ED NOTE: If you think that all NAMM reports are just glowing descriptions of cool gear, you have never read a report by SPLNetwork’s own Larry Hall. No political correctness. No fawning. No pulling punches. In fact he doesn’t even try. It’s part of his basic charm… You’ve been warned…

Each year I go to NAMM and I promise myself I won’t do it next year, and each year… I FREAKING DO IT ANYWAY! 

Most years past, the pro audio portion has been LAME. Most major manufactures don’t even show up, and the ones that do typically have the same feeling about going that I have….And are still showing last years gear…

This year the good the bad and the ugly for pro audio or “close to pro audio” for NAMM. 

The good? 1) I actually saw a few good new or newish items. 2) I didn’t have to eat the $60 crap burger in the convention center!!

QSC has a new wedge that looks good,has a nice design,a 12 and 1.4 bi amp or passive and a pole mount.and a price point that fits most regional company needs and maybe even a touring company that may need something a little more cost effective. Check it out its called AP-5122M. Street Price about $1450.

DAS showed 2 items that caught my eye. They also showed a BAD mix engineer at their outside stage that hurt my ears:) Where do these clowns come from? In between the howls, and the sounds of dolphins and whales, the rig sounded pretty good. Maybe DAS has a new strategy? “This is how great our new PA sounds like with a crappy guy mixing.”  ???  That actually might work. Its not like if we buy the PA, that we will get Scovill or Dave Rat or Pooch at every show we do. So maybe DAS was on to something:)

The new Aero 40 self-powered mid-size line array with Powersoft amp/DSP module, and the Convert 15a also with a Powersoft amp/DSP module. Both of these items could fit well with a touring house with the balls to give them a shot, and for sure fit a regional rental market or the church market very nicely. 

Street Price: Aero 40a $6500,  Convert 15A $6500

Pretty much everything that RCF showed was nice. So if you care, go to their website. I don’t have time to tell you about ALL of it.

In the mid level “prosumer” market. Well IMHO, Behringer smashes everyone. The X32 and its new family members shows us yet again how for years some manufactures have raped the masses. (Funny how–with the exception of PreSonus who was actually first with a digital desk in this price range–that prices on this kind of gear dropped by 1/2 in the year since the X32 was released.) With their Midas love and easy lay out these cheap–No, affordable–consoles can fit anyone’s budget. Street price on the X32 $2500….And that is the full-size “expensive” one

Speaking of Midas…. WAVES plug ins…. Jim Roese with his RPM Dynamics set up… Pretty sweet! There WAS something a NAMM for the Pro Audio SNOB! YAY

 The JBL/Soundcraft/Crown system demo out front. Simply KILLER. I thought the new VTX sub was a little weak, but could have been the guy mixing. The VTX top? Well it doesn’t sound like a Vertec rig! So maybe JBL finally got it right!

The BAD.

The 50 year old music store guy still wearing skinny jeans,and guy liner….And there where about 500,0000 of them. But they do still have the flowing Jon Bon hair…It just starts 3 inches back from where it was 25 years ago, and has a nice bald spot in the back. But they are still rocking the look. As a FAT guy, I wonder how they get their gut over the skinny jeans… Things that make me cry in my sleep.

More bad. Whirlwind. I would like to tell you about their killer new Power Distro. But I can’t. For the 100th trade show in a row, I was the only guy in the booth looking at their gear, and the seven guys working there couldn’t bother to talk to me. So F them. I am glad I use CBI and Motion Labs.

The UGLY 

The smell of hangovers and nicotine leaking from the pores of the NAMMERS. Enough to gag a maggot! DAMN PEOPLE! 

Some of the hired “models” used in some manufactures booths….Well I think The Rev would look better in a thong and heels. DAMN guys if your going to spend the $, at least get hot chicks! WTF?