When Germany-based Thomas Christmann saw Claypaky Xtylos at a Prolight + Sound expo in Frankfurt and marveled at how the beam “was cutting through everything,” he knew he had to work with the fixture some day.

The Lighting Designer and Lighting Director for metal band Korn since 2015, Christmann, who’s known as “Church,” thought the 2020 tour planned for the band would be the perfect opportunity to use the first moving head light with a laser light source. “I’m not a big fan of beam lights and try not to use them for effects lighting,” he says. “But I love the Xtylos beam, their color and speed and was eager to use them.”

Then the coronavirus pandemic intervened and 2020 touring for all bands was cancelled. But as soon as Korn was booked to play two 2021 summer festival dates, Church put 20 Xtylos from OSA International, Inc. in the rig for Rock Fest Wisconsin and the Upheaval Festival in Michigan.

Now Korn has begun a 28-date US tour with Staind. The run kicked off in early August in West Palm Beach, Florida and will wrap at the end of September in Dallas. Church upped the ante and specified 36 Xtylos for the tour, also obtained from OSA. He mounted four each on top of a straight line of five upstage pods, which roll onto the set, and eight on each side of angled upstage trusses, which split over the drum riser.“My lighting designs are pretty theatrical with cues and strong looks – I don’t go crazy with a lot of positions,” Church explains. “The Xtylos’s beam light was very impressive when I saw it the first time, and I trust OSA’s (Vice President, Lighting) Mark Fetto, whom I’ve worked with since I started doing Korn’s tours. I love the look of the beam and how it works with colors. Other beam lights don’t work well with colors, but with Xtylos even the red punches through. The strong looks Xtylos delivers, even with colors, makes the stage look even bigger than it is.”

Church has not been able to leave Germany to join the US tour so he has not actually seen Xtylos in person. “I’ve never had my hands on them yet! I want to see them in real life so bad!” he exclaims. “I preprogrammed the festival dates in Germany and programmed this tour before handing the show over to tour Lighting Director Matt Mills.”

Mills notes that, “at first, like a lot of LDs, I thought Xtylos was just a Sharpy with a laser for the lamp, but it is so much more. Using a typical beam fixture, there’s no way I would even consider putting a gobo and two prisms in the beam path due to loss of intensity. That is certainly not a problem with the Xtylos. Korn is very dynamic: They go from hard in your face riffs to slow and subtle breakdowns,” he explains. “When they’re cranking I am usually doing some sort of aggressive effect with the Xtylos, kind of like what I would do with a Sharpy, but the colors out of the Xtylos really cut through everything, so I can make a red and white strobe look and actually be able to see the red. The band often ends songs with a long, drawn out guitar tone, and with that I will take the Xtylos and drop in a few prisms, put them in a deep congo blue and scan the crowd. It really is a great effect that would not read with a typical beam fixture.”Mills says he’s having “so much fun” that he wonders if he’s overusing them. “I usually like to build a show and hold some things back for later, but management really loved [the Xtylos] and kept pushing me to add them in more and more. Besides all the cool ‘laser-type’ looks I am able to get, there is a point in one song that really stands out. During the chorus of ‘Cold,’ I have 16 of the Xtylos doing an offset circle effect in red. The lighting and the video at that point are both very bright white, and the red still cuts through just fine. Pretty much after each show a few fellow lighting nerds ask, ‘What the hell are those?’”

OSA’s Mark Fetto, who supplied the entire lighting crew for the tour, says that Mills ”has done a great job with the Xtylos. He’s getting more out of them than I’ve seen anybody do, including some really neat effects.”Even though he’s physically distanced from the Korn tour, Church is pleased with the new creative options that the Xtylos affords him and is ever hopeful of getting hands-on with them soon. “They are great fixtures,” he says. “I want to use this kind of design for Korn’s shows in October and their upcoming dates in Europe in 2022, so if that happens the Xtylos will be there.”

d&b audiotechnik‘s top of the range line array family, the SL-Series, is delighted to announce the arrival of its smallest sibling – the XSL System. XSL encompasses all the comprehensive features of its SL bloodline, from outstanding broadband directivity control and extended low frequency performance, to comprehensive rigging, cabling and transportation.

The XSL System comprises installation specific and mobile touring variants. XSLi for permanent installations, is ideally suited to venues with a high dependency on the clarity of spoken word, together with the need for high power, full spectrum performance. The XSL mobile version addresses the needs of the broadest range of touring applications. Both XSL and XSLi can be deployed as a stand-alone, self-contained package, or as a delay, or fill system to accompany its GSL and KSL siblings.

XSL’s extra small dimensions bring the SL-Series feature set – 2-way active design, high SPL and impressive cardioid low frequency performance – to a huge range of installations and events. As one would expect, the XSL fits seamlessly into the valued d&b Workflow.

“The performance-to-size ratio of the XSL System is unlike anything available in the current sound reinforcement market, or within the d&b portfolio,” says Werner ‘Vier’ Bayer, d&b Product Manager. “For installation, the system’s broadband directivity control drastically improves the ratio of direct to reverberant sound in acoustically critical spaces. In short, it will clean up your room! For mobile, a small footprint and improved sonic performance are really valuable. It’s an enormous step, it’s really impressive.”

Matthias Christner, Head of R&D Acoustics at d&b said, “Going into the design of this product we were actually a bit sceptical about whether we could achieve the signature SL-Series directivity performance in such a compact format. We’re really thrilled, slightly stunned and very proud that it works so well. I truly believe that the sound quality, dispersion, and clarity delivered by XSL will spearhead the evolution that we all expect from smaller arrays in the future.”

Full Broadband Directivity Control

Continuing d&b’s fixation with directivity, XSL delivers cardioid performance across the full frequency spectrum, resulting in: reduced audio spill onto open mics on stage; improved clarity and impact of individual instruments; and less coloration of mid range build up in venues and on broadcast and recording feeds. Less spill from the main PA to the stage, and backstage, improves the creative experience for performers, while giving more control to monitor engineers, particularly in the mid to low frequencies.

XSL loudspeakers achieve broadband directivity using patented SL-Series cardioid techniques to control low frequency dispersion. The XSL System’s excellent sonic performance and clarity is achieved with this unique pattern control and enhanced further with d&b Enabling technologies including d&b ArrayProcessing.

More Power, Less Draw.

The d&b amplifier family, including the 40D installation and D40 mobile amplifiers, have been designed to deliver the power density required for high efficiency d&b systems. The four channel Class D 40D/D40 devices come with advanced voltage management to bring up to 50% power draw efficiency to the d&b range – with zero compromise in performance. d&b amplifiers do more than drive d&b loudspeakers: they realize the full potential of the d&b system approach.

The XSLi installation systems, along with the installation specific 40D amplifier, will begin shipping in October. The mobile XSL package will begin shipping in January 2022.

Technical Specifications

  • Mobile and installation variants (XSL / XSLi)
  • 80 and 120 degree dispersion patterns (XSL/XSLi8 and XSL/XSLi12)
  • Splay angle setting: 0 -14 degrees (1 degree increment)
  • Frequency response: 60 Hz – 18 kHz
  • Max. SPL (reference amplifiers: D40 / 40D): 
    • XSL/XSLi8 141 dB
    • XSL/XSLi12 140 dB
  • Components: 
    • 2 x 8” front LF drivers
    • 2 x 6.5” side facing LF drivers
    • 1 x 6.5” MF driver / horn unit
    • 2 x 1” exit compression drivers with 2” coil on a waveguide
  • Weight: 39 kg (86 lbs)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D) 700 x 283  x 507 mm
  • Available with mobile and install specific rigging and mounting accessories
  • Special Version Stadium (SVS) rigging available
  • d&b Custom Solutions, including Sea Water Resistant (SWR) variants, also available
  • MILAN ready

Let’s be honest, we would have preferred to meet all together in Anaheim, but it must be appreciated that NAMM with the Believe in Music Week tried to deliver the best possible experience. Obviously, all the part of PR and interchange with people that you can have at a in- person show is difficult to replicate in a virtual event, but let’s see it in this way: It has been a great use of technology that brought forward programs and products to individuals who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to attend the show.

So, given the current circumstances, the 2021 NAMM Show could not be held in its usual format. It was replaced by the NAMM Believe in Music Week event, an online, global gathering to “unify and support the people who bring music to the world”. A convergence of 93,226 industry leaders, buyers, sellers, music educators, artists, media and music makers from 187 countries and territories.

The event, which spanned Monday, January 18 – Friday, January 22, saw industry professionals virtually convene in 983 special sessions and events, engage with 611 hours of live-streamed and programmed content, which included nearly 200 education, training and professional development sessions presented by 391 speakers, and experience new products from 1,227 participating brands in the Marketplace, all to celebrate the power and resilience of music and to plan for the year ahead.

“While we knew we could not truly replicate The NAMM Show, we felt that this unprecedented time made it even more important for us to gather the global industry with a Marketplace to launch new products, provide an extraordinary education campus and to bring everyone together as a community to promote music and to set the stage for industry recovery and growth.”

Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO

More than 33,000 international registrants attended the event, that took place on the Swapcard platform and created a social network of industry activity from members found across the globe to network, learn and be inspired.At the Marketplace, the latest technologies and gear were presented across brand experience pages, showcasing brand stories and information, along with special events. Over 750 brand events were held throughout the week.

With its mission to support the people who bring music to the world, generous members and participants raised or pledged nearly $500,000 in matched funds for 12 nonprofit beneficiary organizations as well as other NAMM Foundation charities that work to advance access to music-making. The idea for the matching campaign was conceived and led by NAMM Chair and CEO of Martin Guitars, Chris Martin.

Three main TV stations, BelieveArtist, and Gear TV, offered live interviews, new gear features and special performances.  International artists also enthusiastically joined the Believe TV celebration in a series of performances.

With industry experts participating in Believe week, members had the opportunity to connect with thought leaders through nearly 200 education sessions designed to engage, inform and inspire new ideas, as well as to further careers and prepare for the future.

“The new format is providing excellent opportunities for interaction with new and existing clients and a platform for us to present our products and services to a wide and varied audience.”

Alan Macpherson, CEO of L-AcousticsAmericas

The NAMM U Business Track brought together top minds to offer actionable strategies, tactics, and best practices for music retailers and brands to navigate to the next level.
Sessions for recording, live sound, house of worship professionals, and music technologists dove into the latest tools, tips, and innovations while also exploring the landscape of new technology.
Programs included TEC Tracks, which offered big-picture sessions and high-profile topics in recording, live sound, and music business, featuring industry thought leaders. Highlights included interviews with top producers, engineers, and artists, and live streaming and remote music production tips sessions for house of worship audio professionals.
A3E (Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange) featured future-forward education on how next-generation content creation is reshaping the entertainment industry.
AES (Audio Engineering Society) presented educational sessions on key topics for audio professionals, including streaming live performances and new music industry business models; and Dante Training from Audinate featured free Dante certification training of its leading audio-video network solution.

“While we miss seeing everyone in person, we have still been able to connect with customers, introduce them to our products, and do planning with our channel partners. The well-thought-out digital platform has enabled us to continue conducting giveaways, live streams, and live chats to new customers as if we were in person. We are optimistic about the year ahead and look forward to seeing everyone in 2022.”

Abby Kaplan, VP of Global Retail Sales at Shure .

A suite of sessions curated by  ESTA  (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) offered in-depth training sessions for lighting, production, safety, and rigging professionals.

In a first, the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) and Show Makers, resources for the live event community, joined the NAMM event. The ESA shared a suite of educational sessions with a diverse roster of academics and industry professionals that explored critical issues within the live event space, including safety in production design, risk management, COVID-19 mitigation planning, and more. Show Makers offered a roster of concert industry professionals who delivered Show Maker-curated sessions and mentoring, designed to unite, uplift, and strengthen those who work in entertainment production. This included sessions on touring, careers, leadership, mental health, and more.

For emerging and established artists, songwriters, and studio musicians, the Artist track covered the new music industry landscape and tips for success.The Top 100 Awards made its move to Believe TV in a live broadcast, which saw the industry virtually gathered to celebrate the spirit of the music retailer and to applaud their accomplishments, resilience, and commitment to serving music makers.

TEC Award Winner

TEC Award Winner

2021 TEC Awards for Technical Achievement

Allen & Heath Avantis

Allen & Heath Avantis

Allen & Heath Avantis – Category “Small Format Console Technology”

JBL DSi 2.0

JBL DSi 2.0

JBL DSi 2.0 – Category “Sound Reinforcement Loudspeakers”

sE Electronics V-Series

sE Electronics V-Series

sE Electronics V-Series – Category “Amplification Hardware/Studio & Sound Reinforcement”

Solid State Logic ORIGIN

Solid State Logic ORIGIN

Solid State Logic ORIGIN – Category “Large Format Console Technology”

EON ONE Compact

EON ONE Compact

EON ONE Compact – Category “Sound Reinforcement Loudspeakers”

Shure Axient Digital AD3 plug-on wireless transmitter

Shure Axient Digital AD3 plug-on wireless transmitter

Shure Axient Digital AD3 plug-on wireless transmitter – Category “Wireless Technology”

On Friday, at the 36th TEC Awards, a 35-year retrospective was presented, and winners in 22 technical and seven creative excellence categories were announced and honored. See the full list of winners HERE.

Also on Friday, the Parnelli Awards honored past award recipients in special event, “Keep the Torch Lit, 20 Years of Parnelli Awards” retrospective.
Closing out the week, the evening featured a celebration of outstanding women in the industry at the She Rocks Awards.

“The NAMM team’s creativity represents the best of ‘the show must go on’ spirit by providing HARMAN and the rest of the industry with a platform on which we can connect with our customers.” David Glaubke, director of corporate communications, HARMAN

NAMM Believe in Music Week – Numbers
93,226 Attendees
1,227 Brands
Nearly $500,000 in Donations Raised
33,379 International Attendees
187 Countries and Territories
768 Brand Events
611 Hours of Content
36 Hours of Livestream
983 Sessions and Events
391 Speakers