Even with the announcement that the Anderton Awards would proceed as planned (despite that little misunderstanding last year with celebrity presenter Kim Jong Il and the freakishly large poodle), nothing could dampen the high spirits at this year’s AES Convention in San Francisco. Granted, Californians rejected Prop 19 (which would have essentially legalized pot) just before the show, so the spirits weren’t as high as they might have been, but they were very high nonetheless.
And unlike all those silly, big companies that didn’t show up, there was no downsizing for the Anderton Awards! The industry’s only virtual awards show was back in full force, and we’re happy to report that there were no serious injuries (or at least, no legally actionable ones) at this year’s glamorous awards banquet. The wine flowed freely—then again, that’s to be expected when the keg breaks—and most attendees, despite being thrown off by the slightly greenish hue, correctly identified the food-like substance as something that had likely belonged to a chicken.
For those unfamiliar with the Anderton Awards, companies receive a few column inches in this prestigious publication, along with...well, nothing else. What did you expect? It’s a virtual awards show, so just be thankful you don’t have to listen to interminable acceptance speeches. But let’s move along fast, because we have a record (or is that a “digital download”?) number of awards this year...the envelopes, please!
The Square Peg in a Round Hole award went to Millennia Media, for its AD596—the first digital module to crash the analog party of series 500 modules. Speaking of which, 500 series modules once again won the Let’s Do Lunch award. It seems every company with a soldering iron and the ability to bend sheet metal had some nifty little lunchbox gizmo.
Avid picked up the Tammy Wynette D-I-V-O-R-C-E award, for divorcing Pro Tools software from Avid hardware. In a statement from their publicist, both parties said they remain friends, and that the split was amicable. Good to hear! Avid also won the Rip Van Winkle Memorial “I Just Woke Up, and Hey, It’s the Friggin’ 21st Century” for including delay compensation in Pro Tools 9.
SSL earned the hotly contested Don’t Be Boxed In, Here’s Your Box for When You’re In the Box award—the company’s Nucleus includes the features (interface, control surface, Duende processing) you need when mixing “in the box.” Only one vote separated it from the runner-up, Audient’s ASP 2802 mixer/ controller.
The Samuel Clemens “Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated” award went to vacuum tubes, and in a fitting tribute, the award was presented by Bill Clinton, who conceded that tubes deserved the title “comeback kid” far more than he did. In fact, there were so many tubes on the show floor, you could see some people roasting marshmallows over designer mic preamps and imitation Pultec EQs.
Trident Series 82 consoles garnered the Big, Bold, Bodacious, Brash and Beautiful award for its large-format consoles. Even the price was reasonable, because the consoles are so big the PMI Audio team simply lived in them during the convention, saving big bucks on San Francisco hotel costs.
The Support Your Local Chiropractor award went to Focal for the SM9 speakers. Sure, they sound fabulous— but once they’ve been placed where you want them, don’t try to move them by yourself! You’ve been warned. Trust us.
Neumann garnered the Sign of the End Times award for introducing a line of—yes, really—monitor speakers. However, there’s no truth that the company will be introducing a DAW, code-named Alfred E. Neumann, at Winter NAMM.
Korg picked up the We Want More Than Foreplay award for the multitrack DSD recording system shown at a private suite in the W Hotel. Price? Unknown. Name? Unknown. Introduction date? Unknown. However, Korg did receive a heavy fine from the AES Convention directors for breaking the rule stating that any software shown in a private suite must crash multiple times. It didn’t— looks ready to me! Ship it!
On a sad note, the Pink Floyd Memorial “Wish You Were Here” award goes to Les Paul and Robert Moog. AES Conventions just aren’t the same without them. Neither is the world.
Finally, the You Can’t Keep a Good Show Down award goes to the AES Convention itself. The new blood from smaller companies, with innovative designs and truly nice people, more than made up for the absence of big companies who didn’t learn the lesson they should have learned from Summer NAMM. This is a great industry, and it put on a great show...so great that we can’t even come up with a snarky comment to end this year’s awards ceremony. So we’ll just leave it at this: See you next year!
Craig Anderton is executive editor of EQ magazine and editor in chief of Harmony Central.