The 2011 Anderton Awards

The 2011 AES certainly started off on a sour note, when Federal Agents seized everything in the Audio-Technica booth because a security guard overhead someone inquire whether A-T made shotgun mics.
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The 2011 AES certainly started off on a sour note, when Federal Agents seized everything in the Audio-Technica booth because a security guard overhead someone inquire whether A-T made shotgun mics. It only got worse when presidential candidate Herman Cain made a surprise appearance at the show (he’s not a bad singer, actually), said that “Technica” sounded “kind of Latino,” and demanded proof of citizenship for all the sales reps. The situation was getting tense until just in the nick of time, Cain’s 15 minutes of fame were up, and he disappeared in a puff of pepperoni. Close call! Things settled down after that, and the process of handing out liability release forms for the Anderton Awards began in earnest.

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This year’s awards ceremony was held in the spacious AES Daily production complex, where guests settled in for an evening of fine food and wine, excellent conversation, and meaningful awards presented with both taste and camaraderie. Oh, wait…that’s the MIPA Awards. Actually, the showgoers settled in to the usual meat-like substance (later forensic analysis ordered by the state concluded it was most likely Spam), accompanied by one of those fabulous North Dakota wines that are so chic among those who, through no fault of their own, were born without taste buds.

After the exquisite dessert of lime Jell-O with curry, the curtain opened (well it fell down, actually, but injuries were relatively minor). As with previous ceremonies, the winners receive—well, nothing, except for a mention in pro audio’s most prestigious publication. What do you expect for a virtual awards ceremony? So without further ado, please welcome our celebrity presenter, Rex the Wonder Talking Dog—and let the awards begin!

The “World’s Longest Booth” award (aka the “Internet Long Cat Graphic Made Real” award), nominated by distinguished guest judge Frank Wells, goes to SSL for having—well, the world’s longest booth. How long? Each end was in a different area code.

The “Toaster of the Future” award was earned by Ronin Applied Sciences. They make the really cool, over-engineered Pegasus mic, but it’s the chromeplated power supply that caught peoples’ eyes. It looks like something from the ’50s you’d find at Disney’s Tomorrowland, with a narrator solemnly intoning, “In the year 2000, all toasters will look like this, and cook your toast with cosmic rays.”

iZotope’s Ozone 5 Advanced mastering plug-in picked up the “But Seriously, Sometimes We Need to Give a Serious Award, and We’re Serious About This” award. That’s what happens when an already excellent program gets an excellent update.

The “Extreme Cuteness in Analog Meter Emulation” award was won by Lynx for its HiLo. The touch screen has a mode with a meter display that looks just like analog meters. It does something else, too—oh, right, it’s a A/D/A converter that sounds real good.

Audio-Technica won the coveted “Swag of the Show” award for their teeny fold-up umbrella whose instructions state—in all seriousness— that it should not be used as a cane. Well, unless you’re about 18 inches tall. Honorable mention goes to Focusrite’s pens that unlike most swag pens, not only don’t self-destruct in the first 10 minutes, but are substantial enough to be used for self-defense.

The “Bob Moog Lives!” award was a tie between Moog Music for the 500 series version of Bob’s original low-pass ladder filter, and the Bob Moog Foundation for preserving his work (and spirit) for future generations. Thumbs up.

The “Maybe They’re Late to the Party, but They Do Bring Wine and Flowers” award goes to Avid. Pro Tools 10 integrates multiple features that should have been in there a while ago, but to make up for it, they implemented those features really well—and added several new ones, too.

The “Excellence in Internet Bandwidth” award does not go to the Javits Center. When you leave the show early so you can use the free WiFi at Burger King because it’s faster…well, I guess you can have it your way.

The “Allen Greenspan ‘It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time’” award was picked up by iPad audio apps. Remember how everyone had cool iPad audio apps at NAMM? Where did they go?

Waves won the “Most Convoluted Product Design Path” award for its PuigChild, a Fairchildlike hardware processor, based on its Fairchild-like software plug-in, that itself emulated Jack Joseph Puig’s “golden” Fairchild hardware compressor.

The “My Head Might Explode— But My Speakers Won’t” award goes to D-fend by Eminence— a digital, programmable loudspeaker protection/attenuation circuit. Speaker re-coning services are panicking.

And thus concludes another Anderton Awards. We’d like to thank the nice folks at Pro Sound News for posting bail, and assuming a satisfactory conclusion to the lawsuit; we’ll be back next year!

Craig Anderton is executive editor of Electronic Musician magazine and editor in chief of harmonycentral.com.