Each month, as I address this column, I ponder things I’ve seen and learned in the last few weeks, people I’ve spoken with, facilities visited, articles read, new toys played with, new sounds heard. But once I year, I know well in advance what I’m going to talk to you about, returning to a familiar theme. No, not the ongoing evidence of and continually morphing landscape of industry change, which could be considered a recurrent theme as bundled into our discussions of technology, business models and working patterns.
The subject today, dear readers, is the upcoming 131st AES Convention, to be held this year October 20 to 23 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. I believe I’ve managed to avoid just rewriting the same thoughts on the subject of the AES Conventions as I revisit the topic each year, though some repetition of core themes are inevitable. But as my friend and current AES president, Jim Kaiser, has opined, the AES is something different to each of its members; the conventions are something different to each of the thousands of attendees.
If you work in academia, the opportunity to present scholarly research papers may be important to you. If you work in product development, seeing such presentations may catch your attention, helping you conceive today of tomorrow’s products. Or you might be interested in standards work, helping products communicate together and streamlining workflow. If you work in audio production, you may be most interested in sessions with your peers and with industry legends, where you can learn and share techniques and solutions to common problems. If you work in pro audio manufacturing, sales and distribution, meeting potential customers may be your primary focus. If a student, the tutorial sessions and various production competitions may be the lure that brings you to the AES Convention. For all, there’s a general camaraderie of shared interests.
The annual AES Conventions remain the only national event focused singularly on professional audio in all its permutations. Unlike many conventions, these are open to all who are interested—you won’t be shut out or have limited access because you aren’t a member, though attendees are obviously encouraged to join their likeminded compatriots in the organization. The technical program, lovingly crafted by 131st Convention chair Jim Anderson and a legion of volunteers, is the draw for thousands. The toy store that is the exhibits floor of the Convention is the draw for thousands more. The multitudinous opportunities to learn, share and network are a draw for all comers.
We have certainly noted here before that our industry has grown more insular. In these new production paradigms, the opportunities to learn from our peers, to build relationships that benefit our work, don’t come as easily as in the past. AES, both in terms of the activities of local sections, and on the national and international levels at conventions and conferences, embodies a unique and valuable way to build and maintain the sense of community that was once developed more routinely and organically. Visit AES.org and explore the program offerings for the upcoming 131st annual conclave. And if at all possible, make your plans to join your peers in New York in October. I truly believe the AES Conventions are worth the investment, and have heard testimonials from legions that agree. We hope to see you there.