By Frank Wells.
It’s that time of year again–summer is on the wane, and audio professionals begin anticipating each year’s best opportunity to recharge their intellectual batteries, to reconnect with colleagues, to take stock of where we are and where we are going as an industry, science and art. That opportunity is, of course, the annual fall Audio Engineering Society Convention. This year’s 127th conclave is slated for October 9-12 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.
The New York conventions are traditionally the best attended of the Convention series, and this year should prove no exception in part for very practical reasons; while the economy is still in the doldrums, that means hotel rooms in, and plane flights to, NYC are at the lowest levels in years. There’s also no single event that gathers so many in our industry in the same place for direct contact. The audio industry faces the same economic challenges as the rest of the planet, and many of our brethren are looking hard for new business opportunities and ways to extend and expand an existing business. Direct interaction with our audio peers is irreplaceable in the pursuit of such goals. We may all be motivated by our passion for sound and music, but we also require shelter and sustenance making the business of audio a crucial part of our daily endeavors.
While the social and business interface opportunities presented by the AES Convention are more vital than ever before, that doesn’t at all lessen the value of the other aspects of the event. The trade fair of the exhibits floor is the main draw for many–the opportunity to examine and evaluate new tools of the trade. The AES Convention exhibits floor is a toy store for audio professionals, inspiring all of the want lust of a child at Toys-R-Us but with the decided benefit of direct interactions with the designers and manufacturers of the toys-for-grown-ups.
The future direction of audio equipment and software design is another critical aspect of the AES Convention. Professional audio’s best minds are brought to public view and scrutiny in the widely varied paper and poster presentations in the convention’s technical program. These presentations telegraph the products of the future and share the latest developments the theoretical underpinnings of the products of today. AES Standards work is also in full swing at the convention, with committees and subcommittees using the occasion to further their efforts towards unified and globally beneficial refinement of the practices and protocols that are at the core of audio tools and that allow these products to seamlessly communicate and interface.
For the audio neophyte and the experienced alike, tutorials, seminars and workshops offer AES attendees the opportunity to extend their professional knowledge. The subject matter of these offerings spans the full range of the audio arts–there’s truly something for any and every audio professional, regardless of their specific sub-discipline or level of proficiency. The student-specific program also includes competitions in various categories, with feedback from professionals who serve as judges. Students have additional chances to interact with professionals in job fair and mentoring sessions.
The history of audio is celebrated at the AES Convention through a number of sessions that give perspective as to how we’ve arrived at today’s industry. The art of audio production and the capture of artistry so often at the foci of the industry’s endeavors is celebrated and shared in historical and other special events. Full advantage of the concentration of facilities of note in New York City in technical tours and through the participation of the New York talent pool in a number of presentations.
All in all, the annual AES conventions, the only such events focused purely on audio and the only conventions whose scope includes the entire spectrum of professional audio enterprise, are the single best opportunity for audio pros to interact and learn. These challenging times of rapid change, both in terms of technology and business, only serve to increase the relevance of the AES’ activities in general, and of the conventions specifically.
The PSN team will be there, publishing the AES Daily to guide you through maximizing your personal AES Convention experience. Here’s hoping we see you in New York.