It's probably worth mentioning that NAMM has been going through some changes - there are more workshops, AES-type presentations, and such.
They've dabbled with the AES for a couple of years, and I wasn't terribly impressed with what they were doing. Most of the presentations were by manufacturers' reps talking about how to use their stuff. These are certainly good people to learn from if you have the stuff, but they were really shy on fundamentals - you could learn how to set up a QSC line array system using their software, but you couldn't learn how a line array works. And then there were the usual famous producers and engineers showing you how they mixed a song. They still have a fair amount of that, but there are also some basic classes that look good. They even re-named the program from AES@NAMM to AES Academy.
In addition to the NAMM Tech Tracks that they've been having for years, there's another NAMM technical program, A3E (Advanced Audio Applications Exchange). There's a smattering of geeky stuff but a a lot of of general, practical material that covers a broad range. The A3E program is included with the NAMM general admission. The AES Academy has an additional fee, but it's more reasonable than it's been in past years. They're also trying to plug AES membership - if you join on site, you get the Academy program for free.
Here are links for info on the audio technical programs:AES Academy General Info and RegistrationAES Academy Schedule of ClassesList of A3E Classes
The North hall is mostly pro audio, so it does seem that NAMM is doing a push on being more pro audio oriented. Maybe it will take the place of having an AES convention on the west coast.
That's exactly it. AES has decided that there will be one annual US convention, and until the pendulum swings the other way (and I'm sure it eventually will) it will be in New York. The manufacturers had a lot of input on this - more of them were exhibiting at NAMM, and exhibiting at two west coast shows only a couple of months apart was both too costly and if they announced their new products at AES they wouldn't have anything new to announce at NAMM. With the "new NAMM," while there aren't the technical papers and standards committee meetings, there are plenty of technical sessions that lean more to the practical than the theoretical, plus a nice exhibition area with plenty of tires to kick.
NAB is continuing to hold their winter "small" show in New York in addition to their "big" show in Las Vegas in the spring. This is a bonus for NY AES attendees since, with the AES-NAB arrangement, AES and winter NAB shows are concurrent (well, sort of - the NAB show is only 2 days where the AES is 4) and in the same venue, with each honoring the others' registration. So if you're interested in all things broadcasting, you get NAB for free.
Another "Hey! Audio is important too" show that really blossomed this year (it was in December) thanks to a tie-in with the Pro Sound News folks is the Video Expo in DC. This year they had a huge program on podcasting. I used to go to that show, but have been ignoring it because I don't really have that much interest in video. I would have gone this year (I'm still not sure what "podcasting" is) if I had seen the program before the show rather than the write-up of it in Pro Sound News after it was over. Hopefully I'll remember to check it out next year.