2012 Winter NAMM Show Report Mike Rivers ©2012 http://www.mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com Anaheim, California January 19-22 2012 After a couple of years of NAMM shows where the buzz was about how much smaller the show was, how the industry was down, and how there were few new innovative products, it was nice to see this year’s show start on a positive note. It seemed that everyone was doing better and was enthusiastic, ready to show and ready to buy. NAMM covers a lot of ground and I don’t – my report, as always, focuses on pro audio products with a sprinkling of things that aren’t directly audio related but are potentially useful in the studio or on the stage. You won’t read about new synths, pianos, saxophones, drums, guitars, or basses here, but there’s a sprinkling of unusual instruments that tickled my fancy. Let’s press on! Mixers and Consoles In the world of desktop and now handheld devices, there was no shortage of new mixers, some traditional, some with a decidedly new twist or two. The Yamaha 01V, introduced in 1998, was one of the first digital consoles that was at home both price- and feature-wise in the emerging project and home studio based around the digital multitrack tape recorders of the time. In 2003 it got a facelift and sample rate upgrade as the 01V96, and in 2012, has been updated again as the 01V96i. Perhaps the most significant update for the DAW user who still wants a console is the addition of a USB 2.0 port that provides 16 recording outputs and 16 playback returns as well as bi-directional MIDI for DAW control, and interface with the included 01V96i Editor application that gives a full view of the console setup on a Mac or Windows computer, allows storage and loading of the complete setup, as well as off-line editing of all settings. The 12 XLR mic inputs sport new cleaner and quieter preamps. In addition to the standard 3-band fully parametric equalizer in two flavors, compressor/limiter, and gate on each channel, there’s a set of modeling plug-in effects and processors including analog tape decks, classic compressors and equalizers, as well as a couple of stomp boxes plus reverb from the Yamaha SPX-2000 series stand alone reverb units. There’s 8-channel ADAT optical input and output, coax S/PDIF out of the box, word clock in and out, and the full line of YGDAI expansion cards available for more I/O and alternate formats such AES/EBU, MADI, CobraNet, EtherSound, Dante, and Aviom multi-channel network protocols. The 16 full length (100 mm) faders are motor-driven so they jump into place when you select a preset or switch layers, as well as follow MIDI automation data sent from a recorder or DAW. The basic physical layout and user interface remains the same, so either you already know it, you’ll love it, or you’ll hate it. DAW control templates are included for Pro Tools, Nuendo, and Cubase, as well as full MIDI control for integration (with a little work on your part) with other DAWs. The 01V96i is a very capable and flexible mixer with a long history. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/live_sound/mixers/digitalmixers/01v96i/?mode=series# The Yamaha budget priced MG series mixers now have a new tier, the MGP. The basic functionality and straightforward operation of the MG remains, but the MGP has new mic preamps, a new equalizer section utilizing what Yamaha’s dubbed Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) to emulate the EQ curves of their higherend mixers. There’s a single knob compressor on every input channel, two digital effect processors, USB stereo input and output, and an I/O connector for an iOS device which can be used for playback and (I think) recording of the main stereo output. The stereo bus has some DSP that looks like it’s targeted to conference applications – a ducker that can assign priority to a single mic input channel, a volume leveler, and a stereo field width adjustment. The chassis is steel, it’s rack-mountable, and has an internal power supply. These come in two sizes, the MGP-12X and –16X with twelve and sixteen channels respectively (some are line-only so check your requirements!) http://usa.yamaha.com/products/live_sound/mixers/analogmixers/mgp/?mode=series# The Behringer X32 digital console has been brewing for the past two years and it’s now just about done. It’s quite a bit different from today’s crop of budget priced digital consoles, which, in my opinion is a good thing. Unlike most of the digital consoles on the market today which are designed primarily for live sound and tend to be a bit skimpy when it comes to studio recording, the X32 seems like it’s pretty well equipped to do both tasks competently. It has 24 motorized long throw faders arranged in two groups on opposite sides of a center section, but they’re all completely assignable. Each fader has a dedicated color LCD that shows its currently assigned function, which can change, of course, when switching banks, and which can have a text label describing the source. The top left section of the panel is dedicated to channel strip controls which are active for the selected channel. Essential controls are implemented with knobs, but you can get to more detail by popping up a screen on the built-in color TFT display. One thing that I think I might find a bit inconvenient is that rather than having level, frequency, and bandwidth controls for each EQ band, there’s one set of controls with a set of buttons to switch them between the six EQ bands. While each of the rotary encoders have an indicator of its current position, you need to look at the screen in order to see the numeric settings. Perhaps this is good, encouraging you to mix with your ears rather than presetting numbers you expect will be right. I can support that philosophy, but not everyone will be comfortable with it. There are a bunch of effect processors built in. A nice feature is that they aren’t limited to send-return routing, but alternatively can be patched in line with a channel as an insert processor. This is useful for things like amplifier simulators or a flange or chorus effect that you’re only going to use on a single channel. Channels can be linked in odd-even pairs, as can auxiliary buses, for example, to create stereo headphone feeds. Each channel has a dedicated smallish but functional level meter with a pair of large LED ladder meters for the main outputs. There are 8 mute groups and 8 DCA (digitally controlled attenuator) groups that works like VCAs on an analog console. You can link channel levels together using the DCA groups, or you can do it analog style with subgroup buses if you wish. DCAs work fine for mixdown, but if you want to feed your subwoofers from an independent bus or compress the drums overall, the subgroup buses allow you to do that. The 16 output buses can be assigned to whatever function you want – mains, subgroups, or auxiliaries. In addition, there’s AES/EBU and AES50 outputs (Klark-Technik, currently keeper-of-the-keys for AES 50, is under the same corporate umbrella as Behringer), Firewire outputs for both channel direct outputs and buses, and ADAT optical I/O. The X32 also integrates with the Behringer P-16 personal monitoring system that allows individual players to create custom monitor mixes with no iPhones required, though iDevice remote control is in the “not ready yet” stack of features to come. There is, however, an iPhone cradle (not a connected dock) at the lower right of the top panel to keep it handy if you need to Tweet during a show. I’d probably best stop here before this starts to sound like a review, which it isn’t, because I haven’t spent nearly enough time with it. Perhaps I will after it ships. I can tell you, though, that this is a very flexible console, but, as you might suspect, flexibility comes at a price of convenience some times. There are a few ways of accessing some functions, only one way to access others, and the control surface is large enough so that, at least on first impression, thing are spread around in ways that made me have to look twice to find what I’m looking for. Still, there’s a lot here for this price, which is under $3,000. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=A400 Mackie has been in and out of the digital mixing console business for about 15 years now and they certainly know the ins and outs of it. This year they’ve jumped back in with the DL1608 sixteen channel digital mixer. I thought I’d scream if I saw one more product with the claim “… and you can control it remotely from your iPad . . . “ but for this product I had to restrain myself because an iPad is integral to the design. The DL1608 looks and connects like a conventional mixer, but its only hardware controls are the input gain trims on the top panel and AC and phantom power switches on the back. The top surface is slanted like a mixing console, providing a mounting tray and dock for the iPad. The iPad, running a custom Mackie app, serves as the control surface and user interface, which saves Mackie a heap of money both in design and manufacturing. It’s only a controller, however - mixing and all other signal processing is handled by the mixer itself. The iPad need not be docked in order to operate the mixer, but the mixer needs at least one iPad with the app running in order to be able to mix. On the iPad, you get a fader view, auxiliary sends, a “channel strip” view which controls the EQ, compressor, and gate offered on every input channel. There are also two effect processors, and a set of pre-programmed channel presets that serve as starting points for typical sources. Graphic EQ is available on the main and all aux buses. The DL1608 It has 16 mic inputs with Onyx preamps and globally switched phantom power. All of the channel inputs are on XLR connectors, with the last 4 channels using XLR-TRS combo jacks for those who need some ¼” holes. A bit surprisingly, there isn’t a high impedance instrument DI input or two. The preamp gain controls have sufficient range to cover line levels so with the proper cables, you can use more than 4 line level sources. Outputs are left and right main mix and 4 mono auxiliaries. When the iPad is plugged into the docking connector, you get a 17th fader for stereo playback (backing track or break music) of audio stored on the iPad. Of course there’s remote control and support for multiple iPads (up to 10 I think). The application in the version on display here at the show still had a few unfinished features, one being quick access to the aux send faders, another being the full implementation of the remote iPad “permissions” and probably a few more, but those will be in place when it’s released (currently projected for June). While it’s not my favorite way of operating a mixing console, everything that I saw worked and was pretty intuitive. There are a few cute things like icons that you can use to identify channels in lieu of text names, and you can even display a photo (stored on the iPad) as the channel label. Most of what Mackie designs starts off with price being a primary design parameter. I expect that adding a couple of Dis with the independent input circuit, switching, and jacks would have busted the $999 price point, so you’ll have to bring your own DIs if you need ‘em. And if you don’t already have an iPad, it’s a $1500 mixer, though Mackie is quick to point out that 5 million people have iPads and at least some of them need mixers. To get the most out of this mixer, you’ll also need to set up a WiFi access point (which could be a $15 wireless router) and connect it to the Ethernet jack on the mixer. It’s going to be necessary to understand a bit about computer networking technology, but Mackie expect that the users who want to have iPads scattered about will already have some experience in setting up a wireless network. This brings to mind a favorite quote of mine from John Watkinson: "Today's production equipment is IT based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." When I was working at Mackie in 2000-2001, I never really warmed up to their d8b digital console, but when I see most digital consoles today, I can’t help think “Why didn’t they do that like the d8b did?” – there was a lot in the d8b that made a lot of sense and it’s good to see that Mackie didn’t throw that all in the dumpster, but retained some of the good user interface features that they designed more than 10 years ago. Digital processing has changed a lot in that period, but human brains still work pretty much the same way. http://www.mackie.com/products/dl1608/about-the-dl1608/ While PreSonus didn’t introduce any new mixers this year, they showed a couple of long awaited features for the StudioLive series - QMix, an iPhone app to control auxiliary mixes, and integration of a subset of the Smaart analysis software from Rational Acoustics into the Universal Control companion application for the StudioLive. In addition, the StudioLive Remote iPad app has been enhanced with track naming, tap delay setting, and access to effects muting from the master page as well as from the effects page. Also new in the Universal Control mixer application software are permissions for remote iPods and iPads so that only designated mixes can be controlled from a given remote, naming of auxiliary buses so names show up on the remotes as “Keyboards” or “Joe,” and (speaking of good ideas in the Mackie d8b) the ability to copy the main mix or an auxiliary mix to an auxiliary mix, which should save a lot of time setting up custom monitor mixes. I don’t know if they listened to me, but this was a feature that I was lobbying for since I reviewed the StudioLive a couple of years back. Crowding a whole StudioLive on an iPhone screen is a little silly (at least I think so) but adjusting a monitor mix right from the stage is a function that can sensibly fit on an iPhone, so that's what the new QMix application offers. To prevent one player from inadvertently changing another's mix, the updated Universal Control application for the mixer (required for QMix) allows each iPhone to control one and only one auxilary mix. With the phone held horizontally, you get a screen of sliders, 8 at a time, with text labels if you've bothered to enter them. Turn the phone vertically and you get what they call the "Wheel of Me." This is really clever. The display is two vertical bars to indicate the level of a selected submix of channels (which can be one channel for "MORE ME") and the level of all the other channels in the aux mix. Between them is the "wheel" which adjusts the balance between ME and the rest of the mix by sliding a finger up or down on that area of the display. As you turn it up, you get more ME. If you continue to try to turn ME up when it's at maximum, the level of the rest of the channels drops. This is kind of a sneaky way of teaching the users that if something isn't loud enough in the mix, consider turning something else down. The new version of the iPad app and Qmix are available now (free) from the Apple App store. The Smaart integration has a way to go yet and is expected to be ready before Summer. What was working at the show was a scrolling spectrogram display with the intent that feedback will appear as a single frequency and in a bright color so you’ll be able to identify the feedback frequency and grab an equalizer knob to tame it. The initial release version is expected to include an RTA (frequency vs. amplitude) display as well as an implementation of what I think is the most important feature of Smaart, the ability to time align speakers and live-to-speaker sound. http://www.presonus.com/products/SoftwareDetail.aspx?SoftwareId=48 (Qmix) The last couple of consoles I reported on from Allen & Heath have been analog recording consoles with digital I/O. This year they’ve added a new digital console primarily aimed toward live applications where a smaller and less expensive console than their iLive series is called for. The GLD (digital version of the long standing GL series) borrows from both the GL and iLive, offering up to 48 inputs assignable to 30 buses (aux, subgroup, matrix, effects, and main) which can be routed to 20 outputs with 16 mute/DCA groups. The 20 faders are split in two sections of 12 and 8, and there are four layers for each group. Like the Behringer X32, the faders can be assigned to anything, so you can have a layer of 8 aux sends that stays put while you switch the 12 other faders through layers of up to 48 inputs. A dedicated “channel strip” offers controls for EQ, compression, gating, high pass filter, mic preamp gain/pad/polarity/phantom power, and routing. A color touch screen offers a visual display and access to all functions, and a color (switchable) display for each fader labels its function. There are a handful of connectors on the mixer’s rear panel, but the main audio I/O comes from a remote stage box connected to the mixer with up to 120 meters of Cat 5 cable. There are a couple of versions of the I/O box, the standard system providing 4 XLR inputs and 4 XLR outputs on the mixer and 24 XLR inputs and 12 XLR outputs on the remote box. There’s a smattering of stereo digital I/O The remote box has an Aviom personal monitor mixer output as well as an Ethernet port for up to two 8 in by 4 out smaller expander boxes (which can be used on their own if you don’t need the big box. A USB flash drive can store all presets and scenes as well as record and play audio files. A selection of option cards provides connectivity to Dante, EtherSound, MADI, and a multi-digital output including 24 ADAT optical outputs, Aviom, or HearBack monitor systems. http://www.allenheath.com/UK/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=GLDSeries&ProductI d=GLD80&SubCatId= Line 6, long known for their guitar amplifier modeling systems, has taken a leap into live sound, and in a pretty novel way. They had two goals in designing the Stagescape system, one to simplify the setup and mixing process for the novice, the other to make the system scaleable so that as you need a larger system, you can just add more speakers. The system includes the M20d mixer, L3t three-way powered speaker system, and L3s subwoofer. Mix and match, use as much or as little as you need. The L3t speaker (input and control panel shown at the left), probably the most basic system component, has a built-in mixer with two combo XLR mic/instrument inputs, an XLR line input, and stereo RCA input, a 3-band EQ, an acoustic guitar modeler to reduce the “quack” of some piezo pickups, a feedback suppressor, and an effect processor. With the speaker standing vertically, it has a fairly broad horizontal radiation pattern with a narrow vertical pattern, controlled by an internal processor that adjusts the amplitude and phase of the audio fed to the speakers in the array. Lay it down on its angled side (it detects the orientation automatically, just like an iPhone) and it changes the radiation pattern to serve as a monitor, narrowing it in along the long dimension of the array and spreading it from the floor upward to standing height. Connect a second speaker through the proprietary linking system and the mono mix of instruments and mics (you can plug more into the second speaker) remains mono but if you’re using the stereo input or a stereo effect, those come out the pair of speakers in stereo. The M20d mixer comes into play when you need more inputs, more outputs, and more control. It has 12 mic/line inputs, four line-only inputs, 2 main and 4 monitor outputs. I can’t resist calling this the Mixer for Dummies, though it’s really quite sophisticated. As soon as an input is plugged in, it’s detected, and its channel pops up on the touch screen. You can name the channel and assign an icon to it to display it on screen as an instrument or mic. Touching any input icon brings up a full screen display given you access to EQ, aux (monitor) send levels, and effects in a simplified mode (drag an icon toward “Bright” boosts the highs, for example) or you can select the Tweak display mode, the icon for which is a mortarboard hat, and you get a more detailed display of each selected parameter. Each mic input has its own multi-band feedback suppressor, which is the preferred way of doing it rather than applying EQ to a full mix. The whole system networks intelligently, and with the addition of a wireless router, mixes can be remotely controlled from an iPad. The 16 direct (pre-EQ/FX) inputs plus the main stereo mix can be recorded in 24-bit resolution direct to an SD memory card, USB memory stick, or direct to a computer via USB 2.0. Another clever feature is a quick way to record a 20 second loop of any selected input so you can play it back to work on EQ tweaks. It takes a while to get the hang of what the pictures mean, but the point is that the user doesn’t need to know what’s going on internally, he just drags things around on the screen in ways that make pretty good sense. http://line6.com/stagescape-m20d/ Personal Monitor Systems In addition to all of the mixers that offer remote control for monitor mixing, personal multi-channel monitor mixing systems were still in abundance. I can’t help but wonder where these things are going, and where they’ll stop. The basic idea is that the players on stage, mostly likely using in-ear monitor phones, can fine tune their own mix on stage. They probably don’t really expect much more than levels to give them more of what they want to hear and less of what they don’t, but the new breed includes three band EQ on each channel and the feature set goes on from there. Is this getting too complicated for Mamba MIX is a new company with a modular system design. There are two versions of the input module, the MMX16M with 16 mic/line inputs and the MMX16L with 16 line-only inputs. The mix is controlled remotely with an iPad. The somewhat unfinished version on display required a wireless router or access point to talk to the iPad, but the final version will have that function built in. The line-only input module can take its inputs from a mixer’s direct outputs. Alternatively, you can feed it from the main mixer’s channel insert jacks. It includes 8 insert pass-throughs so, with some careful planning, you’ll probably be able ot work it out so that you have inserts available on the channels where you need them. The input box with the mic preamps is a little different and it’s really designed to be used in conjunction with a mic splitter. Should you want to get the preamp outputs back to the house mixer, you’ll need an expansion box that connects to the MMX16M via an Ethernet cable. It’s a pretty complete mixer, with each channel having a 3 band EQ and four independent stereo output buses. Scenes can be stored, and up to (I think) four iPads can connect to the mixer, with each one password protected so it can control only one mix. It’s a bit pricey though. The version with the mic preamps is about $3K, the line input module and the expander are about $2K. http://www.mambamix.com/dev/ Pivitec is another new monitor mixing system that uses an iPad or iPhone for the control panel, a 16-channel input box, and a personal mixer box. The input box has 16 balanced line level inputs with pass-throughs. Its Cat5 output goes to an Ethernet switch, which distributes the 16 inputs (or 32 if you have two input boxes) to multiple personal headphone amplifier units. The headphone box includes a 32 channel mixer with three band EQ on each channel, 3 band EQ and limiter on the stereo output. There’s a local line input on the box for connecting a metronome or, I suppose, you could listen to a ball game or an MP3 player. http://www.pivitec.com/ Mics and Preamps History lesson time for the uninitiated. in the mid 1950s MGM engineer Stanley Church custom built a set of microphones for for in-house use. He used a Neumann M7 capsule and designed electronics around a 6072 tube, creating a mic that had characteristics of the Neumann U47 and AKG C12. There were only about 200 of these mics built (movie studios had a LOT of microphones) and the originals, known as the CineMic, have become legends and collectable. Pearlman Microphones has accurately re-creasted the original "Church" microphone using a Blue Line M7 capsule with the original PVC diaphragm supplied by Thiersch Electroakustik (a former engineer and repair technician for Microtech Gefell GmbH). Dave Pearlman uses a new old stock (NOS) 6072 tube and he even got Triad to re-make the original transformer that was custom made to Church’s specifications. There are other modern versions of the Church mic, one from Telefunken (not sure what capsule they use) years now, and there’s also one from Tab-Funkenwerk using a Thiersch Red Line M7 capsule with the modern mylar diaphragm. Also new from Pearlman is the TM-250, an accurate re-creation of the Telefunken 250 using an AKG C12 type capsule made by Tim Campbell in Denmark. http://pearlmanmicrophones.com/ We can always count on Blue Microphones, when they come up with something new, to come up with something different as well. They’ve always had their own approach to design, both functional and visual. They have a couple of new mics that fit more into the pro audio realm, so here we have the Tiki, another USB microphone, but this one is constructed such that it plugs directly into a laptop computer’s USB port which is typically on one of the side edges. This puts the mic in a good position for things like podcasts and Skype calls, though it comes along with a cradle and “extension cord” for use with computers that don’t have side-mounted USB ports. The thing that makes this mic special is that it contains some DSP, controllable from a pop-up window, that offers what they call “Intelligent Speech Mode” and “Natural Recording Mode.” The speech mode provides background noise cancellation, but unlike the noise canceling communications mics or a pair of mics taped together and summed with the polarity inverted like the Grateful Dead used in the Wall of Sound tour which require talking very close in order to get the full cancellation effect, the Tiki is able to steer its directivity by adjusting the phase and amplitude of its two capsules. This keeps the voice up front, and the background noise pretty well attenuated. It has the ability to “track” the position of the voice so you can be some distance away and have some freedom of movement and still get respectable background noise reduction. It also uses some intelligent muting to suppress key clicks if you’re typing while talking or recroding, as well as reducing fan noise by the same (I guess) technology used for continuous noise reduction in iZotope’s RX-2 Restore program – since iZotope was one of their partners in crime for this one. Also new from Blue is the Spark Digital mic. This is a version of the studio grade Spark bottle-style condenser mic introduced last year which offers, instead of the old boring XLR connector, a USB interface as well as a direct Apple 30-pin interface to an iPad for direct recording into Garage Band or any other application. It comes with an adjustable shock mount desk stand and cables including a split on the Apple cable to provide a headphone jack for playback. The mic has a gain control ahead of the A/D converter for optimizing the record level without clipping the preamp stage. http://www.bluemics.com Colin Broad designed a number of classic audio products for Audio & Design Recording back in the 1970s including the Vocal Stressor, PanScan, and A&DR’s Scamp line of modules. He was sharing a booth with Wes Dooley’s Audio Engineering Associates (the ribbon mic folks) and showing a new four channel remote controlled preamp that Wes likes a lot. The CB Electronics MA-104 provides up to 69 dB of gain for mic inputs and up to 42 dB of gain on an independent set of line inputs. Maximum output power of +26 dBm. There’s a front panel gain control with a display for the current gain settings. Remote gain control control is via MIDI over USB or RS-422 with a stand-alone application for gain adjustment or direct plug-and-play with Pro Tools. CB has a number of time code and remote controller products in his catalog, but this appears to be his first analog design as an independent company and he’s planning a line of A/D and D/A converters and monitor controllers. http://www.colinbroad.com/ (no info on the mic preamp there yet) Computer Audio Interfaces and Connectivity Universal Audio’s Apollo was a hot item around a few forums. This is their new high quality audio I/O interface which integrates a lot of the company’s designs and adds a couple of new twists. It provides four mic preamps, 8 channels of analog I/O, 8 channels of optical I/O, stereo S/PDIF, two front panel mounted high impedance DI inputs, and a couple of pairs of outputs dedicated to control room monitoring and headphones. They come up with a count of 18-in/24-out distributed among a plethora of connectors. Computer I/O is on Firewire 800 with a slot for an optional Thunderbolt port when your computer is ready for it. Both the Thunderbolt option card and Thunderbolt availability for Windows are predicted for the Summer of 2012. Until then, it’s Mac compatible. Windows 7 support will come along with the Thunderbolt option. The box is built around UA's classic line of analog and digital designs (no claims of “all new” preamps or converters). The thing that takes Apollo ahead of the rest of the pack is that it includes the ability to run UA's powered plug-ins via a built-in UAD-2 DSP co-processor. The big deal that they’re pushing here is that you can use the plug-ins real time during recording. For example, you could get their Studer plug-in and pretend that you’re recording through a Studer recorder. This is contrary to the usual DAW way of recording as transparently as possible and then mucking it up during the mixing process so the idea may turn a few heads. On the other hand, it might bring some folks around to simply making an equipment choice (a good one, this, for sure) and working with it. Apollo ships with the UAD 1176, LA-2A, and Pultec EQ-1A plug-ins to get you started, and of course there are plenty more UAD powered plug-ins available. You can get it with two or four DSP processors depending on your needs and budget. $2,000 for the dual processor model, $2,500 for the quad model. http://www.uaudio.com/apollo The new RME Fireface UCX is the latest in a family of half-rack sized computer I/O interfaces in the Fireface series. It’s essentially a UFX scaled back in size and number of inputs and outputs, offering two mic/line/instrument inputs, 8 analog line level inputs and outputs, S/PDIF coax or optical I/O, 8 channel ADAT optical I/O, and word clock in and out. Computer connectivity includes both Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 compatible with a USB3 port (though it still only runs at USB2 speed). The Fireface UCX offers a classcompliant USB mode for up to 24bit 96 kHz recording to an iPad through the Apple Camera Connection Kit or other compliant USB adapter. It will even do multitrack recording in this mode if the app supports it. A basic remote control included with the interface provides a big knob for monitor volume control plus a couple of buttons for level storage and recall and programmable access to functions in the included TotalMix FX software application. An optional remote control with additional programmable buttons is available. I love RME’s straightforward and honest attitude toward Firewire vs. USB. Question: “What is better, USB or Firewire? Answer: “Depends on your specific system. Just try it.” http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_fireface_ucx.php TASCAM has been busy in the “i” world too, introducing the iU2, which is essentially a TASCAM US-144 built into a smaller and lighter case and equipped with an idocking connector (as well as a standard USB port). In an attempt to make it as small as possible, the line and mic inputs, which can provide 48v phantom power, are on ¼” jacks, though the kit includes a pair of short XLR adapter cables. There’s also S/PDIF coax and MIDI in and out (on mini phone jacks, with adapter cables supplied) and an a high impedance instrument input jack. There’s a control for blending the direct input signal with computer playback for true zero latency input monitoring when tracking and overdubbing, though you’ll still have to deal with monitor latency when playing a virtual instrument unless you’re playing from a keyboard that can provide a “placeholder” sound for monitoring during recording. Because it’s so tiny, the rear panel is festooned with switches, but most of these aren’t ones that you’ll need to access frequently. Just don’t forget that they exist. http://tascam.com/product/iu2/ DigiCo has been including a MADI interface with their digital live sound consoles for a while now. This show they introduced a pocket-sized MADIto-USB converter, making it simple to record up to 48 channels from any MADI source to a fairly basic computer. A couple of years ago, Prism Sound’s SADiE LRX2 location recording system proved to us that USB2 is up to the task of recording and playback of 48 channels, so here’s one more entry into the game. The DigiCo UB►MADI interface is about the size of a cigarette pack with BNC In and Out connectors on one end and a USB connector on the other, providing bidirectional transfer of 48 channels up to 24 bits at 96 kHz sample rate. It comes with an ASIO driver and is compatible with Windows and Apple Core Audio. Price is around $1500, which make it an economical way of capturing live audio from a console with MADI direct outputs. http://www.digico.biz/docs2/products/UB_MADI.shtml Recorders and Recording Devices TASCAM showed a couple of almost ready new products, the DP-24, a replacement for the 2488 24 track Portastudio. The new model records to flash memory and has a color touch screen as well as dedicated controls for the usual channel strip functions. It can record up to 8 inputs simultaneously at 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate at 24-bit resolution from its eight XLR combo jacks. It has the usual complement of effect processors for mixdown including some amplifier simulators. A CD burner is included for those who still have friends with traditional sound systems and for checking out your mix in your car. http://tascam.com/product/dp-24/ TASCAM’s DR-V1HD hand held video recorder (this one was still under plastic, hands-off) has a feature that’s particularly attractive to me – the mic and lens assembly rotates 180 degrees so you can shoot a video of yourself and watch what you’re doing. Coming soon. The R26 is Roland’s most recent entry in the portable flash memory recorder market. Over the past several years they’ve had both handhelds designed for grab-and-go recording as well as multichannel small tabletop recorders for professional applications. The R26 blurs the line, being a handheld recorder, though a fairly hefty one, but offering such professional features as up to 6 track recording, omni and crossed-cardioid mics, 96 kHz sample rate, combo XLR-1/4” input connectors for external mic and line sources, and a touch screen display for setup and file operations, with the most common controls being dedicated knobs and buttons. A few interesting features are: A voice memo function that allows you to quickly add a 30 second audio “note” to an existing recording to remind you of what it is, a file “repair” function that might save a corrupt file (I don’t know what it does, nor did the guy who was showing me around the recorder), and playback speed adjustment from 50% to 150%. The manual is required reading for this one in order to find your way to the correct submenu sometimes. For example, I couldn’t figure out how to switch between the cardioid and X-Y mics, or even how to tell which set was active. When I finally asked for help, the Roland guy blundered through menus for a couple of minutes before finding the one where that selection is made (and you can select to use both). It sort of made sense once we found it, but you have to know that it’s there. Also, there are two record level knobs, but they’re not for left and right channels, they’re both stereo controls, one for the internal mics, the other for external mic or line inputs or the mini stereo jack with plug-in power for an external “consumer” mic. There’s a USB interface for file transfer and for direct recording (using the recorder like a USB mic), and it’s bundled with a copy of Sonar LE. http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=1178&ParentId =109 Signal Processors and Controllers Dangerous Music introduced their first non-rack-mounted product, the Dangerous Source monitor controller designed specifically for field recording. It’s the perfect size to fit underneath a 13” laptop controller and has outputs for two sets of powered speakers, one on XLRs, the other on ¼” jacks. Either set of speakers can be selected or one pair of outputs can be used with a subwoofer by selecting both outputs simultaneously. There are two front panel headphone jacks with independent speaker and headphone volume controls. There are two pairs of analog line level inputs, one on combo XLR jacks, the other (consumer level) on a mini stereo phone jack. There’s an AES/EBU input, and a USB input for playback directly off the computer. Dangerous’ rack mount monitor controller has a really excellent D/A converter and I trust this one follows in those footsteps. http://www.dangerousmusic.com (no info on the web for this one yet) Electrodyne is an old company name, manufacturing a line of well respected consoles in the late 1960s. The name and circuit designs have been revived with first products being a version of the Electrodyne console mic preamp and equalizer in 500-series modules. At this show, the new Electrodyne has introduced the RC-3 Channel Strip, a 2 rack space unit that incorporates the Electrodyne 501 mic preamp and 511 equalizer circuitry combined with an 1176-style FET compressor. http://www.petesplaceaudio.com/electrodyne.html Software I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to software because I don’t have a compelling need to keep up. I have what I need and it still works. So at shows, I usually breeze through the booths, smiling and nodding, unless someone calls my attention to something particularly interesting. What brought me to the Waves booth was a couple of announcements for things coming soon. Waves V9 will offer across the board 64-bit support for all plug-ins. That’s going to make a lot of folks happy. But the big deal there is that they’re ditching the iLok license in favor of a new activation and licensing system that you can authorize directly to your computer or carry authorization on a USB drive for portability. It’s “cloud” based (I think that’s a fancy name for on-line registration and authorization) and they promise one-click license recovery in case your license-carrying device is lost or damaged. While I was there, I had a look at their new NLS (Non Linear Summing) plug-in. This is an attempt to model the distortion (non-linearity) of the analog summing bus of three famous consoles, a Neve 5116, an SSL 4000G, and the EMI console on which Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was recorded. I think the concept of taking a highly accurate digital recording and applying the “sorry, it’s the best we can do with the parts we can get and the budget we have” sonic character to it, but these things seem to do something that people like. There’s no info on the web site yet, but check in later and see what you think. http://www.waves.com Roland’s R-Mix is a new software application that can be used for a multitude of things that I'd broadly characterize as messing around with recorded music. If you've ever used a spectral editor, the concept will be familiar to you. A graphic display of the music currently playng shows pitch running from top to bottom, pan position from left to right, and volume by color. You can "lasso" an element in a mix and then start playing with it. You can adjust its level, adjust the level of everything else, add a reverb or delay effect, pan it to a different position in the mix, and save your work as a new file. There's also a noise reduction tool with presets for hiss, hum, wind, and air handling noise, and you can adjust pitch and speed of the playback. R-Mix seems to work best on lead vocals or solo instruments, or instruments with a limited range of pitch, and I can see it being useful for learning and woodshedding or making “music minus one” tracks. It's for both Windows and Mac, and there's also a simplified iPad version. http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=1176 Acoustics and Related Things We have MoPads and Recoil Stabilizers, and now IsoAcoustics brings us yet another vibration isolating stand for studio monitors. The ISO-L8R155 allows adjustment of both height and tilt of the speaker while mechanically isolating it to avoid coupling of low frequencies from the cabinet to the desk or table. The L8R155 fits most tabletop sized monitors, though there’s a larger and a smaller size to accommodate a range of popular speakers. The height can be set to either 3 or 8 inches above the table by assembling the parts using the long or short vertical supports supplied with the kit. Interchangeable end caps for the vertical tubes allow tilting the speaker platform slightly off horizontal to better aim the tweeters toward the listener. http://www.isoacoustics.com/ It seems that more and more companies are entering the field of easily installable acoustic treatment. Two new ones this year that showed designs a bit different from the typical foam wedges and glass fiber absorbers are Yamaha and Aural Sonic. The Yamaha acoustic panel design is sort of a cross between a resonant trap, a panel absorber, and a diffuser. Sandwiched between two fairly thin panels are a series of square tubes of varying length similar to the quadratic diffusers that are often attached to a studio or control room wall. The room side of the panel has several perforations to allow sound to enter the internal chambers where, presumably, the energy is absorbed or disbursed. They don’t have a very high absorption coefficient, but according to their graphs, it’s remarkably flat from 4 kHz down to 125 Hz. Because of where these were displayed in the Yamaha showroom, I suspect that their intent was for installation in school practice rooms rather than studios. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/soundproofing/acoustic_conditioning_panels/ac p-2_g/?mode=model If the Yamaha material is a sandwich, the Aural Sonic material is like an open face sandwich consisting of a dense fiber absorber attached to a thick flexible vinyl backing. Their mumbo-jumbo is about how when sound hits the panel, the compression wave is converted to a transverse wave where it is slowed down substantially by the absorbent material. Whatever gets out and is reflected back into the room is delayed, causing the room to sound like the walls are further away. However it works, it’s really effective and also, because of the thick dense backing, does a decent job of isolation. http://www.auralsonic.com/AS/Home.html American Recorder, an accessory company that’s a good resource for useful stuff, showed a new microphone anti- reflection baffle quite small, about 6 x 7 inches. Mounted close to the microphone, it’s big enough to give a little help in keeping reflections from a wall from getting into the rear of the mic, but without giving a sense of isolation. Also, and somewhat acoustics related, last time I checked the Radio Shack n line catalog, I was shocked to discover that they no longer carry a sound level meter. Theirs had been the standard for thousands of live sound engineers who had no need for a laboratory certified meter (though the Radio Shack meter was always pretty accurate) but just wanted to know when the sound level was getting into the danger zone. Sure enough, American Recorder sells a couple. Their mini SPL85C meter is about the equivalent to the Radio Shack digital SPL meter at about the same price, the SPL8810 is more expensive, more accurate, and conforms to IEC60651 which means you can probably use it to keep The Music Police happy. http://www.americanrecorder.com Technology Eminence is one of the major manufacturers of speakers used in instrument amplifiers, and a company that’s pretty hip to technology. A couple of years ago they came up with a speaker with an adjustable magnet assembly to vary the efficiency of the motor, allowing you to crank the amplifier without damaging the driver or the audience’s ears (assuming you stayed below the melting point of the voice coil). This year’s cool technology product from Eminence is D-Fend. It’s a circuit board assembly connected between the power amplifier and speaker that’s designed to protect the speaker in a different way than what’s usually done. It’s not uncommon, particularly in powered PA speakers and control room monitors, to have some sort of overload protection, perhaps a poly-fuse, a light bulb to limit current, or a compression circuit. D-Fend takes a different turn on this. It limits the current to the speaker by changing the load that the amplifier sees. When the power threshold is reached, D-Fend’s input impedance goes up. The result is that the amplifier actually delivers less power. Look at the specs for a power amplifier when driving 2, 4, 8, or 16 ohm loads and you’ll see what happens, or just do the Ohm’s Law calculations. Since the speaker always sees the same driving source (the D-Fend circuit board), raising load impedance on the amplifier side of the box doesn’t affect the speaker damping. That’s pretty clever. Also clever is that the electronics takes power from the incoming audio so there’s no need for a power supply. There’s a USB port on the board, and a computer application that allows you to configure a lot of different things. You can set a broadband power limit and be done with it, or, if it’s going into a 2- or 3-way box, you can define power limits for each frequency band. If you’re send a bass-heavy mix to a speaker and the woofer is in danger, the amplifier power will be reduced, saving the speaker, but still keeping the mix in balance. Same if something goes haywire and the tweeter is about to fry. At the moment, they’re looking for applications – manufacturers who want to build it into their cabinets or perhaps a manufacturer who wants to build it as a stand-alone box. They might do so themselves. http://www.eminence.com/d-fend/ Antares, the folks who brought us Auto-Tune, for better or worse, have partnered with Parker and Peavey to produce an automatic tuning electric guitar that’s all electronic and based on Antares’ pitch shifting technology, It consists of a small DSP board implementing the Auto-Tune process, which can be built into an electric guitar. Strum across the open strings, press a button, and the processor spits out each string in tune regardless of the physical tuning. The processor uses a polyphonic acoustic pickup so each string gets its own Auto-Tune processing. The output of the pickup itself doesn’t sound very much like what you’d expect from a guitar that looks like one of the models that was shown with the automatic tuning setup, so the processor also includes guitar modeling which turns the crummy pickup sound into something that sounds like it came from a guitar pickup. With the Peavey guitar that I played with, switching between the Auto-Tuned output and the pickup made very little difference in what I heard coming out of the amplifier. The technology allows for several models, so not only does your guitar stay in perfect tune, but it can sound like a variety of guitars. But what about bends and playing with a slide? It’s smart enough to figure that out. The SolidTune Intonation System constantly monitors the pitch of every note played and makes corrections to intonation but ignores bends and vibrato. You needn’t stick to standard tuning, either. You can tell it to put out any note for any open string, so you can program in your favorite off-brand tuning. You can also fool it for a quick tuning change by having a string fretted when you press the “tune it” button. For example, if you fret the 6th string at the second fret and tell it to tune, it will think that’s an E. Un-fret the string and it drops to a D and stays there until you tell the guitar to re-tune. If it works as well as I saw in a quick demo, it's really amazing. No, they don’t have an acoustic model (yet) nor is it available (yet) to install on a guitar that you own. Peavey says that their auto-tuning guitar which they expect to release in July 2012 will sell for “under $500.” The Parker models, which include more options than the basic Peavey, will be in the $3500 to $6000 price range depending on the guitar and options. http://guitar.auto-tune.com/index.shtml While we’re on the subject of guitars and technology, TC Electronic's Beam It! is a really clever marriage of new and old technology. This is an iGizmo application supporting their TonePrint pedals (described in my 2011 NAMM report) which allows you to load new TonePrints into your pedal directly from an iPhone/Pad/Pod Touch or Android device without a needing a computer and USB connection. The way it works brings to mind the old acoustic coupler modems that those of us older than the Internet used back in the dark ages. The TonePrint data gets encoded as a modulated tone which is stored as an MP3 file on the portable device. To load a new TonePrint, you just bring the speaker of your phone next to the pickup of your guitar with the guitar connected to the pedal. The bleeps and bloops "play" are coupled from the speaker to the pickup through magnetic induction. The output of the pickup which is connected to the pedal contains the data and instructions to load the new tone setup. That's a darn clever way to use an iPhone. The app is now available on the Apple iTunes store and the Android Market web sites. For direct links and a link to TonePrint, check: http://www.tcelectronic.com/toneprint-app.asp I keep looking for the first USB3 audio I/O box, but it’s not here yet. I had a chat with the Archwave folks who make one of the most popular USB and Firewire bridge chipsets asking if USB3 was in their plans. Nope, they said. Not enough demand to set up manufacturing for a new chip. Of course they’re not the only ones doing this, so someone might eventually come up with one, but most of the end product vendors are starting to look at AVB, MADI, AES-50 or Thunderbolt for getting multichannel audio in and out of computers in the next few years. Musical Stuff That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else Audio-Technica has been making fine phono cartridges for nigh on to 50 years, and has made a couple of turntables in the past, at least one for DJing and one for home listening. At this show, they introduced a new turntable That appears to be intended for DJ use but it looks like it might turn out to be a decent table for personal and semi-pro digital archiving because of the very complete feature set. It has a 3phase direct drive motor and covers the standard speeds off 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM with both coarse and fine speed adjustment. The tone arm is fully adjustable (it doesn’t come with a cartridge though A-T will happily help you choose one or two for your application), and the built-in preamp provides either both line-level RIAA equalized and phono cartridge level unequalized analog outputs plus USB (equalized, I’m sure though maybe you get a choice). http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/turntables/4351850e750a2f93/index.html Yamaha introduced a new series (currently consisting of two models) of instrument amplifier, the THR5 and THR10. These are intended to be played when you’re off stage, though I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them end up on stage or in the studio with a mic. They’re small and portable, the right size to take to the beach, or even keep on your desk. Both can be either AC or battery powered. The 10 is a bit larger than the 5 and has 5 user memory locations to save setups. Both use amplifier modeling to provide a range of tube amplifier sounds with the 10 adding a bass amp model, a model optimized for amplified acoustic guitar, and a clean flat response that can be used with instruments other than guitars. Both have two speakers so that stereo effects come out in stereo, there’s a USB port and analog auxiliary input for computer playback and backing tracks, and the USB port can be used for direct recording to a computer. It even has virtual tubes – an orange glow coming from the front grill. The THR amplifiers are bundled with Cubase AI and a computer-based editor for deeper editing of the models and effects than what you can do with the controls on the box. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/guitarsbasses/amps/thr/?mode=series#tab=product_lineup Remember the Buttkicker? That’s a voice coil driven weight which attaches to the drummer's stool. It’s triggered by the kick drum to give the drummer a kick in the butt to supplement the never enough kick drum in the monitor. The Porter & Davies tactile monitoring drum system takes this a step further by making the driver sensitive to dynamics (the Buttkicker is a one-kick pony). They're offering a complete system with a stool and driver amplifier in either a rack mount or stand alone case. When I tried it, it felt to me like there was too much sustain (take that as you will), but there are a couple of controls on the amplifier that allowed me to tune it to more like what I thought it should feel like. http://www.porteranddavies.co.uk/index.html Slaperoo - Bass? Percussion Instrument? This is a square metal tube about 5 feet long. That’s the body. The string is a metal band sort of like the steel packing bands used to hold crates closed stretched between bridges along the tube's length. There's an acoustic pickup at the bottom end. You can fret the band with a finger to get pitches, and slap it against the tube for percussion. It can even be played with a bow. It never really sounds like a bass, but it's pretty interesting when played through the string of pedals that the inventor was using with it. Watch the videos on the web site. http://www.slaperoo.com/index.htm man and he videos on the web site. http://footdrums.com/ Enhance Your One Man Band Act With the Farmer Footdrum. You've probably seen street musicians with a tambourine attached to a shoe, or a hi-hat or kick drum, but the Footdrum is pretty much a full drum kit with kick, snare, cymbal, and interchangeable hand percussion, all of which can be operated by foot pedals. Inventor Pete Farmer also has a high tech harmonica rack to complete the one band setup. I asked if he was fan of Jesse Fuller just smiled, which made me smile. Check out the Better Things for Better Living Through Chemistry Light your guitar on fire, or your wireless microphone, or your trumpet, or your drum set, or your hands. Pyro-Fire USA, who has apparently been around for 30 years doing pyrotechnics for shows, is now offering a system that's safe enough to be used by bands without having a technician come along to keep from burning down the house. They have a water based fuel and a series of "flamethrower" hardware (that they wouldn't show it to me - said it was a trade secret) that can be adapted to whatever you want, on a custom basis. For $750 they'll equip your guitar and teach you how to use it safely. I wouldn’t try it on your Pearlman Church mic, but maybe it would go well with a Blue. http://rockstarpyro.com The best named product at the show has to be eGloop, from Fitness Audio. This company makes a line of sweat-proof headworn mics for fitness instructors as well as wireless music players, and even a waterproof system for swimmers. eGloop is a water repellent coating for connectors which they use inhouse on all their products and sell as an end product for protecting any connector that’s likely to get damp. It’s neither petroleum nor silicone based (gloop-based?) and a little dab, they say, lasts a long time. It’s $30 for a tube but that looks like a lifetime supply for most audio users. I think it would be useful for those of us who set up live sound systems at folk festivals where it always rains and the stage box usually ends up in a puddle. http://www.fitnessaudiodistributors.com/E-Gloop.html My Sunday The highlight for me Sunday was watching the movie The Wrecking Crew. It’s a documentary about the loose group of session musicians in Los Angeles who made up the band for just about every pop record that came out of California from the birth of rock and roll in the late 1950s through the late 1970s, by which time bands had become self-contained and didn’t need backup musicians for recording. These were the people who played behind The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Jan and Dean, Glenn Campbell (who was a Wrecking Crew member himself), Elvis Presley . . the list goes on. There were, in the words of a few of the members of the group, 20, maybe 30, maybe 40 of the regular gang who were called in for sessions, and in those days there was full time work for all of them. It’s very different today, of course. Mostly these folks were invisible to the record buying public since their names didn’t appear on the records. Some that you may have heard of because they’ve become legends in the later years are Tommy Tedesco, Al Casey, Glenn Campbell, Hal Blaine, Plas Johnson . . . The film was produced by Denny Tedesco, son of Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy and is full of interviews, photos, film and video clips, and lots of music. While the film has been essentially finished for a few years now and has made the rounds of film festivals and private showing such as at NAMM and received wide acclaim, there’s still about $200,000 needed to clear (and pay royalties on) all of the music. At the moment, they’re in a fund raising phase, with the plan to put out a DVD with the full film plus a lot of bonus material and hopefully get distribution. They’re under the umbrella of the International Documentary Association, which gives donations tax deductible status. Send ‘em a buck or a grand and help get this show on the road. http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com Ramblings If this year’s report seems to be kind of shy on studio gear, it’s not that there wasn’t anything new, it’s just that there’s so much that’s so little different from what’s already out there that, at least in certain categories, it hardly matters what you buy. There are good reasons for preferences, of course, but many of these are personal (which is absolutely OK) rather than technical. The new microphone this year that looks just like the new microphone last year except perhaps for a different case color and “slightly smoother response.” If you want some particular preamp, equalizer, or compressor in a 500-series package, it’s probably there by now and all you have to do is ask for it. The industry certainly isn’t dying, it’s flourishing. 2012, the 110th NAMM show, was a record year for registrants, almost 96,000, with more than 1400 exhibitors with 236 new exhibitors. No wonder my feet and ears were tired. The exhibit halls were crowded this year, probably more on Friday than ever, and all of the vendors who I know well enough to ask about how they’re doing responded very positively. People are buying stuff, and while each year there are more newcomers buying new entry level gear, more of them are maturing and looking for, not necessarily the $10,000 D/A converter, but they’re starting to recognize that they can hear their mixes better through a $1,000 converter than what’s coming out of their $300 I/O box, and they’re spending the money. That has to be a good thing. Technology trends? IDevices everywhere, which to me means that we’re going to have to get adjusted to operating things with touch screens, which I don’t think is always appropriate. I was a bit disappointed that it looks like as far as audio goes, USB3 is going to take a pass. With Firewire connectivity fading into the sunset we’ll be living with USB2 for a while, but that’s really not so bad given that I’ve seen two systems here that are pushing it to 48 bi-directional channels at 96 kHz sample rate. Thunderbolt is probably a year or two away from the mainstream yet. Still, we’re seeing plenty of growth in the audio field and people are having fun with music. That’s all good. What is it about M-80? That’s a firecracker, isn’t it? There were at least three products displayed at the show that were named M-80. There’s a Telefunken mic which has been around for a few years, though they introduced an M-81 this year which is a little flatter in the midrange. Then there’s an M-80 guitar pickup from L.R. Baggs, and finally, Mackie co-developed a new op amp chip with JRC that will carry the Mackie “Running Man” logo that will give them a consistent supply of a known part that they’ll be using across the board in their products. NAMM has always been about music, and music is frequently the vehicle for social commentary. There was an action group (with music, of course) from Mozambique outside the convention center bringing the “Gibson Guitar Raid” story to the public. They’re losing their forests to wood harvesters and they recognize that their own government is too disorganized to control forestry and export of native woods, so they’re encouraging the US and other countries to do it for them. Although the Lacey act doesn’t specifically target the instrument building business, that’s where a lot of the wood goes. NAMM is indeed concerned both for the state of the native forests and the security of the industry that they support and has their own lobbyists working on Capitol Hill. They don’t want to get the law repealed (as most musicians do), they want clarification on what it covers and how it’s enforced. Obviously raiding a major instrument manufacturer and confiscating tons of material makes a point, but doesn’t solve the problem. Finally, just because I like the art of musical instruments as much as the music, see if you can find out how to play the Due Capi. This is from a display at the show of hand made instruments brought in from the NAMM Museum of Making Music. One of these days when I have some free time and I’m around Carlsbad, California, I’m going to have to check the museum out myself and see what other musical wonders dwell there. And in closing, here are some pedals that probably sound great, but look even greater. Next year, next gear.