Guitars, drums, cymbals … the 2017 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show had it all, but what seemed to be making the most noise was the professional audio gear.
I’ve heard a lot about the NAMM Show, the largest music gear conference in the U.S. (probably the world), and my excitement attending for the first time was hard to contain. The music world from musicians, to mastering and mixing engineers, all come together to see the latest instruments and equipment the industry has to offer.
Of course, the major guitar and professional audio equipment manufacturers you would expect at this show had the largest booths, but that didn’t keep other exhibitors from showing some cool equipment as well.
For us at Texas Instruments, this was our first year exhibiting at NAMM, although it was hardly our first year designing audio components (audio amplifiers and digital-to-analog converters) for the professional audio and music industry. For 2017, we had a lot to show around our new family of fully integrated high-performance Class-D amplifiers. Here is our booth the night before the show, ready with multiple demos showcasing our new Class-D amplifier family (Figure 1).
Walking through the guitars was great, but I was really there to see the latest with speakers and amplifiers. Everyone was offering speakers with more power and more integration. Below is a short list of some of the cool products exhibitors showed at NAMM:
What continued to be a trend in the professional audio space were speakers designed with audio amplifiers inside. I heard from numerous speaker designers that it’s easier to match an amplifier and speaker during the design phase, and it’s also easier for sound engineers to use.
I received similar feedback about TI’s Class-D amplifiers. We had a variety of demos including powered speakers, a guitar amplifier and a Dolby Atmos sound bar that all used our new TPA3255 family of integrated high-power amplifiers. After about the third day, I had heard many people stop by our booth and mention that they had never considered a fully integrated chip solution. Most designers today use audio amplifier modules, which are pre-built printed circuit boards (PCBs) with discrete component amplifiers. Yet there are many benefits to using an integrated chip instead, including:
With TI’s new family of Class-D audio amplifiers, you can get even more out of your amplifier:
To be honest, it was difficult to hear much by the end of the show. We even measured the exhibition hall’s noise level at around 80dB – just short of standing next to a blender for eight hours each day. However, I would encourage everyone to have a listen to the TPA3255 series of Class-D amplifiers. Let us know how it sounds and if it would fit well in your application.