The 117th AES Convention has opened with a flurry of activity. Inside the Moscone Center, there are exhibitors, workshops, presentations, events and tons more, all going on at the same time, ensuring that ambitious attendees need never rest if that’s what they want. Exhibitors are presenting their latest and greatest products, while special events are providing insight into new areas of the pro audio world. If it seems like there’s more cutting-edge topics this year, well, that’s by design, according to Roger Furness, executive director of AES: What we’ve tried to do here as we have over the last few years is to go into what we might say are the areas of audio which traditionally have not been part of the AES.
Those efforts have borne fruit in the form of proceedings ranging from live sound events like the Surround Live symposium and Road Warriors panel, to workshops on video-game sound and explorations into the emerging world of surround in automotive audio.
A huge number of people buy video games, and music and sound are a very integral part of that, said Furness. A lot of very talented people are mixing games in the way that they mix records, film or anything else, but many people in our industry don’t know about it. That’s part of why the event is here to try and let people experience what’s happening in video games, and to realize that this is a serious industry now. It’s not something off on the side.
An opening day highpoint for many attendees was the keynote address by A&M president Ron Fair, which explored the ups and downs of the music and recording industries in recent times, looking at the reasons, the repercussions and, most importantly, what the future may bring. He raised some interesting questions about our industry and how over the last few years, it’s seemed to go down considerably, said Furness, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel; he sees it positively now. And, in fact, some of the things that people are concerned about, he views as opportunities. There were many people who wanted to ask questions because the discussion was so stimulating; it was quite a long presentation and no one left.
If it sounds like the best parts of the convention have already come and gone, however, you’re mistaken. Today finds myriad technicals tours taking place, more technical papers and workshops, and, of course, a cornucopia of parties and shows surrounding the show. Between those and an exhibition floor packed to the gills with the latest gear, there’s more than enough to keep everyone busy until sundown on Sunday.