by Clive Young.
Both Friday and Saturday, the AES Convention was jammed with visitors, and the momentum has continued, even on today, the last day of the show. Everyone who steps foot into the show is intent on finding out “what’s next” for the pro audio world. And whether it’s new gear on the exhibit floor, cutting-edge concepts divulged in the papers and workshops, or new connections made with the many pros on hand, AES has what everyone here is looking for.
Many of the convention’s Special Events have had standing-room-only turnouts, such as the Grammy Recording SoundTables, which featured an all-star lineup of Chuck Ainlay, Chris Lord-Alge and Tony Maserati, all moderated by Nile Rodgers. Workshops and papers have likewise been crammed, proving that education is still an integral aspect of AES, as Jim Anderson, outgoing president, noted, “If we moved all the people downstairs in the technical events up to the show floor at once, in addition to everyone already up here, there’d be no room to move!”
Of course, that would suit exhibitors just fine, but no one’s complaining about the turnout; even in the far reaches of the show floor, the aisles have been packed.
“It’s been busy; we had lots of good traffic all day,” said Jerry Krulewicz of Wireworks (Booth 819), which is debuting its Mcat 524, a 24-pair, Cat-5-rated, heavy-duty cable used for road and studio use.
For some, the surging attendance actually caused problems. Over at Hal Leonard Books (Booth 837), Aaron Lefkove reported, “It’s been a lot busier than we anticipated; when a show starts, people don’t want to carry a lot of stuff around, but we’ve been selling books right and left. We had to get more copies of Behind the Glass 2 and Bruce Swedien’s In the Studio with Michael Jackson overnighted to us or we weren’t going to have any left for their book signings on Sunday afternoon!”
Jonathan Reichbach, president/CEO of Sonic Studio (Booth 657), remarked, “Certainly, this is more crowded than I would have thought, but New York is very dependable and we always get decent traffic; we’ve been doing this a good long time so we always have lots of people stopping by to say hello.” Plenty of them are asking about the company’s Amarra Mini software, a consumer product garnering increasing professional interest.
The strong attendance has been good news for legendary live sound engineer Dinky Dawson (Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, The Byrds, Lou Reed), who is running cool memorabilia auctions at Booth 396, raising money to help road dogs and musicians without insurance. “We’ve been getting a lot of people stopping in,” he enthused. “They come down the way, see the photos and things, and say, ‘Hey, what’s this stuff for?’”
AES’ Anderson, for one, knew all along that the show would be a hit: “It’s not a surprise to me, because I was monitoring friends’ activities–people telling me, ‘I’m going to come to the show,’ and such; it was the same as it is every year. For the exhibitors that didn’t come, it’s unfortunate; they missed out, because people still want to see the equipment and meet with the manufacturers. This is a ‘long-term’ industry–when you meet in-person, you make that connection; you can take it to the next step and you build business relationships that last a lifetime.”