AES in L.A.: The Sequel

Los Angeles is the home of Hollywood, and certainly Tinsletown is all about sequels, so it’s only fitting that this month will see the long-awaited follow-up to a bona-fide hit: 2014’s Audio Engineering Society Convention, which took place in L.A. While industry watchers that year suspected there was pent-up demand for the annual convocation to return to the City of Angels, the response was far stronger than just about anyone expected. Now the AES is returning to L.A. and the expectations are just as high as in 2014—and again, the Society is ready to roll.
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The AES Convention in Los Angeles, 2014.

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Los Angeles is the home of Hollywood, and certainly Tinsletown is all about sequels, so it’s only fitting that this month will see the long-awaited follow-up to a bona-fide hit: 2014’s Audio Engineering Society Convention, which took place in Los Angeles.

Every year, the Audio Engineering Society holds its Convention in the fall, alternating between the East and West coasts. 2014 saw the grand event return to Los Angeles for the first time in more than a decade, and the result was a blast. While industry watchers suspected there was pent-up demand for the annual convocation to return to the City of Angels, the response was far stronger than just about anyone expected.

To its credit, the AES stepped up to meet those long-simmering, high expectations head-on, as it fielded a strong slate of events, workshops, papers, panels and more. There was a little something for everyone, no matter their audio interest or level of ability, whether they wanted to find their next big gear purchase on the exhibit floor, learn new ways of working from top pros on the panels, or merely get slightly star struck in the presence of legendary producers and engineers.

Now, following last year’s Convention in New York (which was nothing to sneeze at), the AES is returning to L.A. and the expectations are just as high as in 2014—and again, the Society is ready to roll. As is the case with all good sequels, this year’s convention will give you more of what you loved last time, but it’s also throwing in some new twists to keep things fresh.

Taking place September 29 through October 2 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the show is switching things around this year. In the past, the technical program kicked off on the first day, but the exhibit floor didn’t open until the second day of the show. For 2016, however, everything’s full-on, right out of the gate, and the Convention’s final day will become the exhibit floor-less day.

Walking the exhibit floor is the time-honored ritual of every AES attendee—it’s an opportunity to visit with the companies whose gear and technologies you use every day. Meandering the floor always reveals innovative new exhibitors you never heard of, cool creative applications that you never considered before and new equipment that might change the way you work forever.

But there’s more to scoping out the floor than merely metaphorically kicking tires; it’s one of those increasingly rare chances to connect with others in an industry where the term “networking” usually has something to do with Cat 5 cable. Discovering that there’s real people behind the knobs and software you use daily can be a thrill, secondary only to the experience of them proudly showing you their latest creation. Catching up with industry pals, finding a mentor or just being able to talk shop with people who actually know what you’re talking about is an uplifting, energizing experience that online forums and social media can’t even begin to replicate.

Throughout the Convention, there’s a slew of tracks that are focused on topics relevant to every kind of audio professional; this year sees copious offerings under specialized tracks in Broadcast & Streaming; Game Audio; Networked Audio; Product Development; Recording & Mastering; Sound for Picture; and Sound Reinforcement. In each case, there’s sessions featuring panels of pros, discussing everything from electroacoustic design and verification of headphones, to how sound has been handled for past and recent presidential debates and conventions.

And don’t forget about AES’s brand-new, co-located Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality Conference. As the field is still just finding its feet when it comes to sound, attending the AVAR Conference may be your opportunity to get in on the next major paradigm shift to hit pro audio.

It’s all pretty cool—but you can’t explore or experience any of this things unless you’re there. Check out aesshow.com to find out more about everything the convention has to offer, and then make plans to go. Once you go to an AES Convention, you’ll keep coming back in the future—because everybody loves a good sequel