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So Much New Live Performance Gear at NAMM. Does that Mean More Venues?

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  • So Much New Live Performance Gear at NAMM. Does that Mean More Venues?

    I saw a whole lot of powered speakers, digital mixers, wireless systems...it seems like most of the big news was in live performance, whereas a decade ago is was with recording.


    I'd been under the impression that live performance venues were thinning, not increasing. Maybe I'm wrong, but I figured...who better to ask than the Live Sound & Production denizens whether you're getting a sense that there are more venues, and more opportunities for musicians to play? Or are all these systems mostly going to houses of worship, school auditoriums, and people who used to rent systems but can now afford their own?


    Any insights you can provide would be appreciated.

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  • #2

    A lot of guys are getting older and looking for lighter equipment. I try to keep everything under 50 lbs. My 6U amp rack with three amps in it (subs and four monitor mixes) weighs about 35 lbs now  .


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    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      Craig, if you look at the vast majority of the higher end M.I. audio, up through pro audio, you will discover that much if not most of the sales volume is fueled by the H.O.W. market. More money is spent with HOW and HOW musicians than any other segment. It's also paid for with pre tax dollars as the money used to buy the gear is from tax deductable donations.

      So, a question that I ask is... how much healthier would the MI market be if the rest of the consumers could buy their gear with pre tax dollars? Maybe another 20-30%?????


  • #3

    I wonder how much of this is the MI industry chasing a shrinking market, at least at the lower "prosumer" level of weekend warriors.

    The Baby Boomers (that would be me also) are reaching their peak years of free time and relatively high disposable income for playing in hobby bands. There is a good market right now for gear that's more lightweight and easy to set up, for us aging Boomers. But that won't last forever. Those coming up behind us may not be as interested in playing Rock music in bars, and the kids in their 20's seem to be more interested in EDM... which isn't gonna sell much PA gear except for the DJ or the sound provider. 

    Also, I've been reading surveys that indicate a rise in atheism among younger folks, here in the USA. That's going to put a dent in the church install market, over time. These might be the peak years for industry, right now, with some shrinking and consolidation (everything becomes Behringer?) in the near future. Enjpy the toys now, while you can. .png" alt=":smileyhappy:" title="Smiley Happy" />

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    • #4

      Personnally I think a lot this has to do with the companies realizing there is this huge market out there of better then entry level MI gear, but lower than the high end pro-gear. For the longest time, this is basically all there was, super expensive or super cheap (sounding anyways). This is back when most venues supplied sound, and there were destination clubs. Now, at least in my area, there are almost no house systems anymore. Each band is fending for themselves; buy a sound system or hire someone who has one.

      On top of this we have seen some incredible advances in DSP computing power and memory storage. Advanced DSP processing is now VERY cheap. And quality advanced algorythms can be masked right into the devices, or licsenced for small money allowing mamufacturers to provide far more advanced feature sets for relatively small dollars.

      So much like the home-recording boom, we are seeing a shift of the gear hitting that price/feature/quality point that puts the "power" in the hands of the final user, even if inexperienced or uneducated. And that is exactly what's happening. More and more bands are getting their own PAs because less and less clubs have house systems, and the investment is small enough that hiring out makes less business sence.

      Add to this, a huge HOW boom. Mega-Churches are popping up like Starbucks. More and more of them are bringing in huge productions and performances. This is pumping in big $$ to the industry for the same quality point gear.

      This all adds up to a flood of new offerings and me-too devices at the same time, aimed at a customer base that is seeing a step increase in size.

      We are deffinately NOT seeing a bunch of new venues (at least not in my market).

      Of course, this is just my impression.

      <div class="signaturecontainer">Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. -Will Rogers<br><br><a href="http://facebook.com/SpitShineRocks" target="_blank">http://facebook.com/SpitShineRocks</a></div>

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      • Shaster
        Shaster commented
        Editing a comment

        Mutha Goose wrote:

        Personally I think a lot this has to do with the companies realizing there is this huge market out there of better then entry level MI gear, but lower than the high end pro-gear. For the longest time, this is basically all there was, super expensive or super cheap (sounding anyways). This is back when most venues supplied sound, and there were destination clubs. Now, at least in my area, there are almost no house systems anymore. Each band is fending for themselves; buy a sound system or hire someone who has one.

        We are definitely NOT seeing a bunch of new venues (at least not in my market).

        Of course, this is just my impression.


        This post, combined with what I was saying above, is my impression as well. And I'll add that I'm seeing some places that do have MI powered speakers and inexpensive mixers as their house system - where not too long ago they would have had something higher up on the food chain.


    • #5

      Anderton wrote:

      who better to ask than the Live Sound & Production denizens whether you're getting a sense that there are more venues, and more opportunities for musicians to play? Or are all these systems mostly going to houses of worship, school auditoriums, and people who used to rent systems but can now afford their own?

      Any insights you can provide would be appreciated.


      As previously stated folks (at least in my parts) are getting rid of their old heavy gear and trading up (some for the last time re: boomers) to lighter "easier" to use powered speakers... And they seem to be doing so, even if they only gig a few times a year.

      I've also noted another trend. Keyboard players picking up one or two powered speakers instead of the traditional keyboard amp. If I think of the dozen or so keyboard players I work with, they all use powered speakers for their personal monitors. And this trend now might now be extending to bass players.  I work with a very good acoustic bass player that used to use a small combo Eden amp.  He now uses a K10.

      As well as the above examples of multi use, I know of a small club that purchased one powered speaker (with onboard mixer) for their meat draws and fifty/fifty draws and other special events. It would seem that even the most technically inept can plug a mic directly into the speaker and twiddle with the two or three knobs until they get some kind of sound.

      And of course as mentioned, there's HOW markets.

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      • #6

        The delta between sound in a club and sound in a practice space is being narrowed down to where the primary difference may only be the number of inputs available.  Even more interesting is that advanced live sound technologies are increasingly similar to digital recording technologies.  As an example, if you use DSP (plug-ins) for recording, companies like Waves make it possible to take the investment you have in their plug-ins and use them as 'virtual racks' for live sound using their MultiRack product.  The same plug-ins are being used by big bands like U2 so the sound pedigree is there and the price points are getting there too.

        I bring up these points to suggest that the live sound technology at NAMM may be leading us more toward the rise of live performance 'online' where bands perform 'live' from wherever they see fit... to (potentially) a small live audience and (hopefully) a larger virtual audience.  This is not an argument for online replacing live venues (heaven help us) but an observation based modern lifestyles and the fact that in the not to distant future this option will likely be a radio-button option an iPad app.  If anything, higher quality online performances should help drive fans to live venues.

        What's missing from the equation is video... and this may end up what we see at future NAMM shows - the integration of audio and video into cost effective products for recording and live streaming.  This will be good for the industry (product turnover, new business models, etc) and potentially create a much larger market of users that generate content of a much higher quality than what you see online today. 

        It's not a scenario that appeals to everyone but it seems to me to be a plausible scenario.

         

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        • #7
          I think there are new "must have" products and much more varied stuff.

          For example IEMs. A few years ago the only place I'd seen these was (big) churches. Now they're everywhere. Digital mixers. Active speakers. And it's all so cheap.

          Much is made of there being less young people playing live music. This is true but there are still millions out there that do.

          I think as long as there is a market, and new products coming out smaller/lighter/fancier, they'll sell.

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