NAMM 2019: A recap of the highlights so far

PSNEurope reflects on the biggest stories from the past two days in Anaheim.
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It's been a typically hectic NAMM so far, with first two days of the LA gathering delivering a vast and varied array of new products and announcements from across the complete spectrum of professional audio. And as ever, PSNEurope has been on-hand in Anaheim to hear from those making waves across the biz and setting the agenda for the year ahead.

Among the most talked about announcements at NAMM 2019 was the opening day news that a number of ex Harman execs have assembled to launch a brand new company. Led by Harman Professional's former president Blake Augsburger, LEA Professional is a new amplifier technology manufacturer based in Northern Indiana. The company’s first launch will come in the form of a series of professional grade two-channel and four-channel amplifiers for small to medium scale installations. Featuring DSP, wired or Wi-Fi connectivity, webpage configuration, and control, the LEA Connect Series will represent the first IoT enabled professional-grade amplifiers and will provide end users with sonic performance, ease of use and reliability. Also part of the team is Jeremy Bules, vice president of engineering and operations and Scott Robbins, vice president of sales and marketing. 

The launch of LEA Professional is the latest in a number of new ventures launched by former Harman executive after the business culled some 650 members of its workforce in 2017 as part of a major restructuring of the business. The include Austrian Audio, which was founded by ex AKG staff and Cranborne Audio, comprised of former Soundcraft staff.

Elsewhere, Waves has caught the studio market's attention with the release of the CLA MixHub, developed in collaboration with legendary producer Chris Lord-Alge, which, the company told us at the show, is set to become one of the most successful products in its history. The CLA MixHub allows you to mix up to 64 tracks – all from the same plugin window – using channel strips modelled from CLA’s personal console. It is the first plugin to work in buckets – groupings of up to eight channels, in up to eight buckets in total. By mixing tracks side by side in buckets, you’ll gain a mixing perspective that lets you immediately hear how one track’s processing affects others within a song.

The channel strips were modelled directly from Lord-Alge’s personal console, which he has used to mix a huge number of hits, from Green Day, Muse and Sugarland to Keith Urban and many more.

Powersoft, meanwhile, has been showcasing its new ArmoníaPlus System Manager and T Series. The new ArmoníaPlus System Manager is an upgrade from its Armonía Pro System Manager audio design environment software; ArmoníaPlus will be presented by Woida in the session, covering topics such as software navigation, designing a large line-source system, preset creation and interactive tuning.

Day one also saw Neumann reveal its very first pair of studio headphones, as well as a new KH line subwoofer at NAMM 2019, presenting at the Anaheim Convention Center North, Level 1, booth 14108, alongside sister company Sennheiser. The Neumann NDH 20 is a closed-back studio headphone combining, according to Neumann, excellent isolation with carefully balanced sound image and outstanding resolution. It is ideally suited to monitoring, editing and mixing tasks, even in loud and noisy environments. As for the subwoofer, the KH 750 DSP Neumann reveals a new, compact subwoofer that is good for smaller rooms and that complements the Neumann KH 80 DSP studio monitors. It has a 2.0/0.1 Bass Manager feature, allowing the subwoofer to be used in many different system configurations.

However, Neumann's subwoofer launch was just one of several high-profile loudspeaker launches to grace the show's first day. 

Nexo lifted the lid on its new GEO M12 line array. Together with the MSUB18 companion sub-bass cabinet, the GEO M12 is aimed primarily at the mid-size rental company, although its competitive pricing will make it a popular investment for all types of application, from corporate presentations to live performance venues and houses of worship.

German loudspeaker giant d&b audiotechnik allowed visitors to get up close with its brand new KSL System the smaller sibling of its GSL range. KSL has been designed to maintain all of the recognisable features of its Special Loudspeaker (SL) lineage, including full range broadband directivity, extended LF response and advanced rigging options in an accessible size. It is designed for the sound reinforcement needs of any genre, mobile or installed, from large scale arenas, stadiums and festivals to medium scale applications such as clubs, theatres, houses of worship and performing arts venues. Prior to the show, we spoke exclusively to Chemical Brothers FOH engineer Shan Hira and Matt Vickers of Skan about how the new system, which has been on the road with the legendary dance duo, has helped transform their live sound.

Dynaudio, meanwhile, unleashed a new series of studio reference monitors in the form of the Core series, comprised of a three-way monitor (Core 59) and a two-way monitor (Core 7). Both Core 7 and Core 59 have digital inputs (AES3) and support up to 24-bit/192 kHz signals, and the internal DSP (digital signal processor) operates at the same high level when using the analogue inputs. They both have Pascal class-D amplifiers developed after a series of listening tests, and are tuned to perfectly match within a very narrow 0.2 dB tolerance.

PSNEurope has also been hearing from some of the biggest pro audio exhibitors in attendance this year to find out what keeps them coming back to the event year after year and why it is such a unique prospect for the market. 

For now, enjoy the rest of the show!

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