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NAMM Doubles Down on Pro Audio

It’s the dawn of a new era for Pro Audio at NAMM, as the convention opens a new wing dedicated to pro audio manufacturers and introduces a variety of educational offerings like [email protected], the A3E Summit and more.

The 2018 NAMM Show gets a new look this year with more floor space, the inaugural [email protected] Pro Sound Symposium: Live & Studio and a new education and professional development campus. The show, which reportedly attracts 100,000 attendees from 139 countries annually, takes place Jan. 25-28, 2018 in Anaheim, Calif.

The most noticeable change, no doubt, will be Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) North. The new construction expands the ACC’s total floor area by 20 percent, adding 200,000 square feet of multipurpose space, half of which—on the top level—is column-free. For comparison, Hall A, traditionally hosting most of the pro audio exhibitors, is approximately 146,000 sq. ft. ACC North is next to the arena and behind the Hilton Hotel, with its front door on Katella Avenue, and is connected to the existing facility via a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge on Level Two.

NAMM organizers noted in a Sep. 26, 2017, announcement that companies including Avid, Harman, QSC, Shure, Sennheiser, Pioneer, Roland/BOSS/V-MODA, Electro Voice, Yorkville and Presonus had booked space on Levels One and Two in ACC North. A quick glance at the current floor plan shows that virtually the entire pro audio community will be exhibiting in the new venue.

This year’s show also sees the rollout of a new education and training program from the Audio Engineering Society, [email protected], that targets working professionals in the live sound, recording and performance audio communities. [email protected]’s Education Campus will occupy 20 rooms on the fourth floor of the Hilton, facing the Grand Plaza.

Symposium sessions will include day-long DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Academy and Live Sound Console Academy courses of manufacturer-based training in eight of the rooms. Half-day morning and afternoon Line Array Loudspeaker System Academy sessions will be held in a bank of six classrooms plus a spacious system setup area.

Adamson, Bose Professional and EAW, with others reportedly to be added, are participating in the Line Array Academy. QSC and Yamaha are supporting the Live Mixing Console Academy, and Lectrosonics and Sennheiser are supporting the Entertainment Wireless Academy. Manufacturers involved with the Studios Academy, which will take place in three separate studio environments, include Apogee, DigiGrid, Focal, Genelec, Meyer Sound Laboratories and Waves.

Participation in [email protected] sessions is an additional cost, with limited seating secured through advance registration. Attendees can purchase single-session tickets, or half-day or whole-day badges. Anyone registering for [email protected] will additionally receive a NAMM Show badge with full access to all exhibits and other activities. Academy trainees will receive a Certificate of Attendance to confirm their participation in training and educational sessions.

The AES presence at NAMM will also include papers and workshops, and will additionally include daily sessions in Spanish and Mandarin, which will be accommodated in a separate room.

NAMM’s new education and professional development programming will also be hosted principally on the fourth floor of the Hilton, as well as in the ACC at the NAMM Idea Center, in the Hall C Lobby, and the NAMM Member Center, in the Hall B Lobby. Session tracks include Music Business, Music Educators and Students, Music Retail, and Policy and Nonprofits.

Also on the fourth floor of the Hilton, a program of sessions curated by the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) will offer four different education tracks: lighting, lighting networking, rigging and safety.

A new area of the show is additionally being transformed into a showcase where attendees will reportedly be able to test-drive new products. Lighting, rigging, DJ, sound, special effects and staging products and services will all be featured in what is described as “a completely controlled atmosphere.”

NAMM has bundled more than 70 free sessions for sound, studio and stage professionals into its TEC Tracks program. And on opening day, yours truly will join a TEC Tracks panel of pro audio journalists organized by Dan Daley that also includes George Peterson and Mike Molenda and promises to be unique and informative.