AES Daily Day #1/Friday Oct 7 Edition: Focus on Workshops and Special Events
"Our exciting program of events has been put together by 'People with Passion and Drive'," confides convention chair Jim Anderson. "Our overall convention theme - 'Where Audio Comes Alive' - is being emphasized through a variety of live-sound sessions, workshop and special events, together with several devoted to multichannel broadcast sound."
"We also have a new series of 90-minute Master Classes, organized by Alan Silverman, that feature well-known industry experts," Anderson continues. "We have a wonderful collection of professionals who are at the very top of their game," adds convention co-chair ZoŽ Thrall. "Tomorrow, Terry Manning will present 'Classic Recording Techniques from Albert King to ZZ Top,' followed by Doug Sax on 'What Happened to Dynamic Range, and Why?' On Sunday we have Oliver Archut's 'Vintage Gear Insider,' John Klett's 'The Art of Studio Maintenance' and Bob Clearmountain's 'Mix This'."
Today's workshops include "Surround Sound: A Chance for Enhanced Creativity," chaired by Martha de Francisco from McGill University, with George Massenburg, Akira Fukada from NHK Japan, Richard King, Bob Ludwig, Ronald Prent from Galaxy Studios and Everett Porter from Polyhymnia; "Pre-Fab Acoustics for the Audio Production Environment," chaired by John Storyk of Waters Storyk Design Group; and "What's Shakin'? - Auditory Haptic Interaction," chaired by William Martens from McGill. (In case you are wondering, participants will discuss "the relatively untapped potentials for including vibro-sensory stimulation in user interfaces and in multimedia displays." Honest!)
Special Events being held today include the 17th Annual Grammy Recording Soundtable, tantalizingly entitled "Death of the Record Business? Rebirth of the Music Business?' and moderated by David Adelson from E! News Live and "HITS." Panelists include Robert Hurwitz from Nonesuch Records and Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer/innovator
Exhibitor Seminars include presentations from Yamaha on the Active Field Control System and Firewire-based mLAN audio/MIDI I/O; Zenph Studios' John Q. Walker on a new process that enables high-quality piano "re-performances;" Digidesign's introduction of Pro Tools V7, 101 curriculum and 48-Bit Dithered Mixer; plus Renkus-Heinz' preview of EASE 4.2 and introduction to GLL Data Format.
The weekend series of five Platinum Special Events include tomorrow's Platinum Producers and Platinum Engineers - The All-Star Mix Engineers Panel with Jack Joseph Puig, Jason Corsaro and Mick Guzauski. Sunday will see Platinum Road Warriors: Live Sound moderated by Clive Young from "PSN," and Platinum Mastering with Bob Ludwig, David Glasser, Gavin Lurssen, Joe Palmaccio plus Mark Wilder. And on Monday Nathaniel Kunkel will moderate Platinum Surround, an open 'town hall" Q&A forum for on current and predicted surround trends.
Today's Technical Tours include visits to Arup Acoustics, Avatar Studios and Broadway's historic Ed Sullivan Theater, current home since 1993 to "The CBS Late Show with David Letterman."
"The intention in developing this exciting program is that AES attendees will take away from the 117th Convention our vision of the future," Anderson concludes. "We are emphasizing future technologies that will help keep the quality of audio alive in recording, broadcast and live performance."
AES Daily Day #2/Saturday Oct 8 Edition: Focus on Console and DAW Developments
There are plenty of exciting developments in the heady worlds of large-format digital consoles and workstations.
Euphonix (booth 408) continues to champion EuCon communications between controllers and DAW applications, with connectivity between MC/System 5-MC surfaces and Steinberg Nuendo V3.1 plus Merging Technologies' Oasis protocol (booth 267), which has been adapted to use EuCon for integration with Pyramix V5. Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro can also be controlled via HUI and Mackie Control.
WK-Audio (PAD booth 660) is showing the clever DAW-Controller ID, which uses a closed-architecture protocol for Nuendo 3.x DAWs; the use of specialized drivers results is a blindingly fast worksurface. Nuendo 3.2 (Yamaha/Steinberg booth 418) features dedicated Studio Busses that can serve up to three individual studios and their mixes, with talkback and user-definable monitor configurations.
Calrec (booth 554) is demoing surround-sound channels for Alpha, Sigma and Zeta broadcast consoles. System Plus streamlines the handling and processing surround sources as single inputs, allowing faster operation when signals need to be adjusted separately from a surround channel.
Solid State Logic (booth 801) is showcasing the new C300 Digital Production Console targeted at sweetening and mix creation with integral control of various DAWs (similar to the AWS 900) and dynamic automation developed from the C200. Dynamic Resource Allocation is combined with over 500 mix inputs and 80 mix busses, using DSP from a single Centuri processor, plus multi-format surround monitoring.
The new Yamaha M7CL Digital Console (booth 418) inherits features from the firm's PM Series and is targeted at mid-sized theaters, clubs, sound companies and houses of worship. Available in 32- or 48-channel formats, the M7CL features a small footprint, light weight and a self-contained design. Most physical controls are single-function that can be accessed through just two screens.
AMS Neve (booth 1228) is spotlighting the new 88D Music Production Console, which offers 1,000 channels at 96 kHz with classic Neve mic pre-amps, 8.1 surround monitoring and Encore Plus automation, plus control of Pro Tools and Nuendo via HUI and Pyramix via Oasis.
Harrison's new IKISdirect (booth 466) offers Ethernet control of Pro Tools, Nuendo, Pyramix and other DAWs directly from the firm's digital consoles. A unique Profile feature allows on-the-fly intermixing of DAW control strips among regular console channels. Consoles fitted with PreView displays will show DAW waveforms in the meter bridge.
Fairlight (booth 243) is launching Constellation-Anthem, a new music-production console that can be laid out in in-line or split-console formats. Channel strip renderings appear on a touch screen TFT for easy system navigation. A new transport panel replaces the editor panel for centralized operation.
DiGiCo (booth 719) has added EtherSound to its range of digital live consoles for distributing multichannel audio between system components, an addition to analog, optical, AES-EBU, T-DIF, ADAT and other formats. A new strategic alliance with Aviom (booth 1154) streamlines the creation of custom monitor mixes controlled from DiGiCo consoles.
DAW kingpin Digidesign (booth 336) is wowing AES crowds with the new Pro Tools 7 software release for HD, LE and M-Powered rigs, plus PT7-enabled ICON and VENUE systems. Universal Audio (booth 266) is showcasing the new UAD-1 Flexi Pak, DSP Card and Powered Plug-Ins systems, all of which offer staggering discounts against individual packages. Cakewalk (booth 826) is spotlighting SONAR 5's 64-bit DP floating-point engine for Intel EM64T- and AMD64-based systems that is said to ensure sonic integrity impossible with 32-bit floating point tools. WAVES (booth 248) is showing the new Tune pitch-correction plug-in, and DeBreath for removing unwanted breaths from vocal tracks. Creative Network Design (booth 576) is demonstrating a new version of NetMix Pro MetaPlug, a Pro Tools plug-in that enables audio files to be uploaded securely to any media asset management system or FTP site.
AES Daily Day #3+4/Sun+Mon Oct 9/10 Edition: Industry Trends and Top New Unveilings
In my final column from the 119th Convention, I'd like to focus on the Top Three Trends I observed during my journeys across the exhibition floor, and award some kind of coveted garland to my Top Trio of Product Unveilings. In terms of major influences within the recording, production and live-sound industries, I would hazard that Work Flow, Connectivity and Affordability are primary factors affecting the sales success of any product.
To get the job done quicker, easier and with higher sonic quality - and for the cynical amongst you these are not mutually exclusive criteria - the efficient control of complimentary functions, allied with common file formats, is sweeping aside the alternatives. We all need more efficient ways of accessing server-delivered media and passing in-progress projects up- and down-stream.
To ensure optimum workflow, reformatting of data files makes no sense to anybody, nor does proprietary command protocols. Open-standard file formats and interfaces are the wave of the future. Ensuring optimum connectivity with hardware from different vendors is the only design decision we should make. You read it here first.
And with offshore manufacturing in Asia and elsewhere becoming the new paradigm for commodity products, the cost of outfitting a facility with truly outstanding, highly affordable hardware is becoming a reality. Microphones and powered monitors, in particular, are costing a fraction of what we were paying just five years ago; long may that trend continue.
And so to my AES Hot Technology picks: Digidesign Pro Tools HD7 Digital Audio Workstation; JBL LSR4300 Linear Spatial Reference Series Studio Monitors; and the Solid State Logic C300 Digital Post/Film Production Console.
Digidesign's HD/LE/M-Powered Pro Tools 7 - "shipping soon" - is a basement-to-attic refresh of the world's favorite cross-platform DAW, with new features and enhancements that we've been asking for, including expanded recording and editing of audio and MIDI data, upgraded mix power and flexibility, plus enhanced ease of use. New Instrument Tracks offer improved integration with virtual instruments and MIDI sound modules, while the ability to work with REX and ACID files extends loop and sample integration. Real-time MIDI processing also is available. Enhanced support for multi-processor PCS plus RTAS updates means that PT7 increases plug-in counts up to 150% on dual-processor engines.
Incorporating JBL's remarkable RMC Room Mode Correction technology, the new LSR4300 Series (pictured right) overcomes a number of typical room problems while sounding truly exquisite - for 5.1-channel arrays the combination offers the transparent and enveloping sound you would expect from this seasoned vendor. A built-in analyzer measures and automatically compensates for LF problems caused by standing waves and boundaries. As a bonus, Harman's HiQnet network simplifies the set up of large surround systems with up to eight LSR4326P or LSR4328P monitors. And recognizing that smaller rooms make it difficult to place surround and center channels at optimum distances, LSR4300 aligns each unit on a network to compensate for variations in placement.
The new Solid SL C300 Digital Production Console (pictured left) is aimed at film and post facilities that need scalable I/O, DAW control and a no-compromise mixing capabilities. Stand out features include support for up to four DAWs via HUI control to accommodate multiple operators; a new Centuri DSP engine that can be re-configured on the fly (change 5.1-channel panning to 7.1? - no problem); TimeFreeze non-linear automation that supports multiple operators and will read/write at any playback speed; access to over 500 channel inputs from a single engine, with routing to 80 busses; and up to three simultaneous operators from a single DSP core. A remarkable breakthrough.
See you in Paris and San Francisco.
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