LOS ANGELES, CA—It’s been 12 years since the Audio Engineering Society Convention last was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and much as the surrounding area has changed with the development of the Downtown area, so has pro audio itself. From October 9 to 12, the 137th AES Convention celebrated its return to LA, opening its doors to new generations of engineers, students and exhibitors from all over the world, many of whom had never experienced the excitement of visiting the one convention that focuses solely on sound.
The highly anticipated event drew a total of 15,403 registered attendees and 307 exhibitors/ sponsors (more of the latter than in New York City in 2013). At show close, AES reported a 28 percent increase in registration since the last time the convention was on the West Coast (the 133rd AES Convention in San Francisco in 2012).
In short, it was a tidal wave of pros converging in one place to discover the latest and greatest gear on the show floor; learn cutting-edge approaches to their work in workshops, papers and seminars; and connect in the real-world with their peers—something that our increasingly Internet-focused industry doesn’t often offer the opportunity to do.
“I cannot put into words how thrilled I am with the 137th AES Convention,” stated Bob Moses, executive director of the AES. “Our organizing committee really outdid themselves, with over 350 presentations from an astounding 731 leading researchers and practitioners in the field; many of the sessions were standing-room-only. We have some serious momentum built from recent conventions in New York and Berlin, and we are going to keep it going for the coming conventions in Warsaw in May and then back to New York next October. You could say that our conventions and the AES organization have a renewed energy, and we couldn’t be happier.”
The rich selection of audio professionals living and working in Southern California may well have been the biggest beneficiaries, yet no one was more excited than pro audio gear manufacturers filling the exhibition floor. In the midst of pre-show booth setups, many of them shared why an LA return was important to the entire audio community-professionals, academics, students and manufacturers alike.
“I am so happy that AES—the de facto recording show—has returned where most of the recording happens,” commented Brad Lunde, owner of TransAudio Group. “It’s about time.”
The timeliness synched well with some recent advancements within audio production fields—for example, new immersive audio technology, the epicenter of which is most certainly Southern California. “We’re really pleased that the AES Convention is back in LA,” said Peter Chaikin, director of Recording and Broadcast at JBL Professional. “There’s a thriving post production community here; everyone knows that Hollywood is post production. Now we can reach some of those people because this is a home game for them. Whether they slip out on a lunch break or come down on the weekend to see us, we can spend more time with the post production community along with the music community.”
The Society’s conscious effort to place a larger spotlight on broadcast issues was complimentary to the client outreach of those like Karl Kussmaul, product support manager for Lawo Group USA Inc. “Southern California is such a large market for us. Having the show centered here makes a lot of sense; we’ll connect with more customers and often those we won’t see if we exhibit in another city. So this year’s AES is a big opportunity for us in that way.”
Admittedly, explained Kussmaul, the modern realities of audio production budgets also impact convention attendance, thus location is more important than ever. “A lot of customers these days may not be able to travel to another city for both scheduling and budgetary reasons,” he notes. “Having the show near where they work will help everyone considerably.”
The convention was a hit for attendees as well, attending seminars, panels and workshops, eyeballing gear and catching up with the rest of the industry. Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, FOH engineer for Linkin Park, made a point of visiting the convention, even though he was in the middle of rehearsals for the Brazilian leg of the band’s world tour: “Mainly I’m here to say hi to a bunch of friends and manufacturers that I work with—Waves, Rupert Neve Designs, some of those guys that I don’t get to see all the time. And keep my head in what’s new and what’s going on—you’re always wondering what’s going on in Avid Land; always something new and crazy over there.”
If you missed out, keep an eye towards next year when the 139th AES Convention will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, October 29-November 1, 2015.
Audio Engineering Society