While I wasn't able to attend the AES convention in New York City this year, I did get multiple reports on what's hot.
This looks to be one of the smallest attendance in recent memory although it appeared crowded because the show was limited to only 8 rows of exhibitors and few demo rooms. There were almost no large sound reinforcement speaker demos because it's just too darned expensive to ship large arrays these days. And DAW powerhouse Digidesign (now Avid) didn't even exhibit, choosing instead to take a couple of suites in a hotel across the street (much to chagrin of AES).
Most veteran attendees of the show seemed to be disappointed, while the new to the business marveled at all the gear. Everyone seemed to like the various panels and sessions, with the ones with Kevin Killen, Chris Lord Alge, Bruce Swedien and recording The Beatles garnering the most praise.
As has been the trend of the last half dozen years, there hasn't been a product or technology that was the overwhelming hit of the show. Everything was evolutionary instead of revolutionary once again.
That being said, the Novation Launchpad seemed to get the most interest, followed by new ribbon microphones by Audio Technica and Shure. Another trend that actually looks to be a good one is the fact that the 500 series lunchbox format has now become a standard, with more and more manufacturers releasing modules for it. Everyone seemed to like the 8 channel SSL X-desk, as they did the new Korg Wavedrum.
So if you didn't make it the show, you probably didn't miss much product-wise that you couldn't see elsewhere. If you really wanted to network or see the sessions, that's another story.