With the restraining order from last year’s Anderton Awards still in effect (but c’mon—no one actually died from the food), this year the world’s only virtual awards show relied on a distinguished panel of judges, none of whom had been convicted of a recent felony. With catering provided by Tony Famolari’s Famous Hot Dogs (their slogan: “It’s the best of times because it’s the wurst of times!”), and with assurances the meat wasn’t from actual dogs, the lights dimmed—I guess we kinda need to pay the electric bill—and the Anderton Awards were again poised to recognize products that might not otherwise gain recognition.
So, let’s have a warm round of applause for our celebrity presenters: Singer Gort Squeamish and drummer Johhnnee Junk from Blarf, the world’s most-disliked (but most importantly, least expensive) Sex Pistols tribute band. Pass the envelopes!
The Donald Trump It’s Huge, Really Huge, Huge and Beautiful!!! award went to the 143rd AES Convention itself—compared to last year, registration was up 25 percent, and the technical programs attracted 40 percent more alleged humanoid bipeds.
iLok picked up the Death Cab for Dongle award by offering cloud-based copy protection as an alternative to those delightfully dangling dongles. However, you need a reliable internet connection, so don’t expect any booth at the Anaheim NAMM show to use it.
Kludge Audio won the Transformers—But Not a Dumb Movie award for the Model 510 Transwarmer, which is just a really sweet audio transformer in a 500-series module. You know you want it.
The Excellence in Domestic Argument Prevention award went to Kii Audio for its compact Kii THREE loudspeaker, which uses clever DSP and multiple radiators to create a near-cardioid coverage pattern without rear reflections—no more arguments about where to put the speakers. Sure, they’re $11.5K/pair...but that’s much cheaper than a divorce lawyer.
Dangerous Music again won the Hey, That Actually Sounds Like Music! award for its CONVERT-AD+ mastering converter. Yet the mystery endures: Why does their gear sound good even on the show floor?
The coveted I Can’t Believe They Pay Me to Do This award went to sound designers using the Krotos audio-mangling Reformer Pro software, which is designed for real-time performance of Foley and sound effects by morphing audio input with sound libraries. Who wouldn’t want to laugh into a mic, and have a laughing tiger come out the other end?
In a highly unusual tie, iZotope (for Neutron 2 and Ozone 8) and Sonible (for its three EQ+ series products) shared the Kraftwerk Memorial Rise of the Machines award for plug-ins that use AI to make audio sound good. Is this the end of engineers? Of course not—plug-ins can’t break up fistfights among band members. At least not yet.
The Fool Me Once, Shame on Me—Fool Me Twice, and It’s Virtual Reality award went to immersive and 3D audio. But can audio ever be made indistinguishable from reality? Yes! It’s called “live performance,” a groundbreaking new way to enjoy music!
Avid picked up the Better Late than Never award for its useful MIDI enhancements in Pro Tools 12.8.2. Confirmed: after three-plus decades, MIDI is here to stay.
The Hey Digital Fanbois, It All Starts and Ends as Analog award was presented to microphones and speakers—Bock’s U67 re-creation, Audio Technica’s AT 5047, Soyuz’s more affordable mics, Sony’s dual-capsule C-100 microphone, DPA’s CORE by DPA model mics with extra headroom, Samra condenser mics, subs from Dynaudio, PMC’s lower-cost, high-end Result6 monitors, HEDD’s new three-driver monitors, Genelec’s Ones, and the like.
PreSonus won the Let’s Give Them Two Big Hands award for the Faderport 16—16 channels of motorized faders for under a grand. It’s hand-y!
The Sixth Sense “I See Red People” award went to Focusrite. Red multi-format interfaces, RedNet audio-over-IP, and now a new division, Focusrite Pro—you red it here first.
Eventide garnered the Star Trek “I Actually Can Give You More Power, Captain” award for the Eventide H9000, whose 16 DSP engines allow for doing insanely great, and possibly illegal, processing in surround productions.
The Fifth Wedding Anniversary award was a sapphire presented to the ever-popular Project Studio Expo, which married AES five years ago to help lift the veils of audio ignorance from the masses. Happy anniversary!
And as another Anderton Awards falls off the stage and into the record books, let’s bid a fond farewell to AES 2017. As to next year, we don’t even have to unpack our bags or move from our deluxe accommodations at the Port Authority Bus Terminal restrooms, because AES is returning to the Big Apple in 2018 for a repeat performance...see you then!