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Anyone else disappointed by the lack of new products at NAMM?


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I know we have had a pandemic and there are supply chain issues impacting parts, labor and distribution.

 

That being said, I’m rather disappointed in the lack of innovation and new products at NAMM, especially as it has been a while since this annual event has taken place.

 

Of course, I am talking about keyboards from the manufacturers we all use.  But I am also referring to the breadth of products we use to perform.

 

Seems like NAMM is a big whiff this year after awaiting its return.

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Yamaha YC88, Nord Stage 3C, Nord Wave 2, Viscount Legend Live, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2, Arturia V Collection 8, Komplete 13 Ultimate

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We are living the worst global crisis since WWII.

Pandemic, disruption of global supply chains, war in Ukraine with the very real risk of a WWIII, and the almost certain famine that will hit half of the world (Ukraine is the world's biggest food producer). Things will get much worse before they get better, and when they do eventually improve again, it will be in a different world. We will definitely never go back to life as we knew it until 2019.

 

I think lack of new keyboards should be the last thing to worry about.

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Summer NAMM is typically not much for the keyboard crowd.   However, given the way things have been it’s not surprising that we’re not quite back to normal for in person trade shows, release timelines and shipping dates.   I don’t even know that it will ever be how it was.  The pandemic changed a lot of things about working from home, having to travel, having to rely on trade shows to mail announcements.  The trend toward skipping NAMM had started already before pandemic. 

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I'd say anyone who's bothered by this should try distracting themselves by thinking about music.

 

If you happened to be there when animals filed off Noah's Ark 2 by 2, would you say "I know we've had a bit of rain, but this is really disappointing."

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Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

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I would say I'm amazed about Dexibell in last two years. I haven't expected new models yet, and something like S10L appears to be very original concept (73/76 key not-a-hammer-action stage piano/keybaord at flagships price point), but maybe there's a not-so-narrow niche for such a board. There's also a decent clonewheel onboard. 

I saw when they disappeared from Thomann after pandemic hit Europe. We know it all started in Italy in Europe. Then, they were coming back to market, and in lower prices! They're direct competition to Nord to me, so it's not easy competition.  Not to mention other Italian manufacturers like Viscount or Crumar, also continue to release new products in recent times.

 

Roland Fantom-0 came out a while before NAMM, it's fairly new, but nothing ground-breaking. Lite version of Fantom fitted into FA style housing. Surely great board, but much pricey than FA was. They released JUNO-X, too.

 

Kurzweil has released the strange SP7 Grand, while SP6 is fine and pretty functional board. SP7 with its layout and colors looks much rather like MIDI controller than standalone instrument, that's my first thought. ATST - not sure if this should be treated as successor or expansion of VAST or rather something like SuperNatural is for Roland - specialized engine for certain things like pianos with smoother timbre transitions. Seems the biggest selling point is the decent size 7" touchscreen. I can see also the interface looks like a bit Roland FA/Fantom inspired. We will see.

 

Korg and Yamaha are sleeping or preparing something big for the future. If the latter, they most likely wait for a bit better times. 

Yamaha P-515, Reface CP; Korg SV-2 73; Hammond XK-1c; Kurzweil PC4-7, ME-1

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I think the whole concept of trade shows being the annual focal point of any industry has pretty much sailed. And not just because of the pandemic. They're ridiculously expensive for companies. The space for your booth can be tens of thousands of dollars, and the booth itself is a fortune. Then you have to transport it and all your people and gear there. Then there are all the add-on costs? Want a garbage can in your booth? That $75 per day. Want electricity? That's $300 to drop a line from the ceiling.

The few music retailers that are left don't need to physically go to a show to see what new products the vendors are coming out with, and consumers can get all the information they want as soon as a company releases a product, which now happens throughout the year. So, I wouldn't expect things to change even after the pandemic gets to much lower levels.

That said, we certainly all know that there are more pressing matters in the world than what new equipment is coming out. But this is a site about keyboards, so that's what we talk about here.

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No, not disappointed at all.  There has been a lot of new products.  Nautilus, Fantom, Fantom 0, Juno-X  new stuff from Kurz etc ...  Release dates don't revolve around NAMM anymore.  Distribution has totally changed over the last 3 decades,  Online mega dealers account for the lion's share of units.  Companies no longer need to connect with dealers at trade shows.  Now they can send product experts directly on site at the dealer locations and provide product presentation and  training in a more productive environment where you can actually hear.  Also online multimedia efforts are effective.

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I do think the "trade show" of the future will be virtual, but it won't be a copy of physical trade shows. I see a very different model that no one is doing at the moment.

 

Meanwhile, I have enough gear to make any kind of music I want. Personally, I really don't need anything new, although that will likely change when MIDI 2.0 is in full swing.

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1 hour ago, Spider76 said:

We are living the worst global crisis since WWII.

Pandemic, disruption of global supply chains, war in Ukraine with the very real risk of a WWIII, and the almost certain famine that will hit half of the world (Ukraine is the world's biggest food producer). Things will get much worse before they get better, and when they do eventually improve again, it will be in a different world. We will definitely never go back to life as we knew it until 2019.

 

I think lack of new keyboards should be the last thing to worry about.

Don't disagree with how complex it is nor the impact, but Ukraine is NOT the biggest food producer.  It's around #10.    It does, however, supply heavily to countries with a bigger percentage of population of risk, and the war has created a domino effect with will hugely affect food availability.   

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This isn't related to Namm or trade shows, but my impression is that there are a lot of new and innovative products coming out these days.   I think the smaller companies (ASM, Modal and others) are really doing some great stuff, proving that build quality and keybed aren't impossible at lower price ranges for example (caveat, just going by what I've read, I've never played them.)   Browsing Thomann I always run across new brands and models (like those by Dreadbox) that pique my interest.

Nord has been a disappointment to me, not only have they jacked their prices way up, but what have they done recently either to their hardware product line or library (which admittedly still beats anyone else, because they *have* a library.)   I'd like to see Yamaha keep the product updates coming, they and Roland have done a good job with the Montage/Fantom (and lower cost versions) updates.  Adding sequencer to the MODX, tonewheel organs to the Fantom...very surprising IMO.

And of course we have Behringer with a new rendering of a synth every week :D

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No disappointment here. I went to NAMM in the glory days of the 80's. 

That level of investment to reach the public is over and gone, has been for some time now. 

 

Pop something up on YouTube, everybody who is interested in such things will know about it quickly. 

Local retail outlets still exist but they have dwindled. 

 

The world has changed, it is not going to change back. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I'm neither disappointed nor surprised by the NAMM product turnout or lack thereof regardless of the pandemic, supply chain shortages,  econony, etc.

 

As mentioned throughout the thread, technology has allowed manufacturers to release their products in different ways with or without a trade show. 

 

But, I think it's great that NAMM continues because it does provide a central location for start up companies to showcase their products to dealers and musicians.

 

IMO, NAMM is also a great networking opportunity from a human perspective that virtual technology cannot produce. 😎

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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2 minutes ago, ProfD said:

IMO, NAMM is also a great networking opportunity from a human perspective that virtual technology cannot produce. 😎

 

That's why I'd like to see the wave of the future be a virtual trade show that serves as a hub feeding into small, in-person local shows.

 

I used to do a ton of in-person workshops in the 80s and 90s at venues that held anywhere from 100 to 1000 people. They were fantastic networking opportunities, and you could do deeper dives than you could at a NAMM show. If there was a coordinated network of these in local markets, coupled with an overarching virtual presence, I think all the bases would be covered.

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NAMM 2022 is a big belly flop little from the majors and mainly small companies with new stuff.   Things like keyboards I expected to be little to nothing because of supply chain and companies released products before NAMM.    It did surprise me that there were no software based updates from the majors.  Supply chain has no effect on software development and delivery so why not create interest with updates?

 

Things are a big mess now so all typical patterns big companies bank on are off  the table, big guessing game for near future. 

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1 hour ago, Anderton said:

I do think the "trade show" of the future will be virtual, but it won't be a copy of physical trade shows. I see a very different model that no one is doing at the moment.

 

Meanwhile, I have enough gear to make any kind of music I want. Personally, I really don't need anything new, although that will likely change when MIDI 2.0 is in full swing.

That's great for reviewing new products.

Virtual misses out on two things: you can't get hands-on with the new products (videos are not hands-on), and I really enjoyed meeting people at the trade shows.

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4 hours ago, CEB said:

Release dates don't revolve around NAMM anymore.  Distribution has totally changed over the last 3 decades,  Online mega dealers account for the lion's share of units.  Companies no longer need to connect with dealers at trade shows.  Now they can send product experts directly on site at the dealer locations and provide product presentation and  training in a more productive environment where you can actually hear.  Also online multimedia efforts are effective.

 

:yeahthat:

 

dB

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I have an alternate pass in hand from a longtime friend who's a Hammond endorser and was back pedaling on my original plan of not attending. I got up this morning with all intentions of going down there, mainly to play/hear the Rhodes MK8.

 

But after walking my dog the half a mile around the block and waking up,  just the thought of driving down there in traffic on the dreaded 5 freeway, then dealing with parking and walking more (my bone on bone L knee is getting worse, getting a cortisone shot next week hopefully to help alleviate the pain ), not to mention the uptick in LA County of covid resurgence, I bailed.

 

I'm hearing some nice sounding FB videos on the MK8 but obviously there's no substitute for playing one in person...even if it is noisy NAMM.

 

Also found out that Vintage King's new store in Burbank has the latest updated Vintage Vibe 73 on display, so that's only 20 minutes away and presumably slow on a Monday or Tuesday early morning.

 

But basically all the other keyboard related stuff doesn't interest me that much anymore, again with the exception of the Rhodes. My life seems to take on a "been there, done that...a LOT" type of existence  these days.

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2 hours ago, The Real MC said:

Virtual misses out on two things: you can't get hands-on with the new products (videos are not hands-on), and I really enjoyed meeting people at the trade shows.

 

Check out the second post, where I elaborated on the concept. It's not different from what I've proposed in the past. Although it wouldn't put everyone in the industry together in one place at one time, the local show extension would I think be more helpful to end users. Sure, it's great that I can hang with people I've known for years at NAMM, but ultimately I think prioritizing the end user is more important for the industry's long-term health.

 

And Zoom call-style virtual does have its benefits. You can see a person's environment and studio, which you can't see at a show. I think a virtual panel discussion where everyone was in their studio would be more visually appealing than a bunch of people sitting on chairs.

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I am celebrating the announcement from Kawai Regarding the new ES 120 digital piano. Compared to its predecessor the ES110, the 120 has a big upgrade in grand  piano sound, a much more powerful speaker system, and an upgraded Fender Rhodes patch.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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1 hour ago, Dave Ferris said:

Also found out that Vintage King's new store in Burbank has the latest updated Vintage Vibe 73 on display, so that's only 20 minutes away and presumably slow on a Monday or Tuesday early morning.

Only a 20 minute drive in L.A. that means your just one block away.   

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1 hour ago, Jazz1642606857 said:

I am celebrating the announcement from Kawai Regarding the new ES 120 digital piano. Compared to its predecessor the ES110, the 120 has a big upgrade in grand  piano sound, a much more powerful speaker system, and an upgraded Fender Rhodes patch.

 

I would definitely be interested in that if the Rhodes is decent (which is horrible in the ES110). Just looking at the website. Lots more piano editing features. Nice that they added USB MIDI and Bluetooth but they dropped the 5-pin MIDI. They mention an improved compact action, so I hope it is only a minor refinement because the dynamics and responsiveness of the ES110 seems pretty perfect the way it is for a light hammer action. 

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I wasn't expecting too much this year from NAMM. I'm one of those that remembers NAMM being the big "surprise/shock/awe" type thing when we'd learn about so many new things or at least it was a placeholder for new things.

 

I am currently at a point where my own gear does all that I need it to do, and then some, so I don't really know what type of whiz-bang new thing would light the world up for me. I am also heartened by things like the Sequential Prophet 5/10 reissue, the Oberheim OBXA reissue, among others.

 

I miss seeing my NAMM brethren and doing hangs at the Red Key Lounge. Maybe we'll get back to that at some point.

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4 hours ago, Dave Ferris said:

 then dealing with parking

 

 

Watched our friend "Pianomanchuck" report on first day and if i got this right) he was amazed that at lunch he walked out to his car to retrieve something and there was still close by parking available all around him.

 

Stating normally that if you dont get in before 6 am then youll get no parking and will have to shuttle in from afar.

 

Also inside was very open and non hectic.

 

I guess that is an indication of the changing universe. 

 

Chuck was reporting on new pianos if anyone is interested.

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4 hours ago, Dave Ferris said:

I have an alternate pass in hand from a longtime friend who's a Hammond endorser and was back pedaling on my original plan of not attending. I got up this morning with all intentions of going down there, mainly to play/hear the Rhodes MK8.

 

But after walking my dog the half a mile around the block and waking up,  just the thought of driving down there in traffic on the dreaded 5 freeway, then dealing with parking and walking more (my bone on bone L knee is getting worse, getting a cortisone shot next week hopefully to help alleviate the pain ), not to mention the uptick in LA County of covid resurgence, I bailed.

 

I'm hearing some nice sounding FB videos on the MK8 but obviously there's no substitute for playing one in person...even if it is noisy NAMM.

 

Also found out that Vintage King's new store in Burbank has the latest updated Vintage Vibe 73 on display, so that's only 20 minutes away and presumably slow on a Monday or Tuesday early morning.

 

But basically all the other keyboard related stuff doesn't interest me that much anymore, again with the exception of the Rhodes. My life seems to take on a "been there, done that...a LOT" type of existence  these days.

 

My prediction for the next useful keyboard accessory: a powered wheelchair with keyboard company logos and hot-rod fire decals built-in. Br'er Ferris and I could more easily compare our $#@! egregious knees at leisure and as mentally-fading keyboard types go in their dotage, we can bang into the Hammond displays, demanding to see Wakeman. :hitt:

 

More soberly, "Fate" decided to undermine my hands, so serious 'boards are in my rear-view now. I'm just a softsynth goober with a couple of small controllers. I naturally miss sweating over two-fisted R/T playing, but I'm grateful to having a living Vangelis-stack in a Mac. I'm still able to compose and I never have to scream like a giant chicken over busted keys or power supplies that suddenly go FZZZT! Hurray for life's odd compensations!

"Weaponized kindness" is my new
    ambient drone band name.
       ~ Rob Neschizza

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Well the knee was a bit more sore then usual after our long walk yesterday. I didn't think it was wise to pile on anymore today, best to rest it.

 

Had I known I was getting the pass late last night, I wouldn't have gone as far yesterday and been more up for it today.  But who knew.

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5 hours ago, Jazz1642606857 said:

I am celebrating the announcement from Kawai Regarding the new ES 120 digital piano. Compared to its predecessor the ES110, the 120 has a big upgrade in grand  piano sound, a much more powerful speaker system, and an upgraded Fender Rhodes patch.

The improvement they’ve made to the RHC action going from ES-110 to ES-120 appears to in how loud the mechanism is.  Their description suggests the ES120’s RHC us quieter for whatever reason. 

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Trade show attendance has been declining across many industries. I agree with many above who say that the new normal makes trade shows unnecessary. 

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17 hours ago, Spider76 said:

We are living the worst global crisis since WWII.

Pandemic, disruption of global supply chains, war in Ukraine with the very real risk of a WWIII, and the almost certain famine that will hit half of the world (Ukraine is the world's biggest food producer).


FACT CHECK: The world's largest food producer is actually China. Ukraine is one of the top 10 wheat-producing countries (#7 in the world); the newsworthiness of Ukraine's wheat is that many countries in the Middle East rely on Ukrainian wheat imports, so yes a major region of the world an thus millions of people will be affected, and it is a potential tragedy - but not "half of the world."

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Even before 2020, the big music gear announcements were being made in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the year. The Pandemic was certainly the cause of the river changing its course, but not the source of the river.

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