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Sunday, October 23, 2011

New York AES 2011 Report

Here's an overview of the day that I spent at the 2011 AES Show in New York City. First of all, thanks to everyone who came by the Hal Leonard booth for my book signing. It was great to personally meet so many of you that have I've only previously known through Facebook.

Other than that, the AES show was fairly depressing. It was the smallest show I've been to in some time as many audio companies, especially those that sell software, didn't even bother to exhibit. Who can blame them? NYC is one of the most expensive places on the planet at the moment, and AES charges a fortune for their booths. What's worse, they really don't reach much of an audience these days since the attendance at the show consists of mostly grey beards. I think the average age must be something like 45 or older. It's depressing. Even I was feeling old. If AES doesn't address this issue soon and do something to attract the younger generations of the business, it's going to die and fairly quickly.

As far as the show itself, there wasn't much to tell. Most of the manufacturers consisted of boutique creators of mics and mic preamps, it seemed, many times 2 or 3 to a booth. JBL and Yamaha didn't have booths at all, but did bring in their trucks that featured a few exhibits inside.

Of course the big news was Avid's introduction of Pro Tools X, which seemed to be pretty good if you're a power user. In a nut shell, if you regularly do sessions at 192kHz or use 256 tracks, you'll have to run out and get this right away. If not, continue upgrading to PT 9 like the rest of us (I just updated last month, but I'm not the only one as this was a comment that I heard on the floor over and over).

Ocean Way decided that making monitors and drum libraries wasn't challenging enough and jumped into the microphone biz as well with a model based on a U47FET. I'm sure it sounds great since Alan Sides knows his mics and wouldn't have it any other way. The price is right at about a thousand bucks.

Focusrite entered the controller biz in earnest with this nifty workstation that's the big brother to their 2802.

This interesting device by VisiSonics is actually a surround mic and camera. It has 64 mics and 5 cameras, which is cool in itself, but the best part of the software, which allows you to isolate any conversation in a crowd with a touch of the touchscreen. I'm sure the FBI or CIA will be all over this.

The Kamesan KS-117 Lip Checker does just that. It checks and measures the sync between audio and video so you know just the right amount of offset to apply. It was in the Tascam booth, so I guess they distribute them.

Also from Tascam, the iXZ is an outboard preamp for the iPhone recording. There are a few of these already on the market, but this one is only 50 bucks. Great for interviews, I bet.

I loved the sound of the these JBL computer monitors. The LSR2325P's sounded huge and have bit bang for the buck at only $199 each. Of course, I use LSR4328's everyday myself, so I'm already a big JBL fan.

Finally, this is what I felt like by the end of the show.

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Factory Yoyo said...

"If AES doesn't address this issue soon and do something to attract the younger generations of the business, it's going to die and fairly quickly."

I attended two years ago and felt the same way: much too big a hall for such a small little amount of exhibitors. Trade shows in and of themselves seem to be fading away (thank God!) much info is available on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for you Friday. I brought a few books I was hoping to get signed. Maybe next year.

Bill said...

Adding to:
"If AES doesn't address this issue soon and do something to attract the younger generations of the business, it's going to die and fairly quickly."

I work with many of the younger set. That said; I see versions of the "wrecking crew" where 10 albums are being produced around 2 each session players with a new headliner, all being recorded out of their home with modest equipment but "the mixes and overall fidelity is as good as anything you hear on the radio" these days. This "record label" has no desire for big rooms or big budgets but are making a great go of it with sales. This is the future of the field I have been in for 35 years. The mix engineers I worked with decades ago all have their own home and some of them are quite nice and excellent work is being done. I currently master for well over 300 clients (repeat upon repeat) and as "these rooms" continue to grow, my business model seems secure.

The old model has simply priced itself out of the forseeable market.

Gil said...

While the AES has certainly shrunk in terms of both space, atendence topped 15k and as there were less booths on the show floor, those of us who did exhibit saw a larger turnout in our booths than usual.

We had an 80 foot both featuring 6 manufacturers, and all of them had something new to show. We were crazy busy Friday and Saturday, and all afternoon on Sunday - I never got a chance to leave the booth to walk around and see other companies' exhibits.

As for trade shows 'fading away (thank God!)' - there is plenty of info on the internet but there is no substitute for face-to-face human interaction and being able to see, touch and hear new gear in person.


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