It was big, brash, and frequently overwhelming, and the only thing really missing amid the din of an incalculable number of floor demos was silence. When it was over all that you could feel was brain paralysis and your swollen feet, but there was one certainty: NAMM 2020 was a winning show to remember for Allen & Heath.
Visitors to the Allen & Heath booth may have noticed a number of awards on display. Topping the NAMM 2020 award roundup, the company’s SQ Series scored a repeat victory at the TEC Awards for the second year running in the Small Format Console Technology category. An achievement seldom seen in an age when today’s hot products rapidly become yesterday’s old news, this SQ Series win was aided in no small part by its V1.3 monitor-focused firmware update.
Beyond the TEC Awards, SQ’s winning ways continued at the show with the announcement of encore ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International Readers’ Choice Awards in the Console and Mixers category for the SQ-7 (Small Format Digital) and the SQ-5 (Digital Rack Mount Mixer), duplicating category wins for SQ initially picked up in 2019. Not to be left out of the repeat winning streak, MMR Magazine delivered a second coveted ‘Product of the Year’ award to the Allen & Heath booth to join its 2019 trophy.
Over at the AES Academy, crowds stormed the Allen & Heath training sessions. Allen & Heath USA live sound/touring manager Michael Bangs’ scheduled sessions were SRO, as was Billie Eilish FOH engineer Drew Thornton’s “Modern Front of House Mixing” session, which proved to be the most popular Live Sound Academy event of the show. Across the way in the arena, the second annual Loudspeaker Showcase at NAMM was managed from behind a dLive C1500, attracting a record crowd of its own as well as a most-ever number of 14 manufacturer participants.
NAMM was also the site of Allen & Heath’s annual Sales & Marketing Kickoff Meeting, where Highway Marketing was named Rep of the Year, the Marketing Excellence Award went to Jaylon Shane of Pro Tech, a Sales Support Award went to both Rob Baker (Mainline Marketing) and Sheila Rose (Highway Marketing), and Bulldog Awards went to Brian Christ (AudioBiz), Shawn McLoughlin (AudioBiz), Wes Pitzer (Highway Marketing), Rich Nichols (John B. Anthony Co.), Kevin Duthu (HWPco), Jaylon Shane (Pro Tech), Zak Rickard (Audio Geer), Kyle Matthews (Audio Geer), and Gilbert Perales (Brownestone). Taking home Allen & Heath’s Outstanding Performance Award were Pro Tech, SK Macdonald, Online Marketing, Excellence Marketing, Highway Marketing, Richard Dean Associates, and HWPco. The gathering additionally featured presentations made by Allen & Heath USA senior staff members and guest presenter Chris Foreman, who analyzed macro trends within the US house of worship market.
On the new product front, Allen & Heath delivered a bolt from the blue by offering attendees an unannounced sneak peek at its new dLive CTi1500, the world’s first titanium mixer. Outfitted with 12 faders over six layers, built-in audio I/O, powerful audio networking, a 12-inch capacitive touchscreen, and a Harmony UI to quicken workflow, the new console weighs-in at well under 50 lbs. with its flight case, making it 14 lbs. lighter than a standard C1500, and perfect for fly dates.
“A heartfelt thanks needs to go out to all our fans and friends who provided their support throughout 2019 and during the show,” Allen & Heath USA Marketing Manager Jeff Hawley said shortly after the NAMM crowd had exited the building on the final day. “We wouldn’t have even made it here if it hadn’t been for our outstanding reps, dealers, and engineers out there who rely upon us for mixing everything from corporate gigs and weekend church services to sold-out world tours. We’re excited to hit 2020 and step it up another notch or two.”