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Reconnecting with the Pro Audio Industry

Diversity, Thomas Dolby, Spinal Tap, custom gear and more await on Day One of the 145th AES Convention.

At its heart, audio is all about connection—the transfer and understanding of ideas and information—so it’s only fitting that the 145th AES International Convention’s theme is “Connect.” Audio pros from around the globe are descending on the Jacob Javits Convention Center this week to reconnect once again with their industry, with manufacturers of the gear they use every day, with new ideas presented at panels and workshops, and most importantly, with their fellow sound professionals.

Despite the fact that the Convention caters to every niche of the industry, there are some events that bring everyone together—like today’s highly anticipated Opening Ceremonies at 12:15 pm in 1E15. Besides being an opportunity to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the AES and the audio engineering world, the event will also feature a keynote by musician, technologist and educator Thomas Dolby. While known to most for the go-to Eighties hit, “She Blinded Me with Science,” these days, he’s a Professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and will be discussing next-generation sound technologies—in particular adaptive/non-linear music and audio for games, VR/AR, “hearables” and other new media platforms—in his speech, “The Conscious Sound Byte.”

The AES Convention not only presides over a number of different pro audio sectors, but also provides an opportunity to ensure that those sectors are inclusive to all—an initiative that the Audio Engineering Society has spearheaded in recent times and will explore further with today’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee Town Hall at 9:30 AM in 1E15. The Committee aims to improve accessibility to the industry for all, welcoming diverse genres, embracing emergent audio fields and research, and radiating inclusiveness to all gender and gender identities, races, physical abilities, ages, and nationalities. This year’s Town Hall will provide an update of the committee’s efforts and provide a platform for more input from the community.

While audio is all about listening, there are those who prefer to do—and the AES has them covered, too, with its Audio Builders Track, which kicks off today with the Custom Gear Show at 4 PM, right in the Crystal Palace (that’s the lobby). A team of pros will cover some of pro audio’s most popular projects and modifications to consumer and professional gear.

Ultimately the AES Convention is an opportunity to discover new ideas and solutions on the exhibit floor, at panels and inside workshops, regardless whether you’re here for recording, live sound, game sound, archiving or something else—or all of the above! Need to brush up on recording essentials? Visit the Project Studio Recording Expo Stage. You’re a broadcaster who wandered in from the NAB Show NY next door? Visit the Live Production Stage, which today focuses on broadcasting-related audio panels. Spent the day walking around and need a good break? Catch Derek Smalls, bassist of the legendary Spinal Tap (yes, that Spinal Tap), as he deconstructs the production of his new solo album, Smalls Change, at 4:45 in 1E15. This year’s theme is “Connect,” so as they say, when in Rome….