Hot Damn It's NAMM

Sandwiched between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and jam-packed with Big Gear Fun, the secret story of this most recent NAMM? One word, Thrilla, baby! OK, that was two words, but the point remains: more gear than you could shake a stick at...
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Sandwiched between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and jam-packed with Big Gear Fun, the secret story of this most recent NAMM? One word, Thrilla, baby! OK, that was two words, but the point remains: more gear than you could shake a stick at. And an EQ guide to navigating what you missed.

78 seconds. That’s how much time you’d have at each NAMM exhibitor if you visited every booth and didn’t eat. Or go to the bathroom. Or could instantly teleport yourself from one booth to the next.

54 people. That’s how many people would be at each booth if all attendees were distributed evenly among the 1,428 exhibitors at any given moment. In a word, NAMM was packed. Like “it took me 20 minutes to get from Hall E to Hall A” packed. Thursday and Sunday, normally “dead” days, were as busy as the busiest days of previous shows. The numbers tell the story: 78,091 registered attendees (with 8,416 from outside the US — up 10% over last year — so I guess the weak dollar is good for something). We’ll let the retailers and manufacturers decide what this means about the MI climate in 2005. But hey, we’re gear slobs! Is it NEW? Is it HOT? And will it make our lives easier without breaking the bank?

Enter EQ. We combed the floor, and found . . . well, a lot of missing contact lenses and cell phones. But when we raised our sights a little higher, we found some fascinating technology that’ll be blowing minds and busting budgets in the year ahead. Oh yes, the standard caveats: We didn’t see everything, some of the following is utter fiction, and prices, features, and the very fabric of all space and time itself are all subject to change without notice.