Last week, the largest consumer technology show in the world descended on Las Vegas, CES. And what did we get? Well, basically, a lot of boring announcements, a few fairly cool portable media devices, lots of non-shipping Skype devices, and Bill Gates telling us things we already knew about Windows Vista. Afterwards, we had lots of pundits telling us why we didn’t care. For some real cognitive dissonance, ponder: “Bill Gates” and “blow your mind.”

So, we’re down on tech? As if. Next week, CDM is headed to Anaheim, California for the massive NAMM music show, the single biggest trade event of the year for the musical instruments industry. With a dramatically narrower focus (stuff for musicians), NAMM still has almost half the exhibitors of CES. Except that since the CES exhibitors don’t manufacture drums, guitars, and tubas, meaning this show will be MUCH LOUDER.

Why else is NAMM coooler? Let us count the ways:

  • Real new stuff: What I’ve heard? Aside from the teases posted to a number of websites and rumors of new retro Roland gear and something new from Moog, I’ve confirmed a new cross-platform instrument from a major manufacturer, new PC-based keyboards, and some enticing-sounding closed-door sessions from the likes of — hmm, I want lots of free drinks from these guys, so how about I tell you next week, okay?

  • Real old stuff: The Analogue Haven booth will have a drool-inducing selection of new retro synths and audio gear. ‘Nuff said. (pictured)

  • Logical celebrities: BT, Junkie XL, Richard Devine, Shawn Pelton, Kid Beyond, Jackson Browne Faith Evans, Paul Wertico, etc. . . . what do they have in common? They’re musicians. At a music show. Meaning unlike Robin Williams at a keynote for Google, they actually make sense.

  • Actual information: The beautiful thing here: the people in attendence actually know this stuff, from clarinet makers to soft synths. It’s a bunch of music people in one place, making an ear-splitting racket. And there will be events like an education summit — real work is getting done.

  • Really, the only thing NAMM doesn’t have that CES did (aside from swarms of international press, unless you’re counting us as a “swarm”): a giant porn industry expo next door. I’ll let you decide whether that’s good or bad. For more information, read the incredibly lame imaginary NAMM-goer diary at NAMM’s site or just tune into CDM next week, live from the show.