Every year thousands gather to witness the unveiling of new and innovative products from musics biggest companies. The National Association for Music Merchants, better known as NAMM, is best described as a Guitar Center on steroids, and lots of ‘em.
By Brendan Cooney/Photo Credit Mike Danenberg
NAMM takes place at a massive convention center in Anaheim, California and no square inch goes to waste. House hold names such as Fender Guitars all the way to start-ups like DUBS acoustic filters are sure to be in attendance. Oh and did I mention the slew of celebrities (Stevie Wonder, Kyle Gass, George Clinton, Randy Jackson, etc) roaming the isles? Well now that you have a taste of what all the hype is about, lets dive into some of the products that caught our eye!
Lets begin with the previously mentioned, DUBs. Not to be confused with ear “plugs”, DUBs acoustic filters are protective hearing devices that do not ruin the sound but enhance it. Most musicians dread popping in uncomfrotable ear plugs that reduce sound quality. These guys have only been around for three months and they are doing everything right. They fit flush, look great, and most importantly let in what you want and keep out what you don’t. All packaged in a clean, compact case that would look fitting on an Apple store shelf. Each and every NAMM goer was offered a complimentary pair of these 25$ DUBs, so I can attest to the quality and comfort!
Next I swung by the Shure booth. Shure is an industry standard when it comes to microphones, in-ear monitors, etc and their new product line, Motiv, did not disappoint. Motiv is a new digital microphone line that is “designed for highly portable,plug-and-play audio capture.” These usb driven microphones had a clear sound at a very consumer friendly price (roughly $100). A Shure representative played a full band demo recorded solely by Motiv mics to showcase their ability. What I heard was very impressive to say the least. By no means will they put recording studios out of business, but a perfect microphone for a musician looking to demo at home or on the road. My personal favorite of the 4 mic series is the MV88, a digital stereo condenser microphone that plugs directly in to your iOS device. A perfect microphone for musicians and reporters alike. Motiv is definitely giving Blue Microphones, the currently preferred usb/ portable mic, a run for their money.
On to one of my personal favorites, EarthQuaker Devices. These Akron, Ohio natives are making beautiful, looking and sounding, boutique guitar pedals. Owner Jamie Stillman started off tour managing the Black Keys, so he is no stranger to electrifying guitar tones. The versatile “dispatch master,” a delay/reverb is a must listen for all guitarists. The reverb is massive and the delay clean and controllable. With that said it comes as no surprise that it is among their best sellers. Overall their staff was well educated on the product and extremely friendly/ informative.
Last but certainly not least I swung by Massachusetts based SJC custom drums. WOW! These guys are making some jaw dropping drum kits. Green Days very own, Tre Cool, even swung by to say hello to his builders. He was greeted with a big hug by SJC’s creative director, Mike Ciprari. SJC custom makes each kit to the customers’ exact specifications. So whether you are looking for simplicity or a “never seen before” look these guys are willing to take on the challenge. Looks aside, you can hear the love and passion of these punchy drums with every hit.
As NAMM wrapped up and the after parties began, I slipped into my car and headed back to Hollywood. A nine to five day strolling the streets of the worlds most expensive music exposition really takes it out of you, but it was well worth it! Overall, a great day of exploring an overwhelming amount music gear while brushing shoulders with some of music greats. See you next year!