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AES 2018: Something ‘Special’ Going On

By Clive Young. We’re at the halfway mark for this year’s convention, but there’s plenty of exciting offerings still ahead at AES.

We’ve passed the halfway mark for this year’s AES Convention, but that doesn’t mean things are slowing down or that all the good stuff has already taken place. On the contrary, the show’s just getting started. Whether it’s blockbuster panels with recording legends, lectures from trendsetting audio pros or simply the draw of checking out all that cool gear on the exhibit floor, there’s still plenty to do at the 145 AES Convention.

Right off the bat, there’s four Special Events today, and they each define “Special.” Don’t miss the lunchtime keynote at 12:30 PM in 1E15 with engineer Prince Charles Alexander (The Notorious B.I.G., P. Diddy, Destiny’s Child, Aretha Franklin) exploring how Hip-Hop has always embraced and pushed music technologies.

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Then at 2:45 PM in the same room, key studio pros will get together to discuss “Studio Stories—Remastering Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty,” looking at how they dealt with an album recorded in multiple atypical environments and how they approached remastering it in order to meet modern aural expectations.

At 5:15 PM in 1E10, it’s the Supergroup of Sound, the Avengers of Engineering—the METAlliance. During their panel, “The Mission,” Chuck Ainlay, Ed Cherney, Franki Filipetti, George Massenburg, Elliot Scheiner and Al Schmitt will discuss their ongoing efforts to promote standards of quality in the art and science of recording music. Besides playing back examples of their work, they’ll also share stories and discuss the group’s work to impart their insights to current and future professionals who approach music with a sense of craftsmanship.

Closing out Friday will be the annual Heyser Lecture (6:30 PM; 1E15), where John Meyer, co-founder of Meyer Sound Labs, will present “Taking the Room Out of the Loudspeaker: New Tools for Transparent Reproduction.”

Saturday has plenty to offer, too. The exhibition floor will be closed (better ogle all that gear on Friday!), but the Javits Center will still be hopping with events like Greg Wells’ Lunchtime Keynote in 1E15, “Please Make My Job Easier.” Earlier at 10:45 AM in the same room, the Platinum Mastering panel, featuring all-stars in the field like Bob Ludwig, Andreas Mayo and Ron McMaster, will look at the many roles the mastering engineer plays in today’s increasingly complex music industry.

Game audio practitioners will want to hit the Javits on Saturday for a half-dozen strong panels, including the closeout “Mixing in VR,” which will demo mixing in VR live on stage.

Live sound pros will also want to catch Troy Clair of Clair Global and FOH engineer Dave Natale (The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, countless others) impart hard-won road wisdom in “The Audio Vendor and Band Mixer Relationship” in 1E08 at 1:45 PM.

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You don’t hear a lot about DJs and their crucial roles in pro audio at AES, but those times are changing, as evidenced by the addition this year of the panel, “From Studio to Stage—The Impact of Technology on Live Production,” which will share how advancements in technology and software have transformed the live and studio performances of DJs, looping artists and producers. Held at 3 PM in 1E21, you can’t miss it.

But if you do miss it—or you missed anything else this week, or you just can’t get enough of the AES Convention, fear not. The 147 AES International Convention will once again take place here at the Javits Center on October 16-19, 2019. Mark your calendars and we’ll see you next year!