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NAMM 2017: Eight more audio milestones for TEChnology Hall of Fame

The NAMM Foundation will honour ‘culturally significant’ musical inventions at its TECnology Hall of Fame event

The NAMM Foundation will honour a further eight ‘culturally significant’ musical inventions at its TECnology Hall of Fame event on 21 January. Presented by pro-audio journalist George Petersen, the ceremony will honour a host of innovations dating from 1954 to 1998.

The first of this year���s recipients dates from 1954. The Decca Tree microphone stand (pictured top) was created by Roy Wallace and Arthur Haddy, and utilises three omni-directional microphones – often with left and right outriggers. It continues to be used as a set-up today by both pros and hobbyists.

From 1960 comes the Neumann U67 Condenser Microphone. The multi-directional condenser microphone was the first of its kind, compensating for proximity of studio musicians who preferred to sing directly into the microphone.

A defining part of some of the most notable guitar riffs of the last 50 years, the third celebrated innovation (from 1966) is the Wah-Wah Pedal. Discovered ‘nearly by accident’ by Brad Plunkett of Warwick/Thomas Organ Company, the wah-wah pedal has found its way onto iconic hits by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and many others.

Entries four and five constitute some of the most significant studio innovation of the late 1980s. The Tascam 80-8 eight-track analogue recorder (unveiled in 1976 and pictured) quickly became the standard in small professional and home studios, while Wendel – developed by late, great studio engineer Roger ‘The Immortal’ Nichols – was a pioneering creation in the art of digital drum replacement. Designed to sample audio drums, Wendel was used during some of the era’s greatest albums, including Steely Dan’s Gaucho and Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly.

Invented in 1985, the API Audio Lunchbox 500 series gave pro-audio professionals the opportunity to customise their rigs with API components as required. The company would go on to offer a number of variations of the 500 series.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, the Neutrik Speakon has become a standard for professional live sound speakers. Upon their release in 1987, both the cable and chassis versions of the connector met international regulations, featured a solderless connection, and defined a streamlined signal chain experience.

The AEA R44-B/C ribbon microphone was designed (as the R44B) in the 1930s but proved to be an extremely enduring piece of design. Described as the most multi-purpose microphone available for sound professionals, the mic was brought back to market as the R44-C in 1998.

Finally, winners in the Outstanding Technical Achievement and Outstanding Creative Achievement will be announced during the TEC Awards show. Aerosmith co-founder and lead guitarist Joe Perry will receive the prestigious Les Paul Award and perform several songs, while the band’s engineer and producer, Jack Douglas, will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame.