AES Surges In New York

By Clive Young. The 131st AES Convention took over much of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City this weekend.
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By Clive Young. The 131st AES Convention took over much of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City this weekend.

AES events were packed with throngs of attendees this past weekend in New York City's Jacob Javits Convention Center.
By Clive Young.

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New York (October 24, 2011)—The 131st AES Convention took over much of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City this weekend. Having hit the ground running with a robust program of workshops, panels and papers on Thursday, Friday saw the exhibition floor open, resulting in a flood of attendees turning up to see the latest gear, discover the latest trends and take in all that the show had to offer.

There was a lot to discover, of course—this year’s edition featured 312 exhibitors on site, presenting their latest releases as well as tried-and-true products. Thousands of visitors were on hand, and an uptick in attendance at the show is expected when the final results are tallied, according to Chris Plunkett, deputy director, Convention Management at AES. “The last time we were here in New York, we had about 15,000 people here over the course of the convention; this time out, we’re expecting to do between 15,500 and 16,000.”

“If you look around, people are clearly excited to be here,” Plunkett added, “and we know that they’ve been looking forward to it because our preregistration this year was very strong. We had over 7,500 people register for the show on the AES website, which is great. That’s at least 10 percent higher than in the past, so it’s a very good sign.”

The 300-plus companies presenting their wares on the show floor including outfits that haven’t appeared at an AES convention before. “There are a few new exhibitors on the show floor, including a number of companies from the international audio community, which is exciting,” remarked Plunkett. “Also, this show marks the return of the Avid Partnership Pavilion, which is great to have here again. Another thing that’s a new change is that we have both the Yamaha truck and the Harman truck in the back of the exhibition area, which is terrific. It’s all their technology rolled on to the show floor.”

While the AES Convention has always attracted audio professionals from around the country—and increasingly, the world—when the show lands in New York City, it naturally draws more visitors from the East Coast. That, in turn, is a benefit for both exhibitors looking to reach specific markets that call the Big Apple home, and regional audio pros who want to take advantage of the show’s proximity. The end result is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“AES is a good way for us to meet different types of dealers and customers that we don’t normally meet, as we have five different product lines and five different customer groups, so it’s a very diverse picture for us,” said Christian Poulsen, CEO, DPA Microphones. “Our booth has been very busy, which has been a pleasant surprise, as my feeling is that it is busier than it’s been in previous years…and that there’s more people.”

Vinnie Macri, Training and Certification Manager for intercom technologies specialists Clear-Com concurred, noting that for his company, “The New York marketplace is always good for [gauging] East Coast response for our dealers, our partners in the area and our integrators in the area. Also, the East Coast is where all the broadcast decisions are made, plus there’s the performing arts community—particularly the Broadway community—and all of those people are here. At AES, there’s a lot of AV consultants as well; they specify our products into their performing arts spaces and AV projects, so no question, it’s an important show for us to be at.”

While the exhibit floor always seems to be filled with people who’ve attended the show for years, sometimes decades, it’s always some visitors’ first AES Convention and they fully intend to make the most of it. For instance, take veteran live sound pro Phil Reigh of regional sound company Phil Reigh Sound in Bellwood, PA: “I’m looking at a few things while I'm here—I’m interested in AVB technology, so I want to find out a little more about it. I’m also looking for a digital desk I can use as a FOH/Monitor console, things like that. We left Pennsylvania at 5AM this morning, just got in here and we’ll hop in the truck and head back home when they close the doors at 6 and have to throw us out.”

As Sunday afternoon brought the convention to a close, many exhibitors at the Jacob Javits Center began packing up so that they, too, could head home and turns three days of convention excitement into solid business. Come next October, they’ll be able to do it all over again, when the AES Convention returns to the West Coast, landing once again at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.