Last year at this time there was serious discussion as to whether there would even be an AES convention for 2001 in New York after the events on Sept. 11.
Gory details and safety concerns notwithstanding, the AES committed to a December convention in New York. Although the event was understated, with not a lot of new products or selling, by all accounts the convention was deemed by organizers and most participants as a muted success.
Almost a year later, with continued sluggishness in the audio industry, no one expects an avalanche of new products. Yet there is an undercurrent of thought that AES 2002, set for Oct. 5-8 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, may offer more new products than expected.
Perhaps reflecting the growing dominance of digital media and audio/video media convergence, this year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione.
Chiariglione has been instrumental in the development of the MPEG specification and is involved with HDTV and media content delivery specifications.
Sessions and seminars will range from surround-sound miking techniques to line array theory to the ever-changing role of producer/engineer.
Technical paper sessions will include a session on audio networking and automotive radio. The session on Oct. 7 from 2-4:30 p.m., will include assessment of sound fields and the measurement of speech intelligibility in cars. Also being discussed will be “mutually immersive audio telepresence.” This technology attempts to create the audio perception in the listener of being in a remote location, while simultaneously creating the perception for people in the remote location that the user of the system is present there.
The system is being explored as a substitute for business travel, but could conceivably be developed to bring the live concert experience to listeners.
Workshops will include tutorials on the application of multichannel sound formats in vehicles, what audio engineers should know about human sound perception and studio production and practices.
Special events at the show include the annual AES Business Meeting, Oct. 5 from 8:30-9 a.m. The opening ceremonies, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. will include the AES Awards Presentation.
The awards acknowledge the work of individuals whose contributions to the AES enhance the audio industry. A list of recipients, unavailable at press time, will appear in the convention program.
On Oct. 6 from 6:30-8 p.m., an old-time radio recreation of the Lux Radio Theatre production of “The Jazz Singer” will be staged. Richard Halpern will be featured in the starring role; Herb Ellis directs.
As is traditional, microphones will lead the product introductions. Expect new handheld mics from Electro-Voice, ADK, Brauner and Soundelux amongst others.
Dirk Brauner offers AES attendees their first look at his first nontube microphone. The Phantom C is a FET mic geared for studio use.
Wireless mics continue to ride the technology train by offering expanded features, ranges and accessories along with improved performance.
Many affordable “contractor” systems now offer the features and specs you would have seen on a high-end system a couple of years ago and at a quarter of the price.
Promising more hefty processing features, TC Electronics is showing an upgraded System 6000 digital processing platform. Also new is TC’s Reverb 6000, a processor designed more toward the high end (think Yamaha SREV1 and Sony DRE-S777) rather than a simple spring reverb box or bargain multieffects processor.
Aphex has an upgrade too. The Model 2020 Broadcast Audio Processor is up to MkIII with improved processing algorithms and new circuitry.
Summit Audio has a new preamp out, the 2BA-221 Microphone and Line Module (fancy talk for a mic pre/DI box). The 2BA-221 offers solid-state and tube signal paths.
Noise filtering is the latest from Drawmer. The DF330 is designed to eliminate broadband noise, low-frequency rumble and high-frequency noise.
Consoles and mixers are another area in which AES usually has promising debuts or significant upgrades.
The Max Air from Euphonix is a 96-channel digital audio board for broadcast duties based on the System 5 platform. On the upgrade front is the latest for the System 5 operating system along with improvements to the R-1 digital multitrack recorder system.
A double-barrel blast is what Yamaha will give many show attendees, with two new digital consoles. The O2R96 is the long-awaited, more-powerful followup to the popular O2R console while the DM-2000 is a full-featured multipurpose mid-sized digital board.
Calrec’s Sigma 100 will be new to most attendees. The broadcast-oriented board is based on the Alpha platform and handles HDTV/surround-sound duties.
In something of a new direction for audio, Sony is debuting a field mixer. The DMX-PO1 is a four-channel digital mixer with up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution. More traditionally, Sony is rolling out the SIU-100, a 160-channel routing matrix/format converter for the DMX-R100 console.
Adding its two yen to the resurgent ENG/location mixer field is Kamesan of Japan, distributed in the United States by HHB. Kamesan has a line of ENG and film location mixers, including a modular system for swapping in an EQ/compressor module when needed.
To go with those mixers HHB is giving many their first look at the PortaDrive, an eight-channel hard drive-based field recorder designed to replace the PortaDAT. Fostex promises to show a “field” version of its DV-40 DVD-RAM recorder.
Portability was obviously on the mind of Lucid Audio in designing the Freedom converter. It is a battery-operable two-channel A/D-D/A with 48 V phantom power, USB and traditional I/O and up to 96 kHz-performance.
Secure online registration is available at www.aes.org/events/113/registration.cfm.
A downloadable registration form to mail in or fax is available at www.aes.org/events/113/registration.pdf.
Fees: Nonmember registration for the full program is $350 after Sept. 23. Discounts apply for members, students and exhibits only.