Small footprint, big show

The Audio Engineering Society staged its 129th AES Convention in San Francisco last week. The show proved to be a significant success, which is great news for the professional audio industry in general. While the show’s footprint was modest in terms of exhibit space, the hall was buzzing with activity. Most of the key manufacturers were present, showing a wide variety of new products and technologies, along with a healthy dose of startups and specialty firms. AES once again mounted an impressive technical program that addressed virtually every major topic in pro audio in a series of seminars, panel discussions, speeches and events. But perhaps the most encouraging sign was attendance, resulting in crowded aisles and busy booths throughout the Moscone Center.

While AES does not boast the size of other industry shows, its attraction lies in a devotion to audio excellence and education, which paid off with significant new product introductions and unexpected new approaches that are at once surprising and stimulating. In recent years, the show vibe has been something of a dichotomy, with major digital audio developments like the introduction of Avid Pro Tools 9 attracting a lot of attention, while analog purists continue their quest to preserve and improve the integrity of classic circuitry design by applying modern electronic design.

“Audio Technology Update” will cover several notable developments on both fronts in upcoming issues. Today, we look at a few of the many educational sessions along with a range of new products.