Sandy Dampens Turnout but Not Enthusiasm at AES Convention

Sandy Dampens Turnout but Not Enthusiasm at AES Convention
  • The 133rd AES Convention at the Moscone Center was distinguished by a diverse program. In the face of an epic storm that gripped the nation and disrupted countless travel plans, thousands of conventioneers experienced an exhibition hall filled with new and exciting products and a four-day program of scientific presentations and training events designed to hone their skills in an industry changing at the speed of sound.

Young Guru meets fans after Platinum Producer/Engineer Panel.

From the anecdotes of multi-Platinum keynote speaker Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Mathews Band, Rolling Stones, The Killers), to the inspirational personal histories and career highpoints of legendary Platinum engineer/producers Jack Douglas (John Lennon), Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston) and Young Guru (Jay-Z, Kanye, Beyonce), to an original live audio production, “Poe – A Life And Stories In Sound,” featuring Firesign Theater/Disney film voiceover star Phil Proctor, a packed screening of the “Wrecking Crew” documentary, and the debut of the Project Studio Expo, the 133rd AES Convention was a success, according to the organization.


"In the months leading up to the show we had strong pre-registration numbers and were on target for at least 14,000 people,” said AES executive director, Bob Moses. “The Exhibition Hall was packed on Saturday, but Hurricane Sandy took a lot of wind out of our sails. People fled for the airport on Sunday and Monday as flights were canceled around the country. In the end, some 11,000 attendees turned out, reflecting strong pre-registration but disappointing onsite sales. On the bright side, we were very happy with attendance in the inaugural Project Studio Expo - 1,680 people, nearly double what we anticipated."

Despite the lower than anticipated turnout, many of the 296 exhibitors and sponsors offered positive perspectives on their Convention experience:

“M-Audio and Akai Professional’s Platinum Sponsorship of this year’s AES gave us the valuable opportunity to be a part of how AES itself is evolving. We appreciate the direction AES is headed, particularly with its healthy focus on project studios and the Project Studio Expo,” said Lee Cwiek, tradeshow and events manager, inMusic Brands

"This year's AES was extraordinarily exciting for Sennheiser," said Joe Ciaudelli, director, advanced projects and engineering services. "We debuted our Digital 9000 wireless system. Our Recording Sound Academy round table drew an SRO crowd. And, we introduced our Neumann KH 310 reference monitors at the NARAS Skywalker Sound event."

“We were happy to find that DPA Microphones made a big splash at AES this year thanks to the Yamaha/ResInno Grand Rossa piano and DPA hearing stations that were on display. We were frequently complimented for the open design of our booth, and for the inviting sound of the piano music,” said Eric Mayer, president of U.S. operations, DPA Microphones.

“Our booth position directly adjoining the Project Studio Expo was a blessing in disguise,” said Sonnox sales and marketing manager, Nathan Eames. “We were initially concerned about potentially distracting noise, but were delighted to see the entire audience outfitted with wireless headphones. Other than occasional bursts of applause, there was there barely a sound from the Expo. And too, our proximity may have increased our booth traffic.”

Support from the business community extended beyond the exhibition floor, as a number of sponsors supported tracks of events in the technical program. THAT Corporation and Audio Precision returned as co-sponsors of the Product Design Track, as did Dolby as long-time sponsor of the Broadcast and Streaming Track. Renkus Heinz sponsored the Live Sound Track, and Presonus, AVID, Lynda.com, and Sennheiser sponsored the Project Studio Expo. Perhaps most notably, inMusic brands M-Audio and Akai Professional served as Convention Platinum Sponsors, and were instrumental in bringing Young Guru to the event.

“I deeply appreciate the moral and financial support these companies provided,” said Moses. “I’m very firm in my commitment to serve businesses. The creative ways in which we were able to work together to make this event special for these companies and their customers is a sign of the future.”

The Exhibition is just one component of the AES convention, paralleling four days of events in the technical program. This year’s show provided a dizzying array of scientific paper presentations, workshops, tutorials, technical tours, platinum producer/engineer/ artist panels, special events, standards meetings, and Technical Committee forums on the latest trends in the audio business.

“Our outstanding convention committee, led by co-chairs Jim McTigue and Valery Tyler, worked tirelessly to produce an exemplary event. These folks contributed an incredible amount of time and energy while simultaneously juggling day job and personal obligations,” Moses said. “Their deep knowledge and experience, service to community, and deft skill in making all this happen smoothly should be appreciated by all who came and enjoyed this great event. “The entire Committee deserves a huge shout out.”