When I began working at Pro Sound News, one of my first assignments was to interview a few audio pros about why they were going to attend the next Audio Engineering Society Convention. Some said they always went to check out the latest audio gear, others looked forward to the panels and keynote speakers, and more than a few mentioned the networking opportunities. The one thing that everyone agreed on, however, was that the AES Convention was exciting.
It still is. Every AES show delivers new surprises, people, gear and experiences, and this year’s edition, taking place Oct. 16–19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, will be no exception. If you dig through the show’s site, www.aesshow.com, you’ll see there are new tracks, workshops, events and more—and you shouldn’t miss it.
For many, the top priority is the exhibition floor, where some of the biggest companies in audio are on hand to show off their latest gear. Every day, visitors observe the time-honored tradition of going booth by booth, aisle by aisle and demo room by demo room in search of audio products that’ll improve their work—and work lives! It’s the opportunity to get hands-on with gear you may have only heard about, discover new solutions and meet the people behind the equipment you use each day.
There’s more to see than the exhibition floor, however—as the slogan says, “If it’s about audio, it’s at AES.” Game audio? To paraphrase Apple, there’s a track for that. Archiving and restoration? There’s a track for that. Immersive audio? Acoustics and psychoacoustics? Recording? Live sound? There are tracks for those, too, and a lot of other topics as well.
You can expect packed rooms at the new EDM track, which will explore “The Art & Origins of Sampling” and offer two separate workshops on mixing the beat-heavy genre: the “Mixing EDM Masterclass” led by multi-Platinum/Grammy-winning mix engineer Ariel Borujow, and “Remixing—Breaking the Illusion” featuring remix engineer Rick Snoman.
For many, the Product Development track is their must-see, serving up events like Virtual Development Day, which explores best practices and technologies for creating audio products, while other sessions delve into automotive audio with self-explanatory titles like “Can DSP Fix a Bad Loudspeaker?”
At every event, you’ll finds pros sharing the insight and knowledge that can only come from those who can say, “Been there, done that … and that … and that….” With that in mind, the opening ceremony will feature keynote speaker, hip-hop legend and pioneering turntablist Grandmaster Flash discussing his groundbreaking work in his address, “Evolution of the Beat.” A day later, the 20th annual Heyser Lecture will find Louis D. Fielder presenting “Psychoacoustics Applied to Dynamic-Range and Nonlinear-Distortion Assessment.”
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In recent times, the Sound Reinforcement track has been gaining an ever-higher profile, and this year’s edition will continue that trajectory. Offerings like “Seven Steps to a Successful Sound System Design,” “AC Power, Grounding and Shielding” and “Your Noise Isn’t My Noise: Improving Sound Exposure and Noise Pollution Management at Outdoor Events” hint at the breadth of topics and information that will be offered. In particular, if you work with wireless gear, the annual “RF Super Session,” which finds pros and manufacturers sharing their thoughts on RF spectrum, regulatory changes and best practices, is simply not to be missed.
The AES Convention is always programmed with an eye toward providing something for professionals at every level, and while it certainly attracts audio veterans at the top of their game, those just starting out will find lots to take in as well, like the Education and Career Fair, the annual Student Recording Competition and Student Design Competition, the second annual AES MATLAB Plug-In Student Competition, and the ever-popular Student Recording Critiques, where a panel of pros shares their thoughts and advice on submitted recordings, designs and software.
All of this only scratches the surface of what’s offered at the AES Convention this year; there’s plenty more going on that’s guaranteed to fill your brain, sharpen your skills and pack your schedule. Plus—and I have this on good authority—it’s exciting.