If a car company can appropriate a Christmas tune for an annual sales event, surely the audio industry can do the same, the sentiment capturing the enthusiastic anticipation of the annual AES Convention here in the US. Returning to city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Center for the first time in a dozen years, the enthusiasm for the 137th AES Convention is palpable.
Last year’s New York convention saw the greatest attendee registration count in recent history and a renewed vigor evidenced by attendees and exhibitors. The 137th Convention is benefiting from that success. The exhibitor and sponsor count is higher than in NYC in 2013 and still inching upward, necessitating an expansion of the footprint for the exhibition hall.
The equally important factor generating excitement for the 137th is the long-overdue return to LA as a site for the biannual west coast Convention locale. With so much of our industry centered in LA along with its population density, the fit is natural, even if the rebuild of the Los Angeles Convention Center initially necessitated what became too extended an absence. Audio pros in LA are looking forward to welcoming their worldwide peers and to attending the Convention, yet returning to sleep in their own beds each night.
Since last in LA, the technical program of the Conventions has done nothing but continue to improve and expand its perennially superlative offerings. Of particular interest to LA attendees will be the strength of the sound for picture, gaming, recording and live sound tracks. Now entering its third year, the successful Project Studio Expo will find a natural audience amongst LA audio practitioners. The exhibits floor program, free to all registrants, provides training and education for recordists, presented by recording professionals. That model is expanded this year with the Live Sound Expo. With its own stage and audience area on the exhibits floor, a roster of leading live sound experts has been assembled for a program developed by editors from Pro Sound News and other NewBay titles. The broad list of LSE topics includes tutorials on fundamentals, paired with application specific training and case study presentations. Veteran live sound engineer and industry journalist, Mark Frink, will be on-hand to host the LSE program.
For audio professionals, AES conventions offer a unique experience. That AES is an organization with a charter keyed on education is part of what makes the conventions unique. While there are audio elements to the trade shows and other conventions put on by other groups in the greater entertainment community, audio pros can still feel marginalized. At AES conventions, the focus is completely on audio. The attendees are universally focused on audio; the networking opportunities are unparalleled. The exhibition, even where exhibitors have non-audio aspects to their business, is audio-centric. If you live and breathe audio, AES conventions are pure oxygen.
Evidence of the unique nature of AES conventions can also be found in the infrastructure of the conventions. The staff of the AES is small, extremely dedicated and impossibly overworked, particularly at this time of year. While the staff has the unenviable task of the cat-herding that goes with having the AES program almost completely developed by volunteers, those volunteers are nonetheless responsible for, year after year, producing the most comprehensive audio program content available at any event worldwide, bar none—content that is also of exceptional quality.
Peruse our Convention preview content in this month's issue. Visit aes.org/events/137/ and scroll through the convention program, including the special events listings. Scroll through the list of exhibitors. Start making your plans to get yourself to LA. No excuses. As an audio professional, you owe yourself the experience. See you in LA.