AES at NAMM – Some More Info and . . . . The Hottest Ticket in Town

Information about the somewhat mysterious AES@NAMM program continues to dribble in. To recap, this is a program coordinated by the Audio Engineering Society (AES), scheduled concurrently with and co-located with the NAMM show at the Anaheim California Convention Center, January 25-28, 2018. It augments NAMM’s growing educational-at-the-show program by providing a series of technical classes and lecture-demonstrations (both half-day and full-day) in the fields of live sound and studio recording. There’s still no detailed schedule or syllabus, but at least now we know the scope of the program, sponsors (I suspect they will be providing the majority of the presentations), and the cost.

First, the cold, hard facts: For AES members, half-day sessions are $69, full-day (which could be two half-days on the same day) are $99. It’s 100 bucks more for non-members/  An annual AES membership is $125, so joining AES (you should, anyway) can save you some money if you plan to attend more than a day’s worth of classes. That’s not cheap, but depending on your needs and how well the technical level of the classes matches up with your needs and experience, a class or two might be very worth while. You’ll be better able to judge this when the schedule is published. But brace yourself for crazy traffic jams and expensive parking, plus a lot of people bustling around the Convention Center at show time.

Now, the really good news – what you’ve been waiting for – is about NAMM registration. In order to register for AES@NAMM classes, you must first be registered as a NAMM show attendee and get a badge. Traditionally, NAMM attendance has been limited to those directly connected with the trade, which doesn’t include you, the tire kicker. However, in conjunction with the AES program at the show, you can register for only $25. As far as I can tell, this is a full NAMM registration, which gives you access to the exhibits, special programs, and NAMM’s own technical sessions. And, of course, then you can register for the AES classes if you wish.

NAMM Registration is now open. To register for your NAMM badge, click this link. Fill out the form, and in the Promo Code box, if it’s not already there, type AES@NAMM.

Here’s a little more about the AES program:

Symposium tracks, called “academies,” and their supporters, as we know now (more are expected to be added), are:

  • Line Array Loudspeaker Academy – Adamson, Bose Professional and EAW
  • Live Mixing Console Academy – QSC and Yamaha
  • Entertainment Wireless Academy – Lectrosonics and Sennheiser
  • Studios Academy – Apogee, DigiGrid, Focal, Genelec, Meyer Sound Laboratories and Waves.
  • In-Ear Monitor Academy – will spotlight the installation and operation of in-ear monitoring systems
  • Main Stage: Studio sessions coordinated by seasoned author and engineer/producer Bobby Owsinski with a team of studio industry experts will address a range of key operational parameters for recording and production facilities.
  • Main Stage: Live Sound will focus on setting up and using contemporary live-sound systems, with instruction on configuring and interfacing key components in high profile, real-world applications.
  • Sound System Measurement & Optimization Tutorials will be presented by a experts, including John Murray, Bruce Olson, Charlie Hughes, James Anderson, Chris Tsanjouries and Andrew Smith, who will discuss measuring and then optimizing the technical performance of various audio systems.

Sound interesting? Keep up to date by checking the AES@NAMM link periodically.

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2017 New York AES Show Report Posted

My report on the 2017 AES Convention is now on line. Check it out in the Show Reports section or click here to jump directly to it. As usual, it’s a PDF so you can download it and read it at your leisure.

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AES Show Report – Coming

For those of you who have become accustomed to checking my daily tidbits and missed them this year, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive, I did attend the conference, and I’ll have a report up later in the week. While I usually get to a couple of paper or panel sessions at AES, in the past I’ve spent most of my time with the exhibits, however this year, there were more than the usual number of technical sessions that I wanted to attend, so I spent more than my usual time “downstairs.”

The exhibit hall was very busy every day, and while only a couple of exhibitors had expansive displays, there was plenty to see – and some to not see, as there were a few regulars who were conspicuous by their absence. I suspect that at least some of them are anticipating a better than usual opportunity for showing their wares at the NAMM show and will be there in all their glory, since, with the NAMM-AES connection for the upcoming show, there will be a special (and new) exhibition area dedicated to audio and recording products. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for more details on

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New Technical Article – Talkin’ Taters

I’ll confess to being a raving fan of producer/engineer Sylvia Massy, who comes up with clever and frequently wacky techniques to get something new in a recording. She created the “potato filter” – a potato wired in series with the speaker leads of an instrument amplifier – to create an unusual sound effect. I tried it and made some measurements in the shop to try to figure out what it does and what it might be good for. Read my somewhat technical and somewhat whimsical lab notes here.

Try it yourself if you dare, and drop me a note and tell me what you think.

One caution – if you’re using a tube amplifier (try it first on a solid state amplifier if you have one) – start off with the volume control, or master volume if the amplifier has one set to minimum and turn it up very carefully. You won’t blow a speaker, but I won’t be responsible if you blow an output tube or, worse, transformer.

Posted in Technnical Articles

AES Reminder

The Audio Engineering Society convention in New York is getting close, and so is the deadline for on-line free registration for the core package which includes the exhibits, all of the educational programs that are  presented in the exhibits area, and a couple of other things. The link for registration and the promo code is in the next post down from here.

Also, remember that the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Fall show is concurrent with AES this year, so your AES registration also gives you access to the NAB exhibits.

And while I’m at it, there’s a little more information about AES at NAMM, a program that I’ve  been somewhat skeptical about. What AES is doing is coordinating a program of, if I recall correctly, 22 classes that will be half or full day, fee-paid classes. Neither the agenda nor the fee schedule have  been released yet, and while I’m sure there will be some good material and good instructors on the bill, the cost might be an issue. One bonus – and this may be an important opportunity for some of you – is that registration in any of the classes gets you a NAMM badge, something that’s (at least intended to be) out of reach for working musicians and engineers who aren’t involved in the selling end of things.

I don’t expect more than a small handful of people who regularly attend the NAMM show will get very deep into this program, but I think that what AES is hoping is that it will attract audio professionals who wouldn’t normally attend the NAMM show. It’s also an opportunity for people out west to get some of the training that goes on at AES conventions without coming to New York – an important consideration since, as a result of the AES and NAB NY partnership, next year’s AES convention won’t be on the west coast either.


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Billy Bragg Skiffle Music Lecture Video

I don’t usually write about musical stuff, but last week, punk rocker Billy Bragg gave a really fascinating talk at the Library of Congress on the history of skiffle music in Great Britain in the 1950s, from its origin with early New Orleans jazz records up through the Quarrymen (whose later band name you may have heard – The Beatles), and how it influenced both rock and country music. If you’re a bit of a music history buff, you might enjoy it – or buy his book on the subject, Roots, Radicals, and Rockers.” The talk is about an hour long, with about half an hour of Q&A. Don’t let the walk-in music scare you away. That’s what British pop music on the radio was like before skiffle hit the scene.

Here’s the YouTube link.

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IK Multimedia MODO Bass RevArticle Posted

What started out to be a review of how this interesting virtual electric bass VST plug-in that’s based on physical modeling of a vibrating string could be viewed as a learning tool turned into a lengthy article. It’s about what makes different basses sound different, and how IK Multimedia presents the tools that let you customize an instrument in physical ways rather frequencies, filters, and MIDI velocities. I rarely use virtual instruments myself, and I’m not a bass player, so there was a lot for me to learn here (which is why this project has been festering for about five months). Hopefully you’ll find something useful here, too.

Visit the Product Reviews page or jump right in here.

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