The 2014 Anderton Awards

It was a cliffhanger: With the founder of the audio industry’s only virtual awards show absent due to pressing family concerns, the Anderton Awards seemed in as much peril as Lindsay Lohan’s career.
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Craig Anderton It was a cliffhanger: With the founder of the audio industry’s only virtual awards show absent due to pressing family concerns, the Anderton Awards seemed in as much peril as Lindsay Lohan’s career. But like a Phoenix rising from its Arizona, a distinguished panel of judges was immediately granted Power of Attorney to submit nominations for products worthy of recognition in this prestigious audio magazine—whose reputation miraculously remains unsullied, despite hosting the Anderton Awards for over a decade.

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So welcome to the awards! Now that you’ve enjoyed the food-like substances rated “potentially edible” by the cream of the Hollywood élite, let’s welcome our celebrity presenter. We couldn’t afford Kim Kardashian, but one Kim is as good as another—so please give a warm AES welcome to Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea and a huge fan of 6V6 vacuum tubes! The envelopes, please...

Honoring Los Angeles’ Sister City in Sin, the Las Vegas Playing the Slots Award goes to SSL for its XL-Desk midsize console that accepts 500 series modules. But some things never change... the odds are stacked in favor of the house. House mix, that is.

The I Won’t Take that Lying Down...or Maybe I Will Award goes to Genelec’s 8251, a three-way speaker you can place horizontally or vertically with unchanged imaging. Attendees drunk enough to pass out on the floor confirmed that the speakers sounded just fine standing up or lying down. I guess they didn’t understand Genelec meant the speaker, not the listener.

Touch screens weren’t touching themselves, but they still earn the Jim Morrison “Touch Me” Award. PreSonus’s RM Series mixers were cool—stick the hardware brains and I/O in a corner, have them talk over Wi-Fi and integrate with other AI components, and control them with a nifty touch screen controller. Meanwhile, Slate integrated batch processing into the Raven 2.0 touch controller, and iPads continue to act as interpreters for various hardware pet brains.

The Best of AES 2013 Award goes to Apogee for its Ensemble 30x34. Thanks to Thunderbolt 2 technology, the unit is so fast it went backwards in time—and ended up at the 2013 show, where it picked up an Anderton Award that’s now being awarded retroactively.

Waves picked up the Hey Look, There’s a Musical Instrument! Award for the Codex Wavetable synth. It basically celebrates computers now being fast enough to do seamless wavetable morphs. And if you don’t know why that’s cool, you don’t deserve one.

The Netflix Hulu HBO “No More Cable” Award goes to TASCAM for its DR-44WL (4-track) and DR-22WL (2-track) wireless handheld recorders—the built-in Wi-Fi server provides download access to recorded files, and interfaces with an iOS/Android remote control app that can play files directly from the recorder.

The Blue Ribbon Award goes to...ribbon mics. From AEA’s new phantom-powered N8, to the rugged ribbon in Sandhill Audio’s 6011, to the RM1 active ribbon from Cliff Microphones, ribbons took a bow.

The AES Mobile app wins the coveted Beam Me Up, Scotty! Award. In addition to providing a stay of execution for lots of trees, it gave the location for a booth you wanted to find based on where you were. There’s even a rumor that extra-terrestrial software company Zynaptiq will be designing a teleportation function for next year’s version.

The If Trent Reznor Likes Their Stuff, that’s Good Enough for Me Award goes to Soundtoys 5—which folds 12 way-cool effects into a single “soft rack.” Customize the order of effects, add global feedback, and with sufficient programming skill, create sounds that can cause unwanted houseguests to flee in horror.

Focusrite garners the Dante’s Internal Award, presented by none other than esteemed industry veteran Mike Rivers, for continuing to develop audio over Ethernet by making their interfaces more live sound- and broadcast-friendly— smaller size, more channels, and more redundancy.

The Be Fruitful and Multiply Award goes to the Project Studio Expo not just for continuing to be an ultra-cool reason to attend AES, but inspiring the creation of the Live Sound Expo. Plans are already in place for next year’s What Were We Thinking Expo, featuring workshops on how to undo excessive compression from masters and remove gated reverb from 80s recordings.

And as the curtain closes on another Anderton Awards, we’d like to thank the City of Los Angeles for being beautiful, baby...don’t ever change! But the only constant is change, so assuming that poodleshark zombie mutants don’t take over the world, we’ll see you next year in New York!

Author/musician Craig Anderton has presented seminars on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and in three languages. Check out his music at youtube.com/thecraiganderton