This years convention theme is The Art of Audio, and when one walks around the Moscone Center, it certainly seems appropriate. Between Platinum panels featuring recording legends divulging their studio stories, the stunning examples of modern audio in cars and videogames, and the gleaming new products adorning exhibitor booths on the show floor, art is definitely in evidence here.
That said, so is business. The exhibit floor has been bustling with attendees learning about new technologies and productsÑsomething that has manufacturers pleased and excited about the industry again after a few years of economic uncertainty. Most exhibitors that the AES Daily spoke to reported strong booth traffic and solid informational discussions as opposed to chit-chat with tire kickers.
On the first day, there were a lot of people waiting to get in, remarked Rob Hofkamp of Martin Audio (Booth 1419). I think San Francisco is a good drawÑthis is an A-level convention town. I think the show is goodÑmy first AES was 1984, so Ive seen the show grow.
The AES Convention has grown quite a bit since then; this years convention hosts 417 manufacturers, just three shy of AES record, according to Roger Furness, AES executive director. It shows a really thriving business, particularly among the young companies that have new products to show, said Furness. We had the highest pre-registration that weve ever had, which is very encouraging. Not only do people want to come to San Francisco, but also the industry is buoyant enough to let them do so. On the first morning, we had five parallel education sessions, and there were 150 people in them just after 9 oclock, so theres a thirst for knowledge. I think the last few days have shown that this is a real bumper show.
That hardly means that all the good stuff is over. There are still more hot panels like Platinum Minds on Saturday and Road Warriors on Sunday; the Heyser lecture on Saturday featuring the first sound movie from 1894; the certain-to-fascinate An Afternoon with Bob Moog talk; the Tom Dowd movie on Sunday; plus tons of student activities, workshops, technical papers and more, all within the confines of the convention.
If it all seems to be just a bit too much to fit into one trip, dont worry. Theres always next year, when the AES Convention returns to New York City, October 7-10.