By Frank Wells.
The time is fast approaching for the 129th Audio Engineering Society Convention, back on the West Coast this year at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, November 4-7. At the top of the home page for the convention at aes.org is the phrase, “Your Bridge to the Future.” The phrase is an apt description of both the AES and its conventions. It’s also a phrase that can be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the perspectives of the interpreter.
AES conventions and the Society’s activities provide a bridge to the technology of the future. Obviously, the exhibition halls at the conventions allow manufacturers to show off newly realized, or nearly realized, products, both hardware and software. The gap between exhibitors and end-users is bridged, the interaction helping to shape the future of both. For attendees of the Conventions’ technical programs, the bridge extends much further into our technological future. In the themed paper sessions at the convention, presenters reveal research that extends both the science of audio and the realization of that science—a preview of tomorrow’s products today. In the workshop sessions, the practical and refined applications of technology are explored.
AES provides a bridge to the future for its student membership as well, a pathway into the professional audio community. The AES serves its student membership as a source of knowledge and guidance, and by providing the opportunity to learn leadership and teamwork skills in the self-governance of local student sections and the international Student Delegate Assembly. This bridge is also critical to the future of the AES itself; today’s student membership will be the professional membership of tomorrow.
AES is an educational bridge not just for students, but also for professionals. Even professionals with decades of experience under their belt have new things to learn—consider how many tools critical to today’s audio production paradigms did not even exist a few short years ago. From local section meetings to the conventions, the AES helps bridge the knowledge gap. For students, for less experienced professionals or professionals whose experience might be limited in some area or other, the tutorial and workshop sessions at the conventions provide the opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals working in audio.
There’s not a soul among us without something to learn, and not a soul among us that wouldn’t learn something by immersing themselves in the Convention technical program. The program content runs deep—those Convention attendees that never venture off the exhibition floor owe it to themselves and their personal futures to investigate the breadth of what the convention has to offer.
A bridge to the future has to have the past on its other end. From local section events like AES NYC’s recent Electric Lady Studios 40th anniversary retrospective to AES Nashville’s Legends in the Round series to the Historical sessions at the upcoming convention, the AES is a bridge to our history. You can better know where you are going if you know where you’ve been. AES bridges generations, connecting the stalwarts of the industry with their future counterparts.
AES is a bridge between people. Many of us are becoming quite insular in how we work, and AES provides occasion for us to crawl out of our isolated cages and interact face to face. The “homecoming” character of AES conventions is a major part of the experience. The communion of like-minded individuals is unmatched by any other forum—the AES conventions are the only international gathering focused singularly on audio. Every experience, every individual is relevant.
San Francisco, a city known for its own signature bridge, has a lot to offer visitors. It is a very pleasant city for a convention—great restaurants an easy walk from the convention center, hotels convenient to the convention center, a moderate climate.
There’s still time to make your plans to be at the 129th AES Convention. It’s an experience you owe yourself as an audio professional. See you soon in the City By The Bay.