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6 show review  February 2012


Show review: NAMM 2012 The 2012 NAMM Show in Anaheim, US, featured a slew of launches from companies including Line 6, Mackie, Avid, Allen & Heath, Electro-Voice, Telefunken, Studiomaster and more, write Erica Basnicki and Dave Robinson NAMM 2012, which ran from 19-22 January, proved to be a record-breaker for the 110-year-old event. More than 95,700 attendees were recorded, representing a 15% increase on last year. Exhibitor numbers totalled 1,441, reports the organiser. Certainly one of the more exciting announcements at this year’s event was Line 6’s new “smart” digital mixer, the StageScape m20D. Dubbed “the world’s first smart mixer for live sound” its main feature is a new touchscreen visual mixing environment. No faders! None! Switch to Perform Mode, and a graphic display of the stage set-up lets you reach for icons representing each performer or input. A single touch on a performer’s icon provides access to all parameters relating to that channel, controlled by an X-Y pad. The StageScape m20D also features 32-bit floating point processing, a professional suite of dedicated dynamics, EQ and FX processors tailored to each channel, as well as multichannel recording of performances. Remote-controlled operation of the entire system is possible via one or more iPad devices. StageSource speakers (also launched at NAMM) can be integrated into the system using Line 6’s proprietary digital networking L6 LINK. The m20D recognises which speakers are being used as monitors and sends them monitor feeds. Loudspeakers will automatically self-configure, pan stereo signals, adjust Smart Speaker modes and perform system-wide optimisation. Also taking advantage of touchscreen technology – a theme at this year’s NAMM – is the Mackie DL1608 mixing desk. The 16-channel digital mixer features Mackie’s Onyx mic preamps, 24-bit Cirrus Logic A-D/D-A converters, built-in DSP and remotecontrolled operation supporting up to 10 iPads simultaneously. Additionally, the DL1608 features a recall function and channel presets


A packed room for the launch of Line 6’s StageScape and StageSource products, and a song by GRAMMY winner Colbie Caillat

Mackie debuted the DL1608 mixing system, a clever

Allen & Heath team at the launch of the new GLD

combination of iPad control and I/O platform

(“GL – Digital”) system on the eve of the NAMM show

allowing users to quickly save and access a range of settings. Harnessing the power of social media, it allows users to make a stereo recording directly onto an iPad, take a photo of the band, and easily upload and share a performance. Pushing into new territory, digital mixing console pioneer DiGiCo launched its UB MADI interface (under the DiGiCo Solutions moniker) at NAMM. Once the low-latency driver

The Aviom AllFrame Multi-Modular I/O System is ready for Europe

is installed, UB MADI is a simple plug-and-play device, enabling any computer to instantly connect to MADI via the most standard connector of all, USB 2.0. UB MADI uses the Stealth Digital Processing FPGA technology distilled from DiGiCo’s award-winning SD range of consoles. Small enough to fit in a sound engineer’s pocket, it delivers 48 simultaneous inputs and outputs – 96 channels of audio I/O – over USB 2.0. The Harman brands had much to trumpet about at NAMM, beginning with the launch of the JBL Professional VTX ‘next generation’ line array series, designed for portable and fixedvenue systems. Evolved from the VerTec system, VTX’s key component is the D2 Dual Driver, specially developed to improve sound and performance at high frequencies. JBL Pro says D2 overcomes the limitations of conventional compression driver technology: diaphragm and voice coil mass limiting HF extension and distortion characteristics that arise due to dome break-up modes. Paul Bauman, head of tour sound, introducing the D2 at NAMM, likened the technology therein to a “Swiss watch”. The first VTX series product is the VTX

DiGiCo USA’s Matt Larson presents the UB MADI interface, a new business strand for the console manufacturer

V25 – a three-way, high-directivity line array element featuring dual 2kW, 15” Differential Drive woofers mounted in die-cast aluminium baffles. To power the VTX system, Crown Audio announced its new flagship i-Tech HD Series 4x3500HD DriveCore Series 4-channel power amplifier. The 4-channel i-Tech 4x3500HD incorporates Crown’s “sixth-generation” Class I engine with its innovative (and eco-friendly) DriveCore technology to deliver 3,500W per channel burst into 4 or 2 ohms, and offers a host of innovations including a 4.3” TFT LCD with capacitive touchscreen

and HiQnet System Architect 2.0 control functionality. (AED Rent in Europe was the first outfit worldwide to order the new VTX/i-Tech combo – see box, page 8.) More Harman: the AKG WMS 40 MINI 2 Dual wireless system, launched at Winter NAMM, offers high-definition audio performance, with efficient bodypack and cardioid mic transmitters, ensuring “advanced, reliable and quality sound for performances”, says AKG. The new WMS is available in three packages – the Vocal, Instrumental and Mix sets. The Vocal set features two HT 40 MINI dynamic cardioid microphones and the SR 40 MINI DUAL receiver. AKG’s Instrumental set includes two PT 40 MINI body packs – the smallest transmitters in its class that lasts up to 30 hours on one AA battery – the SR 40 MINI 2 and two guitar cables, while the Mix set offers one HT 40 MINI, a PT 40 MINI and the SR 40 MINI 2. Also of note from AKG this year was the DMS 70 a “true uncompressed” digital wireless system operating with 24-bit 48kHz transmission in the 2.4GHz ISM band, a worldwide licencefree frequency range; and the IVM4500 IEM In Ear Monitoring System, which builds on the strengths of its IVM4 predecessor. Elsewhere on the showfloor, Avid unveiled its VENUE SC48 Remote Digital Live Sound System, Stage 48 Remote I/O Box, and VENUE 3 Software. The VENUE SC48 system is a compact digital live sound system that delivers the same sound quality, Pro Tools integration and direct plug-in support of the VENUE SC48, with the addition of remote I/O functionality via the Stage 48 remote I/O box. This enables engineers to place the I/O away from the console and closer to sources. In a separate development, French high-end plug-in developer FLUX showed off a VENUE-compatible version of its Pure Analyzer System at NAMM – a network-driven modular RTA (Real Time Analyzer) system that consists of the standalone Pure Analyzer Essential application and up to three optional modules (Pure Analyzer Live, Pure Analyzer Metering, and Pure Analyzer Multichannel). Employing these highly impressive tools, VENUE users gain access to an extensive range of analysis options for live productions and other audio measurement applications. Unveiled just before NAMM kick-off (and previewed in last month’s PSNE) was Allen & Heath’s GLD scalable live digital mixing system, centred around the GLD-80 mixer, which provides 48-input processing channels, eight stereo FX returns fed by iLive’s FX emulations, 30 configurable buses, 20 mix processing channels and DSP power. The GLD-80 has an analogue-style channel processing control section complemented by a graphical 8.4” touchscreen. A fully-customisable drag-and-drop layout allows quick and easy assignment of inputs and mixes to fader strips. f

Pro Sound News Europe February 2012  
Pro Sound News Europe February 2012  

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