Dateline: Anaheim, CA. By the time you read this, we the editorial staff of Harmony Central will be neck deep in new gear at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show. It’s a little early to be calling it, but we all predict that this is going to be a banner year for manufacturers, and, by extension, musicians looking for resources and tools with which to make music. And we’re not just shooting in the dark here: The needles on our gear-alert meters have been pegged into the red for a while now, due to the flood of embargoed press releases, hints and allegations from industry insiders, and actual disclosures from manufacturers to our staff, who, under pain of death, have been sworn to secrecy. Our concerns now are how to process and prioritize this deluge of data, once the levee breaks on January 19 (the first day of the show), and get it out to you, dear reader. These are good problems to have.
To this end, we have pre-staged several forums and a dedicated NAMM landing page on harmonycentral.com, which will go live at show time. The landing page will aggregate news headlines (many of which have been prepared offline, but will go live on 1/19), videos, photos, top picks, and other content specific to events at or surrounding Winter NAMM.
In addition to the online tools available to us, we’re employing some vintage journalistic technology: shoe leather. To best cover the show, we have our staff out and about on the show floor for every single minute the show doors are open—and sometimes after they close, when convention staffers turn off the lights, sweep the aisles for hangers-on, and loose the hounds. We don’t let up for a minute. When someone invites us to “take lunch,” we wince. It’s just not the best use of our time, even when we know it’s to our benefit to make nice with people who have normal eating habits. But we’re happier stuffing a power bar into our faces with one hand while replacing an SD card with the other. That way, we don’t miss a great impromptu performance by Victor Wooten or Johnny Hiland, or lose the opportunity to dragoon an industry leader in front of our cameras for an off-the-cuff interview. The best stuff happens by accident or serendipity, and staying on the floor for as long as possible increases our chances for those golden moments.
Once the show closes for the day, a dilemma arises. Do we attend the evening events where there are sure to be some killer musical performances? Do we go to dinner with friends where a relaxed atmosphere often produces great insights into the industry, not to mention some juicy gossip and great jokes? Or do we retreat back to the hotel room to jump on the forums and start posting the data that’s burbling over in our recorded devices? We try to maintain a balance here, and if one aspect of our lives must get the short-shrift, it’s sleep. (A further inducement to keeping vampire hours is that when sane people go to bed by, say 2:00 a.m., the hotel Internet connections get faster.)
By the end of the show, we look like cartoon characters out of Ren & Stimpy, with bloodshot eyes and depraved grins on our faces. It’s a hassle to travel and haul recording gear across the country. It’s a relentless slog down the aisles, trying to log megabytes into the recorders and listening intently to manufacturers while white noise from the show floor fatigues the ears. The convention food is expensive and terrible, the Internet connections are soul-suckingly slow, and there’s just never enough time to see it all.
And these are only some of the reasons we love NAMM.
— Jon Chappell
A program note: On behalf of the entire editorial team at Harmony Central, we’d like to extend our sincere thanks and bid a fond farewell to our copy editor, Carrie Brown, who is moving on to other professional opportunities. Carrie provided wise counsel in all matters textual, and it was a blast working with her to produce the best, and most accurate, material possible. Best of luck, Carrie. Yore skilz wheel bee mist!
|This Week on HC|
Our partners in song creation, GrooveZoo, have introduced two very important features recently. First, in what amounts to a complete paradigm shift in their business model—and welcome news to users—GrooveZoo now offers its full services to members completely free of charge. You heard right: free.
For existing members who may be concerned that at least the financial requirement provided a way to keep out the flood of unserious tire-kickers, fear not: GrooveZoo thought of that too, and have created a merit-based system where members earn greater access and more functionality by increasing their involvement with projects and accumulating more GroovePoints. So the more you contribute, the more you get out of the relationship. Kind of like life, and certainly true of any creative endeavor.
As if free membership isn’t enough to sweeten the deal, check out the improvements in other enhancements, such as the integrated Tour and Guide system, the redesigned home page that now spotlights Members, and the GrooveCrew program. It's always changing over at GZ, and always for the better.
New Member Exclusive!
By Craig Anderton
By Phil O'Keefe
Building a versatile and effective microphone collection doesn't have to cost a fortune
One of my favorite mixing tools isn't a plug-in or rack unit, but rather, an SPL meter. SPL stands for "sound pressure level," and is a way of measuring and stating "loudness" or volume levels. An SPL meter is a device that measures the actual "loudness" of the sounds you're hearing.
Why is this important when mixing? Because our ears are non-linear in their frequency response, and the amount of high and low frequencies we perceive changes at different listening levels. If you'd like to read more about this, do a Google search for "equal-loudness contour."
|Featured Industry News|
This week's pick hits from our News section
A few of this week's top discussions from our Forums
It’s here, and we’re ready to rock . . . post your rumors, questions, photos, videos, and more. We’ll be posting what we can in between video editing, prepping photos, and attempting to stay awake after getting four hours’ sleep!
Hoo-boy, talk about a hot-button issue! In just three days, over six pages and 100 posts have been logged on the subject of “Ears Only vs. Theory.” Apparently, this is a passionate subject for guitarists, with plenty of pickers taking their place on either side of the line. But it’s nice to hear from those who straddle the middle, too, and find out the different ways they combine both ear and brain.
After beating his head against the music industry wall, the forumite who goes under the name Saul T. Nads has decided to make his catalog available as free downloads. There’s some great Brit Pop in here (check out “Black Market Daydreams”), so hurry up and grab the free downloads before some record company hears them, signs him, and makes the files go away.
This earnest thread on building a Telecaster from ordinary 2'x4' pine lumber was started awhile ago but had been on hiatus. DIY Forumites were delighted to see that its creator recently revived it, providing dozens of excellent new photos and cogent commentary on some precision woodworking tasks.
Drum solos!!! But when it comes to this thread, don’t flee in panic. At times humorous, at times serious, you'll find some useful insights on how to make drum solos work—and also, when it’s best just to forego soloing.
Tired of lugging amps and gear? Ever thought about just running everything DI when playing live? Here’s a thread that covers the pros and cons.
The thread title says it all, but one really interesting aspect of this discussion is that you really can’t generalize one way or the other—there are a lot of variables involved.
The Solo and Duo Acts forum has some great ideas about how to connect with the crowd, and to do it in a natural way that tightens the connection between audience and performer. If you play live, this thread is well worth checking out.
A few weeks ago we featured a similar thread that was all about Telecasters. Now it’s time for the world’s most famous guitar to get its turn as the Effects forum shows off their various Stratocasters.
For many musicians, their first effect pedal was a game-changer that opened up a new world of alternative sounds. The denizens of the Effects forum look back, fondly remember their first pedals, and discuss the impact those pedals had on them as musicians.
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Editorial Craig Anderton, Editor in Chief • Jon Chappell, Senior Editor • Phil O’Keefe, Associate Editor • Chris Loeffler, Reviews Editor
HarmonyCentral.com is the leading Internet resource for musicians, supplying valuable information from news and product reviews, to classified ads and chat rooms.