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FLASHBACK: Pro audio exhibitors hail NAMM 2019

PSNEurope hears from a range of industry heavyweights to get their take on why NAMM has endeared itself to the pro audio community more than ever before

NAMM 2019 served up a show to remember in January, with attendees and exhibitors across the board hailing it as one of the best outings in recent history, while attendance figures soared to record highs. 

The blue skies and soaring temperatures that permeated Anaheim certainly set the mood for NAMM 2019, matching perfectly the mood of much of the pro audio contingent at this year’s show. With 115,301 attendees flocking to LA for the event, it was the biggest audience in its 118-year history. Numerous exhibitors cited it as one of the most vibrant trade shows in recent memory, pointing to everything from the daily breakfast seminars and live performances, as well as to the multitude of new products and innovations as major highlights.

More than 2,000 exhibiting members graced the show floor in January, representing 7,000 brands. The show also saw significant gains in its global reach, achieving a targeted year-on-year increase of 14 per cent in international participants. Unsurprisingly, many of the exhibitors were quick to sing NAMM 2019’s praises.

“For four days, the centre of the music universe is right here at The NAMM Show, where we’re connecting with our top customers and artists,” said David Glaubke of Harman Professional Solutions. “This continues to be the premier event to launch products that will shape how music is made, performed and recorded for years to come.”

Alan Macpherson, general manager of Yamaha Corporation of America, was equally full of praise for the 2019 show: “Overall, we feel it was Yamaha’s best ever NAMM. It was gratifying to see so many people coming to experience the wide array of products that allow our customers to create their perfect systems. Of note was the global launch of NEXO’s GEO M12; the response from our customers was immediately positive.

He continued: “The pro audio team worked their usual market-leading magic as well. The new DZRDante speaker line up made its NAMM debut, and the team launched the new Steinberg AXR4-T premium Thunderbolt 2 interface, which features Rupert Neve Design’s famous SILK processing on microphone preamps. The Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage, dominating the NAMM Show, featured NEXO STM speaker systems, and Rivage PM10 Digital Audio Consoles along with the NEXO GEO M12 speakers.”

David Claringbold of d&b audiotechnik was also keen to highlight the benefits of exhibiting at the show: “We launched the KSL System, the new addition to the SL Series, our top range concert line array series,” he said. “This was d&b’s most significant product release outside of Germany in the company’s history. We chose the NAMM Show for a launch of this stature because the timing and location of NAMM is so well suited to our global market. We were inundated with people wanting to get up close to the KSL System and talk with our people on the booth and had a packed demonstration room for our d&b Soundscape immersive technology presentations. We look forward to returning next year.”

Andy Munitz of Sony Pro Audio added: “I love this show, there are so many types of customers that come through, people that have used our products for years and love them and people that also want to learn about the new products constantly. We have videographers, recording performers, engineers, singers, and musicians; you have quite the cross-section and that’s great for allowing us to promote our product, and of course at Sony, since we make so many different kinds of products.”

Meanwhile, Miles Rodgers of Meyer Sound explained why he believes that trade events with NAMM’s global reach are so vital to the industry: “The question on everyone’s mind… are trade shows still valuable? With the addition of the Pro Audio Hall at the NAMM show we can now better focus on our market. This year was an awesome step forward, and we were able to connect with existing and new customers in the market.

“The Pro Audio Hall was great as we could easily connect with the other manufacturers that provide equipment to our customers. I look forward to the future of NAMM!”

Giles Orford, brand director of Focusrite, reflected on this year’s NAMM and what he considers to be a new lease of life for the show: “Focusrite has been attending NAMM for 29 years, and I’ve done 20 of them. It is the most important trade show in our industry and a good platform to exhibit on, but we’ve often felt like the show provided much of the same each year. This year was unique as the audience seemed to have become more diverse; NAMM as an association is clearly working hard to drive diversity in our industry, especially in the US. It was a good NAMM, it’s promising for the future of the show and the year ahead in our industry.

“Opportunities like NAMM, to meet everyone face to face, and have meaningful experiences that can drive our industry forward, that’s priceless; we need to engage with and support human interaction in an increasingly digital world. It’s not about a bunch of manufacturers on a trade floor, but about sharing minds in our industry. ”In terms of highlights, I think the breakfast and AE3 seminars were inspirational and well executed, whilst Gibson’s presentation as a brand was uplifting for the entire industry, and the quality of musical performances were phenomenal.”

Funktion-One’s sales director David Bruml noted the diversity and positivity that helped to define 2019 as a vintage year for NAMM: “With the new focus on pro audio announced for the NAMM Show 2018, FunktionOne supported this expansion with a large booth last year, which was very successful. We decided to return for 2019, and it was remarkable to see the development year on year.

“NAMM 2019 was undoubtedly amongst the most positive trade shows in all my many years of exhibition experience. Such a remarkably diverse mix of people from all sectors of the music industry and beyond attended – from major musicians, through to top level entertainment venues, tour and event production companies, sound rental users and system integrators. “All trade shows are melting pots of potential connections, but NAMM excelled in this regard; the organisers clearly have a highly developed sense for how to choreograph and stage a great convention. I was impressed by all aspects of the show and there’s no doubt Funktion-One and Sound Investment both look forward to returning in 2020.”

Mike Igglesden, Funktion-One sound engineer, agreed: “The varied crowd made it lively – it felt like it was full of people who are very passionate about music. The facilities are great, and it’s well laid out; even without a map, you could work out where companies were likely to be.”

Udi Henis from Waves also conveyed the feel good factor that appeared to be so infectious at this year’s NAMM: “Waves had an exceptional NAMM this year. We benefited from a full booth, partly due to our artist presentations including Andrew Scheps, Greg Wells, Jack Joseph Puig and Chris Lord Alge’s presentations of the CLA MixHub, released on the first day of the show.

“The show saw the showcase of the V10 updated Waves eMotion LV1 mixer, and it was a great opportunity to meet our users, learn from their feedback and show intrigued visitors the benefits of our products.”

Reflecting on this year’s outing, NAMM CEO Joe Lamond concluded: “We live in accelerated times with technological developments, and global business and market conditions, which can create unpredictability in any industry. However, if you take a look around the NAMM Show, one could find many reasons to feel quite comfortable about the importance of music around the world and future of the music products industry. From the exciting innovations of our exhibiting members, the creativity of our retail members in finding enhanced ways to serve their communities, especially music educators, to the expanded live sound, lighting and event tech professionals and companies who made the trip to Anaheim, the connections, business opportunities, and education offered each the tools needed to succeed in the year ahead.”