New York, NY — Driven throughout the ages by a thriving community of thought leaders, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs, Berlin has maintained global significance as a center of culture and scholarship. The city has emerged as a major player in today’s rapid-paced entertainment technology sector and is home to a vibrant electronic music scene that has attracted dozens of record labels, festivals and international media companies. Thus, Berlin was the perfect setting for the 142nd International Audio Engineering Society Convention. Held May 20-23, 2017, at the Berlin Maritim Hotel, the event built on the successes seen in recent years as AES has pivoted its annual European event to become the preeminent technology showcase and learning forum.
The Berlin convention offered attendees a rich technical program with scientific paper presentations, workshops and tutorials on critical trends and best practices, and technical tours to many of Berlin’s historical sites, production studios and broadcast facilities. The program was created by a committee of volunteer experts, co-chaired by Nadja Wallaszkovits, Chief Audio Engineer at Phonogrammarchiv, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Professor Sascha Spors from the University of Rostock.
“Organizing this event was an exciting challenge and a great experience,” said AES Berlin Convention 2017 Co-Chair Nadja Wallaszkovits. “We were very happy to see the convention well-received by attendees – it was the result of our outstanding team effort.” Wallaszkovits and Spors praised the full AES Berlin committee for their dedicated labors. The AES Berlin Convention Committee included Papers Co-Chairs Jamie Angus and Thomas Sporer (Sporer also serving as Convention Treasurer), Workshops Co-Chairs Sascha Disch and Natanya Ford, Facilities Chair Jens Aherns, Student Volunteers Chairs Christoph Hold and Antonia Schwab, and Technical Tours Chair André Maletz. “AES has been an important resource in all our careers,” added Spors. “It feels good to give back to the community and help other people present their research and make connections.”
AES Executive Director Bob Moses expressed his gratitude to the Convention Committee for a job well done “Sometimes I think I have the coolest job in the world,” said Moses. “Industry leaders volunteer to create these amazing events, and leave us an E-Library of peer-reviewed research papers and video recordings. AES Members worldwide, and year-round, can access these materials to stay on top of the field. I’m so grateful for the gifts these folks bring to our community.”
The Committee’s hard work was honored by strong attendance. Registration topped 1800, with technical program attendance 20% higher than last year’s record-setting convention in Paris, continuing a five-year growth trend for the Society. Participation was also strong on the scientific research side, with 160 paper submissions to the technical conference, and the program filling every room available in the Maritim facility.
The exhibition, featuring 60 exhibitors, sponsors and demo rooms, showcased a variety of market-leading edge businesses and products. Genelec and Eventide offered special demo rooms with a hands-on opportunity to experience in an intimate setting the world launch of Genelec’s The Ones expanded triaxial loudspeaker line and Eventide’s preview of the soon-to-be-released H9000, a DSP-laden, networked, multi-channel, multi-effects powerhouse. A highlight of the exhibit floor was the standing-room-only Professional Sound Expo (PSE), with 22 educational sessions moderated by engineer/producer/educator Glenn Lorbecki, who stated, “The Professional Sound Expo at AES Berlin was impressive, judging by the number of people who showed up eager to learn from our all-star presenters. The audiences were pretty evenly split between professionals and students, and they absorbed state-of-the-industry tips and technologies from some of the most highly qualified professionals in their fields. I was honored to host the PSE for the third consecutive convention, and look forward to seeing everyone at 143 in NYC.”
As usual for AES Conventions, several important topics trends inspired a buzz in the hallway (and pub) conversations. The evolution of Immersive audio, requiring new techniques for recording and mixing in multiple channels, and its migration into virtual and augmented reality systems, dominated the weekend. Networked Audio, propelled forward by the seminal AES-67 audio networking standard, was also a popular subject in the technical program and on the exhibition floor. Indeed, the exhibition featured an island of booths connected via a Dante™ Network, coupled with an “Audio Networking Day” on the PSE stage, drawing strong crowds on the third and final day of the show, which usually sees lighter attendance.
An AES Convention would not be complete without the series of Standards Committee meetings, where the industry’s leading systems and product engineers come together to chart a course for interoperability in the market place. In addition, the series of AES Technical Council meetings bring together the top leaders in each audio field to discuss trends, needs and solutions for deployment into the greater AES community. These meetings attract hundreds of professionals from all over the world and incubate the new technologies that will be seen on the exhibit floor and technical programs of future conventions.
With the 142nd Convention in the rear view mirror, the AES and its volunteer community is turning its attention to next year’s AES Europe convention, planned for Milan, Italy, in spring 2018.
Photo Caption: AES Berlin 2017 co-chairs Sascha Spors and Nadja Wallaszkovits led the team that produced the 142nd AES Convention.