AES 2011

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Michael Fossenkemper, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Who went to this years AES show? What were your thoughts about it?

    In general, I was kind of disappointed. Not that it was probably the smallest show I've ever seen, that's to be expected under the circumstances. What baffled me was that AES in general is operating like it's 1992. They are completely lacking any creativity and innovation in this crazy time. Rattle some feathers, try NEW approaches. Change the whole format of the convention, that's what I want to see. I want to be excited to go to the conventions, not bored out of my mind looking at last years gear. Everyone I ran into was only there to meet up with old friends and go out for a drink.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I heard it was small and okay but I got the feeling it was nothing to be extra thrilled about. The used gear on ebay and overall tone is saying something. After the hurricane I noticed a mass and instant drop in attendance here as well. This drop was sudden, not gradual and this is very alarming. Not for becoming slow here, we have been creeping back up to almost where it was before the storm but it sure spells economic peril and something unstable or abnormal to me.
    I don't want to derail this from AES but I think we need a revolution of some kind. There is a small group of people with all the money holding us by the balls and making more profit than ever imagined. At least that's how it looks from the outside looking in.

    Sorry, its hard to remain silent in my older years, I couldn't resist.

    What kinds of things did you talk about? Gear, what they could do better, changes that would be inspiring?
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Reading all the blurbs from the AES I don't think it was a huge success. There were supposedly some good things announced but overall it was more of a rehash of products already available.

    As to the economy - it sucks big time and more and more clients are either putting off doing their CDs or shopping around for the very lowest prices. Also runs of 100 to 500 CDs seem to be the norm these days. Not sure where all of this is going but the music business seems to be going down hill and pretty soon it will be a hobby for many and not a business.

    On the bright side we have been very busy with the video side of our operation.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I think this is the fallout of the last 10 years of technology improvements. On the audio side, I can't see that the capabilities of studios have increased that much in the last decade. From a customers perspective, making a CD is pretty much the same. On the other hand, since there is so much more cheap equipment the pro studios get more low end competition. But on the video side they have access to much more sophisticated tools than they did a decade ago. Smaller studios can offer services that only big studios could offer a decade ago. The weekend warrior is still pretty far behind in the video business. How long will that last?

    So it makes sense that an AUDIO Engineering Society convention would have less buzz than it did 10 years ago. The technology is at a plateau. We are tinkering at the margins.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    AES 2011 Review

    This was my 39th year in attendance. Ain't nothing like the old days at the Waldorf Astoria or Hilton. Since relocating to the Jacob Javits Center they have turned the AES convention into the Wal-Mart of audio shows. The noise level on the convention floor is deafening. Unbelievably, a software company was demonstrating their remarkable software and the removal of noise. The guy was playing backtracks through a pair of mini monitors and said to the guy he was doing a demonstration for..." did you hear the fuzz stayed out on that?..." The whole floor was one big fuzz of noise! And the guy was agreeing with the software sales coach. Yes, this was the smallest and saddest show I have ever attended. Not only was it a rehash of previous equipment it was a regression as well. Only a few years ago did I hear DSD. And to my ears, only DSD was the viable digital audio standard that most closely reproduced analog. Did you see any DSD at the show? Anywhere? That's probably because our computers are still not up to the task of effectively dealing with 1 bit 5.8 MHz sampling rates? So goodbye to DSD/SACD. I was happy when I saw quadraphonics go away. I feel about the same regarding surround slop. Don't we have 2 ears & 2 ears only? Where were all of the 5.1 headphones? And nobody could really do an effective surround demonstration at Wal-Mart AES. Numerous other folks were also absent such as the guys who are still selling and/or manufacturing analog tape. There wasn't one analog machine there. I think that was the first in history? Let's face it, everybody is waiting for the next great technological leap. But with our current economy, there really isn't a financial reason to develop anything that we don't already have. They're not going to make any greed profits off of anything for quite some time to come. We don't have to worry about brick wall filters as we have hit a brick wall in technology itself. And I'm sure a lot of people noticed while we are living in the digital age, virtually everything there was more heavily geared toward the analog stalwarts. That's really because while we are in the digital age we are in the same digital age as the modern model T. was for Ford. Unfortunately, it's hard to realize that those large heavy transformers and tubes along with discrete transistors are still the standard by which everything else is measured, sonically. I remember 6 or 8 years ago when Paul Wolff, then owner/president of API & Rupert Neve were standing together. They both told me that they would never build an analog console again. And what are they building today? Yup, analog consoles. And that's because most cheap digital stills sounds like crap grunge stuff. And who in their right ears, or left ears wants that? Sure, digital can be made to sound good but it comes at a price. And that price is virtually (a computer term) unobtainable in today's economy. But what? Are you trying to turn this into Detroit? Everything has to be new and improved every year? They are still making violins the same way. And those stupid heavy grand pianos. I mean what's with that? So it's not necessarily the fact that they are not coming up with new equipment but the fact that they are not really doing much to improve what we currently know and have. Plenty of new software to experience but it's not really new. It still has to run on the same old computers. I mean where were all the tanks of liquid nitrogen when you need them? No electron is going to move faster through a wire unless the water is cold.

    I was at the exhibition all 3 days. Pretty much from opening till closing every day. I was looking as much for name tags as I was at equipment. I didn't see you there Michael? But then your interests are far different from my interests. I never even saw any demonstration rooms this year? I'm sure there were some? But without the AES daily periodical of the show, we could only rely on dinner and after show parties. There were a fair amount of video interviews going on. I even saw a homeless recording engineer type walking around with what looked like a one-man band video pack. But it wasn't that. It was just a homeless guy with a cardboard box on his back and some kind of metal slighting device to look at UFOs or something? At first I thought he was the entertainment? But I merely just found him slightly entertaining. And over the years I've always marveled at the folks when sighted where one could not determine whether they were male nor female. I didn't see any of those freaks there like myself! I felt all alone not even Wendy Carlos showed up. Of course the good ones you can never tell which is what makes them the good ones. Two years ago I said that would be my last AES I would attend. George Massenburg told me earlier this year that he moved on with his career and out of audio. And there he was with people converging all over him talking about audio. Of course I warned people not to listen to him since he was no longer in audio... LOL. It's true. He is now the professor of new music at McGill University in Montréal. No more GML products to be seen or marketed. He is certainly the end of an era. I think he realized where we were and the plateau that we have reached. I'm even seriously considering an early retirement from my career of over 40 years? Half of what I heard at the show sounded like crap. That is except the analog stuff. And we are still all trying to make our digital sound like our 60 year old analog stuff. What does that tell you? It tells you that there are still people out there that want to play the violin, the trumpet, the piano and I'm not going to change just because we have electronic instruments and samples that can replace it. Nothing can replace that. Nothing will ever be able to replace a vintage Rolls-Royce or a vintage Neve. Everything from now on will just be genuine artificial imitation emulation impersonations. Sort of like those little plastic model car dragsters we used to glue together as kids. They weren't the real thing but they looked like the real thing. They were nothing more than plug-ins running on batteries.

    Seen any good batteries lately for my Fairchild F-22's?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. acorneau

    acorneau Active Member

    Damn, that's one hell of a show review.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    UM, Thanks. I guess you just had to be there. It certainly wasn't one of those impressive shows as many have been in the past when new technology was being introduced such as DSD. Everything really was just a refinement on everything we already know. A rehash or so to speak as everybody has been complaining about. Pretty analogous to a change in your tail light lenses on your car refinement for the new model year. So it was a lot of new taillights & headlights in different colors at a higher price than last year. Still, it's all good, all fun & games. And the party on Saturday night at FLUX Studios was fabulous in the East Village. Nothing like listening to lovely French cabaret music from the mid-20th century. And of course most of that was presented through a vintage 1980s NEVE 55 series console. Not my favorite NEVE but a NEVE just the same. Focus monitors were used which also sounded quite nice. Ed Churny & that other former audio engineer/inventor George Massenburg also showed up for a short while. And the champagne made everything sound a lot better along with the cheese. Later in the studio we were all cutting cheese except for the brie which was all gooey. So the AES is just as important for networking during and after the shows. Screw the equipment, it's a convention. I mean let's face it, most of this equipment shown is down at your local music store/guitar mart, where you can play with it and listen to it better. So the only reason to go to these shows is to confront the companies who make this stuff. I mean I had to complain to SSL about their trade Journal magazine ads. The ad they've been running for the C-10 has a guy sitting behind the console at more than arms length, not touching any faders, not doing anything but watching television. WTF? At my studio our hands are on the controls. Sure we all love automation but you still have to finger the console to get there. And he wasn't even smoking a cigarette. So was it good for him? Hard to tell by the ad.

    I'm now going to smoke something really good and it ain't from Havana.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The analogy with auto shows occurred to me as well. I remember going to a couple in the 60's. (My grandad was in the business.) Now maybe its just the difference between a kid's eyes and an adult's, but I felt there was a real buzz that isn't there these days. (I haven't been to one recently - just reading reviews on line.) As I said - technology at a plateau. Now we've just got to use it.

    Great review Remy!
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the review. It sums up what I have been reading in other blogs and on line. Too bad. I really use to enjoy the AES and seeing good friends. Most of the friends that I use to be able to stay with have long since moved out of NY and the hotel prices are astronomical. On one of the blogs a person said it was going to cost him over $1500 for three days including transportation. A bit out of my reach at the present time. Oh well I did finally get my life time membership card from the AES. Maybe when the recession is over <GRIN>
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    AES 2011 Videos

    Here's a bunch of HC 2011 AES NY video's

  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Remy, sorry I missed you. I must have been sitting down eating my $10 hot dog. I was going to go for multiple days, but after half of one day, didn't see the need. Protools 10 was probably the biggest draw and it crashed twice in the 15 minutes I was standing there. The coolest thing I saw there was the Apogee Mic that plugs into the ipad. The whole convention wasn't worth the cost of taking a cab to the convention center. They better rethink what this whole thing is about and do something before it just goes away. Or maybe it is time for it to go away... who knows. One thing is for sure, if it's the same thing next year, I'm not going.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Just out of curiosity, was the puter that crashed a PC or a Mac?
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I really didn't think that I should be impressed with ProTools 10 because it can do real-time, unrendered cross fades/fadeouts? Sony Vegas has been doing that since its release without making dozens of little render files. So I heard that at the Avid booth, I just walked away. And has anybody watched any of the demonstration & interview videos at Harmony Central? It's actually rather funny and pathetic at the same time. They are all virtually yelling on microphone..." hello welcome we are on the floor of the AES..." (Noise pours over everything.) No $*^t Sherlock. Sounds like your reporting live for hurricane coverage? What's the AES turned into? Wal-Mart! Attention Wal-Mart shoppers there is a special on analog to digital converters in Isle 7. The AES used to be a place you could go to carefully hear & evaluate possible equipment purchases. Today, it's like McDonald's at lunch time at only five times the price. And I find more people being representatives to companies that know nothing about what they are representing. I take note and walk quickly away from those folks also. Avid doesn't want to supply schematics so why bother with them? Like I said, Wal-Mart. It doesn't even have the charm of BS like B. & H. the Wal-Mart of pro audio stores in downtown Manhattan. It's like trying to take a hearing test during a sports match in your local high school gymnasium these days. The bar has definitely been lowered. I mean why is it so necessary to have small conventions in huge places? It's not like there is any convenient parking except across the street which ran me $65 per day and I was there for all three days. Not including 400 miles worth of gas at 15 mpg. I can see any of this stuff and play with it at Guitar Box 10 blocks away from me. It's really more the networking than the technologies and in many ways, it's always been that way. I mean many folks go strictly for the guest lectures which cost a fair chunk of change. And if you sign up for many of those, you won't have an opportunity to see the exposition on the convention floor. And these days they also don't quite have the more involved curricula of the shows 30 years ago. That's when you got to hear from the people that were inventing real stuff. So today, it's more like our news stations, all soundbites, nothing more. And therein it's also true the soundbites at the shows today. Nobody can really turn anything up to demonstrate anything because it's already too noisy. I think OSHA should come in and shut it down for excessive noise levels? But hey, it's a convention and hopefully you are either drunk or stoned while in attendance since you're not driving anywhere. Hey, I waited until the end of the show to go buy my longsleeved T-shirt but they were all out. They were all out of everything. They didn't bring enough with them they said. Sounds like a proper audio job to me? Not!

    I can't hear my face!?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  14. Bob Denny

    Bob Denny Active Member

    With the USB adapter that is part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, my AudioTechnica 2020USB mic works with the iPad 2. Others may also work. I can't say for the iPad 1. It may require iOS 5.

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