Monday, November 2, 2015

AES NYC 2015 A Journeyman's Wandering #01


Jacob Javits Convention Center
We arrived in NYC at Penn Station Friday around mid-day to attend the Audio Engineers Association 2015 Convention at the Javits Center on 11th Avenue. I wanted to stop by the B&H Superstore first. They are not open on Saturdays due to religious observances.

Having been tipped off by PR Maven Howard Sherman that "The Microphone Room" at B&H's NYC store had been designed by Walters Storyk Design Group, I was more than a little interested in seeing the space and what was in it. John and Beth have done many spectacular projects over the years. How would they approach a mic room in a retail establishment?

Note: B&H help make this blog possible, but most people who know me at all are aware that I don't blow smoke. Someone had mentioned to me in the past that B&H's 9th Ave. store was pretty amazing. It was on my way to the Javits Center. OK, fine, Show me.  

In most big box stores, the audio department takes a back seat to the other gear. I entered the store and asked for the audio department was. I can't tell you how many square feet is deployed for audio, but it's SIZABLE. Aisles and aisles of glittering glass cases with mixers, headphones, recorders, mics, adapters, wind filters - all things audio, all JUST THERE in plain sight.

Impressive, but what about the microphone room? I was directed to it. Through the window I could see there were already people inside. You need to swipe a card to get into the room. I waited until the customers and B&H associate came out. I introduced myself and asked to see the room and was swiped in.


The space was a lot smaller than I expected, but the design was obvious - no parallel walls. Thick walls to keep the "walla" from the rest of the store out and windows to allow the mics to be seen and to keep those in the room from becoming claustrophobic. As the heavy door "smffed" closed, the room was very quiet.

I was flanked on both sides by double arrays of microphones - two long brackets ran the length of each wall and the mics were attached on their various mic clips and suspension mounts to the brackets. Not under glass, behind a counter, but nekkid and staring you in the face where you can touch them, fondle them or handle them to see which have controls and what the controls are. 


B&H Microphone Room Wall #1

Large, medium and small condensers, shotguns, dynamics, ribbons. OK, a massive display, but what about hearing them? As you can see from the shot below, there seems to be some rack mounted gear under the array on wall #2.

B&H Microphone Room Wall #2
And a closer look reveals a credenza full of preamps and a patchbay that lets you hear and compare each to these mics. You can click on each photo to see the gear in greater detail.



I suppose there might be another retail showroom that has this sort of display, but I've never seen or heard of one. Kudos to B&H for putting it out there like this for gear slutting audio people. If you are within traveling distance from NYC and are trying to make choices about microphones, it's hard to beat the idea of a road trip to this "oasis or microphones." Bring your favorite set of headphones so you can make good comparative decisions.

Oh, by the way, the audio monitor room was the next one over. Here's a peek.



I'll be posting info from booth visits on the AES Display Floor. Stay tuned! Copyright 2015 © Technique, Inc. All Rights Reserved
More at www.tyford.com