Summer NAMM 2014 Wrapup

Summer NAMM 2014 Wrapup

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
07.23.2014

Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) came to Nashville last week (July 16-19) and filled the new Nashville Music City Center with a diverse variety of music vendors from around the country. Everything from guitars (LOTS of Guitars) and drums to cases and in-ear monitors to production software and recording equipment was on display. Similar to last year, there wasn't a lot of DJ/Electronic Dance Music production stuff (Numark/Akai and American DJ were both missing) - but in looking around for interesting gear for DJs and dance music lovers, I did find some stuff of interest.


redsonic

RedSonic Sound



I will be the first to admit that I am not a speaker junkie, I know what sounds good and what doesn't. I am also one that doesn't do a lot of mobile gigs because of the pain of lugging speakers. When I came across the RedSonic sound booth, it really made sound. Rather than investing in massive speakers and amps, it's a modular system that would allow you to customize on the fly. The cylindrical speakers can be stacked or hung, daisy-chained, or individually connected. With the emphasis in the web world of being scalable, it's nice to see the meme made it to speakers. Of course, the most important thing is sound quality and when I heard what was coming from the display - from one to 8 units, I was sufficiently impressed. For DJs, these could be stylish monitors for a club gig or a full-on travel rig for a mobile setup. Founded by guitar enthusiast Jonathan Redmon, RedSonic Sound is a new company that you will definitely be hearing a lot about.




Keith McMillen Instruments 

QuNeo and Rogue


Bright colors and flashing lights naturally attract me, as do cool looking MIDI controllers. When I first saw the QuNeo, I thought it looked cool with the different colors, big programmable pads, and various sliders. Of course, everything is customizable to send MIDU signals to whatever program. For me, it looks like a brilliant tool for Grand VJ, but that's just me. Then it hit me that the QuNeo also reacts in 3D space - so if you are holding it and rotate on an axis - that motion is read as well. I've yet to see a MIDI controller to do that. Priced at $249, it is quite reasonable. For live shows, the Rogue adds 12 hours of battery life and makes the QuNeo wireless. Picture yourself in the crowd, controlling the music or visuals. If you are looking for unique and truly customizable MIDI controllers, check out Keith McMillen Instruments on their website.
Keith
monoprice

MonoPrice


People in the know go to MonoPrice for their cables. By manufacturing everything themselves, the markup is much lower than retail stores and the quality is often higher. Basically, you can get Monster Cable quality for one third the prices. Not to sound like an advertisement, but the sheer volume of adapters, converters (I found a VGA to component there at a price much lower than anywhere else), and cables rivals any other site on the web. So imagine my surprise walking by their booth and seeing a full line of DJ gear on display. Their 4 Channel DJ Battle Mixer looks just like a Pioneer 800 or 900 with FX and USB and was priced at $199. The All-In-One DJ System had dual CD decks, played off USB sticks and acted as a MIDI controller at a price of $289. The 2 channel DJ mixer with USB was under $50. Though I am not a light guy, their mobile-friendly LED lights and effects looked really good. I played with the All-in-One unit and it felt solid and very responsive though I am hoping to get my hands on one to really do a full on test with. For DJs starting out who don't want to spend a lot of money on gear, MonoPrice is definitely on the list of places to go.




The StudioDome1


As Nashvillian Meghan Trainor sings, it really is "All About the Bass." Since I have an older car with a crappy sound system, I've been looking for a bluetooth speaker with quality sound, great low-end, and a full range of sound. Going to the stores, I just haven't found one I liked. I heard the StudioDome1 and I was tempted to impulse buy (unfortunately, you can''t buy stuff at trade shows). The little guy is smaller than a soda can and feels really solid. The subwoofer is strong and sounds much more full than you would imagine in a speaker of this size. I connected my phone to it and it felt like I was listening to a monitor speaker at the club - that volume and range of sound. For me, the sound quality is what I was mostly looking for. Then, holding it, I saw that it also works as a hand free cell phone (so put it in your car cup holder and it's all-in-one), plays SD cards, and has an FM radio. Another cool feature is that you can network multiple units to build a full home stereo system. Basically, it's a portable speaker with a swiss army knife mentality. Check out the website here.



studiodome
micconnect


 Griffin Technology


Last year at NAMM, I saw the pre-release demo of the DJ Connect and it blew me away. I got one to play with and yes, it is a game changing sound card for iPad and iPhone DJs. With two separate stereo outputs, it allows you to monitor with headphones as a cue and send a stereo RCA output (a major upgrade from previous cables that would split the stereo audio signal to two separate mono outputs.) Stopping by the booth this year, I was intrigued by MicConnect and StudioConnect. The MicConnect turns an iPad into a portable podcasting booth with a high quality XLR microphone. With gain control and phantom power, it basically makes it possible to record professional vocals anywhere. StudioConnect makes an iPad the center of a portable studio with multiple inputs (1/4" mono, 3.5mm stereo, and MIDI) which can all be recorded in real time. The audio can be monitored through a headphone jack or a stereo output. There is also a new HD version coming with HD recording, 2 XLR instrument inputs, USB and 5-pin MIDI in.out and phantom power. For those who like to record on the go, both of these are great options worth investigating. Check out the website here.











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