by Mel Lambert.
It’s nice to be back in the City by the Bay, and what a day we have in front of us at the Moscone Center. There’s a plethora of emergent technologies and new ideas to absorb. And, as I have encouraged attendees on previous occasions, our conventions are a two-way affair; you get back a whole lot more if you come with an open mind and an intention to share your thoughts with vendors and colleagues alike.
Several of today’s events have a strong recording theme, including a workshop entitled, How Does It Sound Now? The Evolution of Audio, chaired by Gary Gottlieb from Webster University, during which several Grammy-winning talents will address the controversial issue of audio quality. Two Technical Tours might also be worth considering: Polarity Post Studios and Crescendo Studios—sign up early to avoid disappointment!
Another of today’s workshops, Single Unit Surround Microphones, chaired by Eddy B. Brixen from EBB-Consult, will look at single-source transducers for surround-sound sessions, while Mastering: Art, Perception, Technologies, chaired by Michael Romanowski, will focus on the state of contemporary mastering. And this afternoon’s Platinum Mastering special event, chaired by Bob Ludwig, will focus on vinyl mastering, disc cutting and turntable setup. (Ludwig plans to show archival videos of how lacquers are made. A lost art, it seems.)
Within the Acoustical and Physical Modeling session, one paper has caught my eye: Virtual Acoustic Prototyping—Practical Applications for Loudspeaker Development, by Alex Salvatti from JBL Professional, which will consider ways of fabricating virtual prototypes of both horns and loudspeaker drivers that are said to significantly reduce the number of physical prototypes, as well as reducing development time. Sounds like an idea combination.
Another must-attend workshop, Keep Turning it Down! Developing an Exit Strategy for the Loudness Wars, chaired by Martin Walsh from DTS, will focus on alternatives to aggressive dynamic-range compression using creative weapons such as mastering techniques and gain-normalization algorithms. I am advised that audience participation is encouraged! Staying with the compression theme, a session entitled Audio Processing for Streaming, chaired by Bill Sacks from Optimod.FM, will consider ways of improving communications between our recording/broadcast community and the IT world, and how to improve not just technical interfaces but the mutual understanding of our respective—and often conflicting—needs.
And please don’t overlook the continuing Product Design Track of workshops, tutorials and master classes chaired by Bob Moses. Today’s highlights include IEEE 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging (AVB), which comprises a panel discussion with members of AVnu Alliance exploring the role of the open, non-proprietary IEEE 802.1 standard, plus Audio Network Control Protocols, which will look at techniques for audio distribution within studios, stadiums, convention centers, theaters and live events.
As AES executive director Roger Furness points out, “Robust turnout at previous workshops illustrates that product-development sessions are of perpetual interest to convention attendees. New tools, applications and needs have now inspired us to go one step further and create this special Product Design Track.”
“The Convention Committee was universally behind this dedicated track,” confirms convention co-Chair Jim McTigue. “The challenges of audio design in the 21st century require a community ready to meet, debate and share the wisdom of the past and the promise of the future.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Industry veteran Mel Lambert heads up Media&Marketing, a consulting service for pro-audio firms and facilities. www.MediaandMarketing.com.