Friday, November 3, 2017

AES - NYC 2017 Part 1

Big Time Building on NYC/s West Side
Autumn in New York City. Great weather for walking the 11 blocks to the Javitz. We stayed at the Stewart Hotel on 7th Avenue which was on the AES short list and enjoyed the Niles restaurant within the hotel.
Stewart Hotel Lobby

Even from our 17th floor room overlooking 7th Avenue, the noise of New York was plainly audible. I had my own ear plugs with me, but noticed that the hotel had provided two pair in the desk drawer. The Stewart Hotel web site gave an "enhanced" impression of what the rooms were like. They were clean and well maintained but a lot smaller than those rooms shown on their web site. 

The Javits Center is perched on the west side of town overlooking the Hudson River. Until 2015, that part of town has been somewhat isolated because there was no subway service. Clearly, if you build it (the mass transit system) they will come. At AES 2015, I reported the opening of the 7 Train stop, a block south of the Javits. As I walked the 7 Train stop and on to the Javits this year, I was taken by the large scale and very tall developments being built. 

The sight reminded me of flying into Las Vegas one year for NAB and seeing the recently completed Luxor Hotel languishing in the middle of nowhere. One year later, it was completely surrounded by other buildings that ran all the way to the ever-expanding Las Vegas metropolis. BOOM!

AES Show Floor
Next year, October 2018, the AES will NOT be in LA or SF. It will be back at the Javits. This breaks a long standing tradition of AES shows bouncing from coast to coast each year. Why? I think the Internet has finally begun taking its toll on trade shows.

NAB Show Floor
This was also the first year for the NYC NAB show at the Javits at exactly the same time as the AES show. The show floors were right next to each other with a connecting concourse. One ticket got you into both show floors. Huddling together for warmth?

Per the shots to the left taken Thursday afternoon, the AES floor was a lot busier than the NAB floor. Did bridge, tunnel and parking fees keep local and regional people away? Hard to say. I heard the Friday attendance figures were much higher. Maybe there was too much work during the week and some took an early weekend on Friday.
AES and NAB join forces

Some folks said the NAMM show is now the big west coast audio show and that pro audio has combined with the more MI (Musical Instrument) market segment that NAMM used to attract. BTW, going forward, AES will fold into NAMM on the west coast. The January 25-28, 2018 NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center will include the AES. And the AES will join NAB again in 2018 at the Javitz Center October 17-20.

AES Exhibit Entrance

Sorry for the preamble, but it's all part of the experience for me.  Yes, the AES exhibit hall was buzzing with new circuits, hardware and software. As I entered, the first booth I walked into was Avid's. I'm a Pro Tools user, always looking for something new to help me in my workflow. I saw a lot of plugins dealing with mastering and surround. I'm not so much interested in them at the moment, but something else caught my eye.

Audionamix @ AES
Audionamix. They make a line of software that allow you to change the vocal and music levels in mixed audio. It lets you change the level of melody instruments in a mix. I don't have a need for this technology at the moment but maybe you do. There are six versions of the ADX software; ADX TRAX, ADX TRAX PRO, ADX TRAX SP, ADX TRAX PRO SP, ADX VVC and ADX SVC. Here are their online demos. They sound pretty impressive, but I always wonder how long it took them to find the perfect material to make the demo shine, and how long it took for them to do the work to make the demo sound as good as these do.

Stepping out of the Avid booth, my next destination was the Manley booth where I ran into EveAnna Manley and her new $3,780.00 Manley Silver Reference studio mic. I'll let EveAnna tell you about it. If everything works out, I may be reviewing this one.

My next stop was Mark Fouxman at the Samar booth. Mark makes special ribbon mics and transformers. This year he also came to the show with two new mics and mic isolation gear that aren't even on his web site yet; one for a mic, one for a mic that includes acoustic decoupling of the XLR connector and one called Omni Puck that can be used to isolate mic stands from the floor or as a very nifty drum head absorber. Check out our conversation for the details!

David Bock's booth was not far. I had reached out to him earlier this Fall and he told me about the Bock 67, his newest studio condenser. Again not even on his web site yet!! Here's what he had to say about it.

Anyone who uses professional mics is aware of Lundahl transformers. I was surprised to see Per Lundahl himself at a booth and stopped by to ask him a question about toroidal transformers that I've been researching this year. If you're a designer or manufacturer, check out the Lundahl web site for more information.

One of the things I like best about AES is that you just never know what or who you'll run into. I've managed to encounter Les Paul and his son, George Massenburg and folks I meet online in the many forums in which I participate.

It's not always about main stream pro audio. Paul Ackel of Ampridge was showing an intriguing small shotgun mic that can be matched with a smartphone. There are film festivals for films shot only on cell phones. Here's a very incomplete list

Here's Paul to show you how this little sucker works,

Paul also had a nifty little Blue Tooth clip on omni mic; The Mighty Mic W+. I can see that being useful for many things, including SAG-AFTRA members who sometimes do selfies to audition for film roles. Mics with cords don't work because the cords are cumbersome and sometimes too short. You link to your phone, clip the mic on yourself, start an app and hit the record button. Check it out. I finally got one to play with and found the fidelity of the lav over Blue Tooth wasn't that great for demos, but maybe you could use it in a pinch.

More next time from Alan Hyatt at Trident Audio Developments who has a new console. A brand new mic from Eric Blackmer at Earthworks. An 8 channel 3D mic array from Schoeps' Helmut Wittek. A digital wireless hand-held mic and a mini wireless body mic from Glenn Sanders at Zaxcom. A new console from Todd Humora at API. David Jones from RackFM with a new way to rent your outboard effects gear to anyone anywhere in the world that's very ingenious. More wireless technology from Karl Winkler at Lectrosonics. A variable impedance front end from Roger Cloud at Cloud Mics. Innovations in mic stands and mounting hardware from Ryan Kallas at Triad-Orbit. Next time.

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