by Clive Young.
New York (October 9, 2009)--You don't need a calendar to tell when Fall begins in New York City. Suddenly, there's a chill in the air; the Yankees enter the playoffs; and the autumn leaves start blowing down the streets. And once every two years, the entire pro audio world descends on the Jacob Javits Convention Center for the Audio Engineering Society Convention.
There's plenty to see at this year's convention, with an exhibition floor that could be said to mirror recent advancements in pro audio technology. These days, lots of gear is housed in smaller, sleeker boxes that have replaced the behemoth racks of the past. In the same fashion, many exhibitor booths on the show floor are smaller this year, but don't be fooled: in fact, there are far more companies on hand than there were at last year's convention in San Francisco.
"We have 350-plus exhibitors, which is good,” said Christopher Plunkett, deputy director, convention management, AES. “The economy has affected every show, and we're no different, but while there are smaller exhibitor booths, the real numbers are there." Every sector of pro audio is present and accounted for, too, running the gamut from tried-and-true solutions that have been around for sometimes decades, to bleeding-edge technologies that may well become the industry standards of tomorrow.
Other encouraging statistics include pre-registration for the convention and hotel bookings. "Pre-registration was very good this year; it was a little slow in the beginning and the last two weeks, it just exploded," said Plunkett. "Everyone waited until the last minute, but it turned out well, plus we extended the pre-reg date from last Friday to Wednesday, and word got out--it got a lot of attention. At the same time, the hotel numbers turned out great--we filled all our hotel blocks throughout, so we're happy about that.”
Of course, there's far more to see at the show than just exhibitors, such as the workshops, papers and tech tours. Sitting in on a panel, a special event or a lecture provides an opportunity to learn new concepts and groundbreaking theories, revealing new links between audio ideas and segments of the pro audio marketplace. Likewise, taking in a historical program or discovering new technologies in a seminar can introduce you to the inspiring past and sometimes jaw-dropping future of pro audio.
Right now, however, it's the near future that most attendees are interested in--meaning today through Monday, when the show ends. Between now and then, they have a lot to see, plenty to learn, and thousands of hands to shake.