The NAMM Show Goes Immersive. Jump In and Surround Yourself

David Schwartz

Immersive audio: It’s been around in various forms for years. But something’s different this year for immersive audio, and The NAMM Show is all over it.

For starters, immersive is no longer a concept just for high-end studios or million-dollar home playback systems. Nor is it only convincing on headphones.

From a point source to a stereo spread, quadraphonic loudspeakers, and fully immersive sound, we have arrived at a place in time where an audio “element” can be placed anywhere in a 3D sound environment and played back in ways that can be realistic or impressionistic, depending on the whims of the artist, engineer, and/or producer.

There’s also a new mindset developing around what can be done from the artist’s point of view – with the tools now coming closer to their budget and with artists’ increasing ability to imagine in three dimensions when conceiving a project.

So, what can you learn at The NAMM Show this April about immersive audio? Plenty! And Thursday at The NAMM Show is the day to bring yourself up to speed.

For starters, two back-to-back TEC Tracks keynote panels, beginning Thursday at 10 am, will discuss the technology and the artistry of sound in three dimensions. The opening keynote panel, The Technology of Immersive Audio, will provide a basic how-to understanding for establishing audio elements within a three-dimensional space.

The second part of the keynote panel, The Artistry of Immersive Audio, will share experts’ views on the artful creation of projects intended for home playback, earphones, in-car systems, location audio, and other areas where immersive sound is finding applications.

Whether you’re an artist, student, or seasoned studio pro, you’ll hear firsthand ideas and opinions to inspire you from some of music production’s most successful innovators, including Ken Caillat, Kai Detlefsen, Eddie Kramer, George Massenburg, Michael Romanowski, Christian Sandler, and Herbert Waltl. Artist/producer Brian Hardgroove will moderate these two opening sessions.

Making it real, via the magic of Neumann and Sennheiser, a fully equipped immersive demo room will operate throughout The NAMM Show in the ACC North, Level 2. There you’ll hear dramatic demonstrations of how creative music professionals are using this new paradigm to springboard their work into new dimensions.

Experience cutting-edge innovations and hear dramatic demonstrations showcasing how professionals are moving into new dimensions with their music from Neumann and Dear Reality with the Sennheiser Group as they present the latest tools and technologies for immersive audio production, located in ACC North, Level 2, Room 17400.

Interested in preparing your home studio for immersive projects? Then be sure to catch Dave Malekpour’s TEC Tracks presentation on Equipping the Home Studio for 3-D Mixing at 2 pm on Thursday. Creating a home studio with immersive audio requires understanding several key factors. This presentation will explore those requirements, including acoustics, speaker placement and choices, audio paths, formats, and how it all relates to the work you do. And, of course, the session will consider how to accomplish these upgrades within your budget.

By this point on Thursday, you will probably be convinced that immersive audio is revolutionizing the music-listening experience. You’ll have heard about how labels and artists are taking existing work and remixing it for immersive, and how music creators are finding boundless opportunities to utilize space in completely new ways in the production process.

Putting this all into perspective, Thursday’s 4 pm TEC Tracks panel, Producing Music for Immersive and Spatial Audio, will discuss the basics of immersive audio production the tools and techniques as well as strategies to incorporate immersive thinking into the creative process itself.

Capping off “immersive Thursday” in TEC Tracks, acclaimed immersive master Greg Penny will be interviewed by musical futurist Chandra Lynn. A record producer, recording and mixing engineer, musician, songwriter, and artist, Greg is well known for his immersive mixes for Elton John (87 to date, including the 50th anniversary of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (in Atmos), as well as with Disney, Sting, Harry Styles, Soundgarden, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder, and many more.

So, if you’ve ever thought about jumping into the immersive audio experience, plan on spending time at TEC Tracks Thursday, only at The NAMM Show. Oh, the people you’ll meet!

Registration for The NAMM Show is still open at