Part of the evolution of audio production methods has found audio pros working increasingly in isolation, without the intellectual give and take that naturally accompanied the heyday of production centered on brick and mortar commercial facilities. We use social networking and other online interaction as a partial substitute, something acknowledged in the redesign of the Audio Engineering Society’s website, which includes social and professional networking tools alongside new informational and educational elements. But, when possible, “face time” with our peers is still superior for the exchange of ideas. Audio professionals involved in their local AES sections will know instantly what I mean—regular gatherings centered on what is effectively continuing education provide a platform for dialog well beyond the focused topic of a given meeting. Even events that are designed to be more social than informational inevitably give way to beneficial technical and business discussions.
The AES’s 127th Convention is slated for New York City, October 9-12. The fall U.S. AES conventions are the closest thing our industry has to an annual reunion. This is “face time” on a grand scale, offering audio professionals the best yearly opportunity to interface with their peers, their heroes and industry luminaries. There is also ample opportunity to learn: widely varied presentations, workshops and seminars offer something for audio pros of every skill level and in every subcategory of the audio arts. The convention’s technical program content, created by professionals for professionals, ranges from historical and artistic perspectives, to practical application and technique, to explanations of the highly technical inner-workings of audio tools. The tutorial program covers audio basics, and students can further benefit from job fair and mentoring sessions.
Then there is the exhibit hall at the convention, packed with the latest audio hardware and software, presented by the product’s manufacturers. Your queries on feature sets, capabilities, operational issues and design considerations will often be answered directly by a product’s designer. Many of those same designers participate in the convention’s paper sessions, where cutting edge technology and theory is exposed to the light of day, often providing a crystal ball image of tomorrow’s audio tools.
PAR will, of course, bring you the gear and software highlights of the convention, hand chosen by our editors in the form of the PAR Excellence Awards. But try as we may, there’s no way to give you the full convention experience in our coverage. The pilgrimage always proves worth the investment, and one upside to the current economy is that travel and lodging in New York are at the most affordable levels in recent memory.
Check out the convention details and program at www.aes.org, and I’m sure you’ll find much to whet your appetite. Like the “comfort food” spread at a family reunion, the AES convention can sate and refuel you physically and spiritually. Here’s hoping you can take advantage of the opportunity and that we see you in New York in October.