plenty to celebrate this year including Walker being posthumously awarded the Recording Academy’s Technical Grammy this year. API president, Larry Droppa, reckoned it was long overdue. Larry also showed off some limited edition gold-face-plated 500 series units. The 312 features an original design, hand-populated board, as does the 550A EQ. Both will be limited editions, with 150 of the former, and 50 of the latter being made. For those that miss out on the gold versions, Larry said everyone who buys a 500 series unit this year from API will get a commemorative lunchbox. Not the gear kind… the kind you stick your sandwich in.
We stopped by Warm Audio to check out what founder Bryce had cooking, and he showed us the two new mics. One is based on an ELAM-251 for US$799 and then a couple of WA-84s, which are based on the KM-84.
Chris Lord-Alge was giving demos of his new Waves plug-in, which is basically a complete SSL console in the box. We stopped by Audinate to see how the world domination is going. You can barely find a stand at the show that doesn’t have a ‘Dante spoken here’ card. Allen Sides was showing off some huge Ocean Way monitors and a gorgeous looking ribbon.
Last stop of the day was Dynaudio’s Unheard Studio. A container studio Dynaudio has been touring around the world to record unsigned artists that could do with a break. You can hear the whole process in action from outside the glass-walled container. Inside, the studio is fully equipped with a DAD AX32 converter, Waves eMotion mixing system, Cubase recorder, Klang headphone mixing, a full complement of DPA microphones. And, of course, the new Core monitors, which sounded spectacular. They replace the AIR series, which were heavy on the DSP control, but no one really used. Core is all about making the best-sounding speakers the company could, and still feature Dynaudio’s easy-listening soft-dome tweeters.