This week, The NAMM Show will roll in through the wide streets of Anaheim, California and into the Anaheim Convention Center, for a long weekend’s worth of nerding out over everything to do with music that isn’t actually music.
Home to Disneyland, The Ducks (a hockey team named after a movie), and a nearby restaurant theater named Medieval Times (where you can watch two men joust on horseback while you eat a turkey leg), Anaheim may not be quite the cultural hotbed that neighboring Los Angeles claims to be, but it is, undoubtedly, a place where things happen.
On the subject of things happening: Whether you prefer science, religion, probability, crystal balls, or tea leaves to predict the future, there are some events that will, without a doubt, take place at some point during the weekend at NAMM. This is our list of those moments:
A struggling producer will decide to go analog
Some marginally successful producer who has been toiling with the same three Massive patches for a half decaade now will find himself at the Moog booth with the novel idea that analog synths are the way of the future. He might be right.
Denon will release the first hybrid Serato/USB DJ decks
Most DJs are experts at performing via one particular method, whether it be spinning vinyl, using a USB stick with CDJs, or doing it in-the-box with Serato or Ableton. Most hardware platforms only allow for one method. That is, until now. Denon will reveal its MCX8000, a hybrid controller that can be used by itself as a set of decks, or with a computer running Serato as a controller. Now if they could only figure out how to get some vinyl needles on that thing...
Drunk nerds will go to Disneyland
Unfortunately, they will regret it almost immediately on account of second degree sunburns. I’ll explain: Some nerds get a lot of sun. Entymologists, for example, go hunt insects in fields. Music nerds, though, spend their lives in dark studio caves listening to the same two seconds of music for days on end and only emerge for Chipotle burritos. They burn easy.
Roland is (probably) going to announce a brand new sampler
Japanese music tech heavyweight Roland has been trying to reinvent itself as of late, and rumors are that they will introduce a brand new sampler to their line of products at NAMM. Meant to compete in the market with NI’s MASCHINE, the unit allegedly bears homage to a number of classic, discontinued samplers like the E-Mu SP-1200 and the EMaxes.
A music blogger will pretend like they understand hardware
“Okay, so what you’re saying is, if I put the low frequency oscillation on the reverber by twisting this knob all the way up, that’ll sidechain my mixdown and my drops will be way sicker, right?”
Richie Hawtin Will Enter the Knob-Making Business
Already announced by NAMM in the build-up to the big event, techno and hairstyle innovator Richie Hawtin has teamed up with DJ hardware outfit Allen & Heath to produce ‘PLAY Differently.’ The actual function of the device is yet to be announced, but judging by close-up shots of some slick looking knobs on the project’s website, there will definitely be knobs involved.
An aging man who plays in a cover band and wears a bandana will discover ‘EDM’
“So THIS is what all the fuss is about,” he’ll say as he presses play on the ‘big room’ demo patch of a discount synth model in some far corner of the hall. “Sounds like bullshit to me. Where’s the words?”
Someone will get uncomfortably aroused when trying on the Subpac
The Subpac is a backpack-like device you wear that turns the bass frequencies in a track into a total body experience. Wearing one while listening to dance music is like standing five feet from the speakers at a club, just without the tinnitus. It’s such a compelling sensory experience that every so often, someone trying it for the first time is overcome with sexual energy and starts gyrating in place like Austin Powers at a swingers club. It's awkward. But awesome!
Mastering engineers will feel validated for a day
NAMM is the one party every year where mastering engineers are just as important as DJs and musicians. They’re the guys who have perfected the minute skills that many can’t hear, but often make or break a track––and they never get any credit. NAMM is the audio masterer's big moment, so if you see a nerdy looking guy walking around, beaming from ear to ear and wearing a suit, give him a pat on the back. He’s a mastering engineer, and this is his big day.