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FOH’s NAMM 2020 Show Report

George Petersen • News • February 10, 2020

ANAHEIM – From January 16-19, 2020, some 115,000 industry pros made the annual pilgrimage to Anaheim, CA for the NAMM Show. And in addition to hundreds of meetings, seminars, events and of course, more than 2,000 exhibiting member companies on the tradeshow floor (including the expanded North Hall with two floors dedicated to pro audio), there was plenty to see, hear and experience. Having survived the crowds, the lines, the 140+ dB drum hall and NAMM-thrax, we made it back to report on some innovations that caught our attention.

‡‡         Consoles Mix It Up!

Allen & Heath dLive CTi1500

Allen & Heath (www.allen-heath.com) offered a sneak peek at its new dLive CTi1500, the world’s first titanium mixer. Outfitted with 12 faders over six layers, built-in audio I/O, audio networking, a 12-inch touch screen and weighing well under 50 pounds — perfect for fly dates.

APB-DynaSonics (www.apb-dynasonics.com) is back! After a recent change in ownership (now under control of original co-founder Chuck Augustowski) the company will re-launch its most popular products — the MixSwitch, ProRack-House and ProSpec lines.

Avid VENUE S6L 48D

Avid (www.avid.com) is shipping its long-awaited 48-fader VENUE | S6L-48D control surface for the VENUE | S6L console platform, along with its VENUE 6.2 software, which supports dual-operator workflows and other tweaks.

DiGiCo Quantum338 console launch

DiGiCo (www.digico.biz) hosted an insanely packed press conference to kick off its next-gen Quantum338 console, based on seventh-generation FPGAs offering 128 input channels, 64 buses and a 24 x 24 matrix — all with full channel processing. Also standard are three bright, 17-inch multi-touch screens, 70 individual TFT channel displays and 38 100mm touch-sensitive faders, along with “Ultimate Stadius” 32-bit ADCs/DACs, Mustard and Spice Rack processing and more.

DiGiCo then followed up with DMI-KLANG, an immersive in-ear mixing expansion on a single card that mounts directly into DiGiCo consoles equipped with DMI slots, providing immersive mixes of 64 inputs for 16 musicians — all within the console’s internal audio stream at near-zero latency — without any additional hardware I/O.

Solid State Logic Live v4.10 software

Solid State Logic (www.solidstatelogic.com) unveiled a Live V4.10 software update for its SSL Live consoles. Features that expand workflow and control include a new Event Manager where single trigger can activate multiple output actions; V-Auxes and V-Stems expansion of VCA group mixing; an onboard spectrum analyzer (shown) ; redesigned dynamic EQs; and HUI control of up to four DAWs.

Studiomaster DigiLive family

Studiomaster (www.studiomaster.com) is now available in the USA and showed its DigiLive digital console series. The flagship DigiLive 16 features 16 inputs (12 mic/line, two stereo) , motorized faders, 7“ touch screen, 16 buses, eight configurable outputs, onboard Wi-Fi, internal DSP effects and dynamics, and AES/EBU, S/PDIF and two USB ports.

Waves FIT controller

Waves’ (www.waves.com) FIT Controller for its eMotion LV1 Live Mixer delivers 17 moving faders, each with Mute, Solo and Select buttons, a multi-function rotary control, bright channel display, eight bank switches and user-defined keys. Also, Waves’ new LV1 v11 software lets each mixer channel to have its own plug-in rack capable of running up to eight Waves and third-party plugs — all running inside the mixer itself. Waves is also shipping its MyMon iOS/Android personal monitor mixing app for the LV1, granting musicians direct control of monitor mixes from up to 16 simultaneous mobile devices.

Yamaha console upgrade at the 92nd Street Y. Photo: Andrea Klerides/Michael Priest Photography

Yamaha (http://usa.yamaha.com/products) announced an L-ISA DeskLink technology partnership, adding L-Acoustics’ L-ISA Control capability into the workflow of its Rivage PM7 and PM10 consoles. Immersive mix parameters are storable for each object in console scenes with dedicated recall. Also announced is that Manhattan’s Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y (shown) was the first performing arts center to make the upgrade.

 

‡‡         LOUD-speakers!

Solid State Logic Live v4.10 software

Ashly IS2.1, IS3.1 and SP12.1P

Ashly Audio (www.ashly.com) unveiled multiple speaker offerings. Seven new models include two column speaker designs (models IS2.1 and IS3.2) ; a compact passive 12-inch SP12.1P sub; and passive all-weather speakers (with and without transformers) .

BASSBOSS Kraken subwoofer

BassBoss (www.bassboss.com) unleashed the Kraken — a quad-21 sub with 12,000 watts RMS amplification, yet a tiny footprint and low 147-pound weight. Also new is the DV12-MKII which updates this popular 12” full-range speaker with greater output and a long-excursion woofer that goes down to 45 Hz.

Bishop Sound founder Andrew Bishop

Bishop Sound (www.bishopsound.com) brought its British-made sound to NAMM with the Delta dual-8” passive line array, a 3-way point-source box and a hi-fi wedge. Bishop will also be building designer Mykey Hurley’s AK47 enclosure, which created a sensation in Reggae sound system market.

Coda System Optimiser 3D prediction software

Coda Audio (www.codaaudio.com) is beta testing its System Optimiser 3D prediction software, designed to provide Coda system designs to small to large venues — delivering results in seconds.

d&b SL-Series family

d&b audiotechnik (www.dbaudio.com) unveiled an addition to its KSL line array family; the KSL-SUB is a triple-15 cardioid subwoofer offered in flyable or ground-stack versions. Just 39” wide and weighing just 181 pounds, it is capable of 139 dB max SPLs.

DAS-Event-26A

DAS Audio (www.dasaudio.com) unveiled its new EVENT-26A and EVENT-115A subwoofer. The EVENT-26A is a 2-way, powered line array in a v-shaped, double-6.5” configuration with 100⁰ coverage. The EVENT-115A compact, powered bass reflex sub uses a single 15” long-excursion woofer. Also new is the E11EVEN SOUND by DAS Audio series, designed specifically for nightclub installs.

Electro-Voice EVOLVE 30M

Electro-Voice’s (www.electrovoice.com) EVOLVE 30M column system has an 8-channel mixer, DSP and effects. HF is via six 2.8” drivers mated to a 10” subwoofer, powered by 500-watt amps. A white version is due this spring. Also new is E-V’s coaxial 12-inch PXM-12MP monitor, useable as a wedge or as a compact main P.A., with its onboard DSP, 700W amp and 3-input mixer. Meanwhile, Dynacord’s SONICUE v1.1 system software now supports Dynacord L and C series amps and expands its E-V speaker library, including the popular ZLX, ELX200, EKX and ETX, and EVID commercial.

HK Audio Polar10 system

HK Audio’s (www.hkaudio.com) POLAR 10 2,000W column P.A. has a 4-channel mixer and Bluetooth 5.0 audio streaming. A 10” subwoofer and two column elements offer a 38 Hz to 20 kHz response. Shipping now.

JBL IRX Series

JBL Professional (www.jblpro.com) launched its IRX Series of portable 2-way speakers, with the 8-inch IRX108BT and the 12-inch IRX112BT. Features include two mic/line inputs, dbx Automatic Feedback Suppression, 1,300W amplifier, Bluetooth streaming and one-touch ducking.

L-Acoustics’ Scott Sugden unveils the Kara II.

L-Acoustics (www.l-acoustics.com) has updated its popular Kara line array with Kara II. Its Panflex variable directivity offers four patterns: 70° or 110° symmetrical, and 90° asymmetrical, steering to either the left or right. In a nod to the wide audience of Kara owners around the globe, L-Acoustics will market a kit to upgrade existing Kara with Panflex later this year.

Martin Audio BlacklineX subwoofer

Martin Audio (www.martin-audio.com) launched the X218 double-18 subwoofer, which extends its best-selling BlacklineX portable series, but the big news was Martin’s acquisition by fellow Brits Focusrite, which should definitely move the company ahead in the future — both financially and with shared technology. Congrats!

Meyer had basses on hand for musicians who wanted to perform through a line array.

Meyer Sound (www.meyersound.com) updates its UPQ Line with a new, 1,800W amplifier, expanded DSP and an ultra-wide 80° x 80° coverage UPQ-D3 model. But a surprise was the growing number of bassists that have turned to playing onstage through a ground stack of a Meyer Lina or Leopard line array/sub combo, so Meyer had a few systems on hand for musicians to check out.

NEXO P8, P10, P12 and L15 family

Nexo (www.nexo-sa.com) expands its P Series with the coaxial 8” P8 and 10” P10 — in install and touring models. The rotatable horns can also be swapped out, changing the standard 100×100° dispersion for a 110×60° alternative. An L15 subwoofer is optional.

RCF HDL 50-A 4K

RCF’s (www.rcf.it) new HDL 50-A 4K 3-way line array is a higher-powered redesign of the original HDL 50-A, with 8,000W peak power, two 12” woofers, four 6.5” cone mids, two 2” HF drivers and onboard FiRPHASE and RDNet networking. Upgrades are available for current HDL 50-A owners. The HDL26-A is an compact 2-way active for small/medium events, with 2,000W amp, two 6” neo woofers and 1.4” HF driver. Weight is just 13 kg and a flyable companion sub is offered.

Renkus-Heinz

Renkus-Heinz’ (www.renkus-heinz.com) ICLive X Series offers the ICLX and ICLXL steerable-array modules and a matching ICLX-118S sub. Its Acoustic Source Multiplier waveguide coaxially mounts the HF section in front of the LF section, for gradient-lobe free performance to very high frequencies. Up to 12 modules can be arrayed, for jobs of all sizes.

Sound Barrier

Sound Barrier’s (www.soundbarrier.com) SBLA45 is a compact, Variable Dispersion Speaker system with each having four 5” woofers and four 1” neodymium HF drivers. Dispersion angles — 60, 45, 30 and 15 degrees —can be adjusted in just a matter of seconds.

Tectonic displayed this mock “modern” line array

Tectonic Audio Labs (www.tectonicaudiolabs.com) showed its latest Distributed Mode Loudspeakers, but what grabbed attention was their depiction of a modern line array, complete with B/W TV screen, test pattern and rabbit ears, which contrasted with their flat-panel P.A. speakers. The 3.5” thick, 44-pound DML500 generates 165° conical dispersion and multiple mounting options include VESA compatibility. Stated response is 85 Hz to 20k Hz (±6 dB) and a new (also flat-panel) LS-18 sub has a front-loaded 18” woofer.

Yamaha DZR speakers

Yamaha (http://usa.yamaha.com) expands the install options for its powered DZR/DXS-XLF and passive CZR/CXS-XLF speakers and subwoofers — now also available in white. The Advanced FIR-X tuning technology DSP in the powered models is done at 96k Hz and the DZR and DXS series are also available in “D” models with Dante integration.

Yorkville Synergy SA221S

Yorkville Sound (www.yorkvillesound.com) demoed the Synergy SA221S, a dual-21” companion subwoofer for the Synergy Array series. The Synergy SA221S has two high-excursion 21” neodymium woofers that extend system response down to 25 Hz and the enclosure can be can be oriented vertically or stacked horizontally.

 

‡‡         Mics, Mics, Mics…

Audio-Technica 3000 Series

Audio-Technica (www.audio-technica.com) expanded its frequency-agile, 3000 Series UHF wireless line — now adding a Network Control and Monitoring Option. A network port on 3000 Series receivers with an added “N” designation are compatible with A-T’s Wireless Manager Mac OS/Windows application for remote configuration, control, monitoring, spectrum management and frequency coordination of compatible Audio-Technica devices. Pre-configured systems start at $729.

Countryman Phantom

Countryman’s (www.countryman.com) external Phantom Power Supply can operate on one 9V battery, two 9V batteries for extended life, or a 9V wall adapter and its selectable 12V, 24V and 48V output settings allow the unit to safely operate with mics that don’t require 48V power. Its die cast aluminum body and low-profile switches make it well suited for life on the road.

DPA CORE 6000 Series

DPA Microphones (www.dpamicrophones) expanded its 6000 Series family of subminiature mics with DPA’s CORE technology. New models include the 6066 CORE Headset that’s now available in brown as well as beige and black options. The 6060 and 6061 CORE Lavaliers now also have brown and white versions. All feature a high-performance, 3mm capsule and IP58 water-resistant rating.

Earthworks vocal capsules for live sound

Earthworks Audio (www.earthworksaudio.com) unveiled two cardioid condenser capsules for wireless handhelds. The SR3314 mates with Shure, Lectrosonics, Sony, Line 6, Audio-Technica and others with compatible 3-ring connectors. The SR5314 is built for Sennheiser’s Digital 9000/6000 Series, 2000 Series and the Evolution G4 500/300/100 Series.

Heil PR37

Heil Sound (www.heilsound.com) unveiled the PR37, a new cardioid handheld dynamic mic that’s said to offer improved rejection and upper-mid clarity than the popular PR35. Price is $249 when it ships this summer…

Mackie (www.mackie.com) enters the mic market with its value-priced EM-89D EleMent Series dynamic handheld model. The EM-89D has a cardioid pattern and a street price of $69.99 with stand clip, XLR cable and carry pouch

Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system

Sennheiser (www.sennheiser.com) updated the firmware for its Digital 6000 wireless mic systems, which adds a new Link Density Mode that significantly reduces the inter-channel spacing, thus increasing the number of available links (up to 30 links in the smaller 6 MHz TV channel in the USA) that can be operated in congested RF environments.

 

‡‡         Production Essentials

Arista

Arista Corporation (www.aristaproav.com) debuted an entire line of analog-Dante converters including basic, 2-channel units, but we were drawn to the E-Vocal Myriad Audio series for transferring 16 (ARS-1616) or 32 (ARS-3232) analog audio channels to/from a Dante network. Features include 24-bit/96 kHz resolution; dual etherCON LAN connectors for redundancy; dual AC and PoE power sources with auto switchover in case of power loss and a built-in web-based controller for monitoring operation via a web browser.

Audix A150 Headphones

Audix (www.audixusa.com) unveiled a line of universal-fit, in-ear IEMs with 10mm dynamic point-source drivers and priced from $279 to $329 when they hit the stores later this year. Coming sooner is a series of sealed-back, over the ear headphones with models from $129 to $249. I particularly liked the $249 A150 with their balanced, linear sound, comfort and effective seal of outside noise. They also have replaceable cables and fold flat into a storage case. Shipping begins in a month or so.

Burl B80 Mothership

Burl Audio’s (www.burlaudio.com) B80 Mothership — a 4U chassis that accommodates 10 card slots — ideal for eight B4 4-channel mic preamp/A-D cards and digital motherboards with I/O to DigiLink/MADI/Dante/SoundGrid — has been gaining steam with live sound users want a high-performance front-end in a convenient, modular package.

DirectOut PRODIGY.MP

DirectOut (www.directout.eu) demoed its modular (up to 32 I/O) PRODIGY.MP which provides flexible I/O, dual network audio, DSP functions, sample rate conversion and more. Its MADI slots can be equipped with BNC, SC optical and SFP modules, while network audio boards add Dante, RAVENNA/AES67 or SoundGrid. The channel capacity sums up to 416 inputs and 420 outputs, managed with a channel-based routing matrix, and globcon software adds remote control and comprehensive snapshot management with recall.

Focusrite ISA 828 MkII

Focusrite (http://pro.focusrite.com) brings Dante interfacing to its classic ISA 828 MkII and ISA 428 MkII preamps with a new optional ISA ADN8 A/D card that provides ADAT Optical, AES3 and Dante connectivity at 24-bit/192k Hz. A 2-channel ISA ADN2 card offers similar functionality to its the ISA One mic preamp/DI. RedNet Control and Dante Controller software allow Dante routing and control from a computer; no hardware patching required.

Powersoft ArmoniaPlus HealthPlus

Powersoft (www.powersoft.com) kicked off its 25th anniversary year, with its new ArmoníaPlus HealthPlus system management software update that streamlines real-time device monitoring and measurement, giving users a complete suite of system diagnostic controls to monitor the health and effectiveness of any sound system (touring or installed) in real-time.

Sound Tools

Sound Tools (www.ratsoundsales.com) improved its classic Sniffer/Sender XLR cable tester — now updated with a rotary on/off switch and a small color sticker that indicates cable condition (shorts, open circuits, polarity reverse, missing ground) at a glance. I’ve had one of these for about 25 years and it’s a must-have on any live gig or install I do. It could be the best $55 you ever spent. You can thank me later.

Whirlwind PLMC-SKB Series

Whirlwind’s (www.whirlwindusa.com) PLMC-SKB Series puts one of its Power Link PLMC Motor Controller series in a waterproof SKB series rolling case, for portability and weatherproof protection. A variety of configurations and choices of remote controllers are offered, all in convenient solution.

‡‡         Looking to the Future

There was plenty more at NAMM and we’ll present these in the months to come. Meanwhile, the NAMM Show will return to Anaheim from January 21-24, 2021. Summer NAMM will be in Nashville July 9-11, 2020. See ya there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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