But I have to admit that when I was approached about being part of this effort, although I was more than willing to “help the cause” I was also highly skeptical about its potential for success. First-year events usually don’t get much support from manufacturers as they’d rather wait for a “track record” before committing—nor is there usually much attendance, because there’s no one saying “last year was great, you should really attend.” So props are certainly due to Sennheiser, lynda.com, PreSonus, the InMusic group (Akai, Numark, Alesis, and M-Audio), and Avid for their sponsorship; more importantly, this may signal a new era of relevance for the AES—but maybe not for the reasons you might think.
Sure, the free Expo no doubt brought people into the show who might not have come otherwise. Several exhibitors even mentioned that they had a younger crowd than usual, and I don’t think it was coincidence. But a crucial element is that the Project Studio Expo linked experts willing to teach with people willing to learn.
Many of today’s engineers learned their craft by working their way up in the context of “the big studio.” I learned pretty much all I know about recording from being a recording artist and session musician in the 60s and 70s, when I was privileged to see top engineers and producers at work. Merely being in the studio and keeping my eyes and ears open was a “classroom” experience I’ll never forget; the knowledge that was passed on from one generation to another in that context was invaluable, and launched many of today’s careers. That’s also an experience you don’t get working by yourself in a project studio, but the Project Studio Expo—offering two full days of workshops—helped provide that type of interaction.
A huge part of the Expo’s success is that the events were held on the show floor, not in some little room somewhere, and everyone attending a seminar received a loaner Sennheiser wireless headphone—so the expo was quiet except for applause, and attendees could hear the audio examples in great detail. This was great not just for the attendees, but for the presenters—I even revised my seminar to include examples with more detail and subtlety, as I knew it wouldn't be a lost cause.
Not only did the event not add to the noise nor distract the exhibitors or attendees, but because the event was located at the far end of the hall, booths fortunate enough to be near the Expo received a major boost in traffic instead of having to compete with a loud event.
The proof of the Pro Studio's Expo success was in the numbers. The seminars were all packed, and I found out that for most of my presentations, 200 headphones wasn’t enough—people were waiting outside the seminar area for others to leave and return their headphones, but in general once people came, they stayed. Many people attended more than one workshop, and the questions were uniformly intelligent and probing.
Major props also go to Sound on Sound magazine. They’ve done this sort of event before in Europe, so they did have experience they could apply. They were also able to line up quite a roster of clinicians, many from the ranks of the magazine (like Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns, who really knows his stuff) but also professional engineers like Bill Gibson, who’s worked with Bruce Swedien. And of course, Harmony Central gets props for sponsoring my presence at the show.
The success of the event virtually guarantees that not only will it be ongoing at future AES conventions, but there’s talk of the AES possibly sponsoring events like this in various recording centers. In any event, one thing’s for sure: The concept was a hit, the execution was close to flawless, and most importantly, attendees got what they came for—and more. If you’re going to be in New York next fall, plan to go to the 2013 Project Studio Expo. You won’t be disappointed.
by Phil O'Keefe
This cost-effective bundle of five condensers and one ribbon mic make it easy to start—or expand—your collection
by Craig Anderton
by Phil O'Keefe
You don’t necessarily need to play loud to get a good sound―if you use a high-quality low-watt tube amp. Check out this Amp Forum thread for recommendations on some great amps that sport single digits in the watts department.
|Fun with Reel-to-Reel Recorders|
There’s still a lot to be said for a good analog reel-to-reel recorder, and you can find solid machines for peanuts. This thread tells you what to look for, cleaning and demagnetizing, production tricks, and other useful advice for those getting into tape-based recording.
|Can a Change in Necks Make a Significant Change in Sound?|
Mahogany and maple. We all know that they look different and feel different, but do they really sound all that different? Find out here.
|Why We Use Drum Machines|
Why indeed? Well, take a look at some of the drummers in this thread, and you might start thinking that a machine would be a more desirable alternative.
What are you using for studio monitors? Are you satisfied with them? How well do your mixes "translate" to other playback systems? If you're looking for monitor options, and opinions about the available models, the Recording Forum has the answers.
|Rhythm Jargon: It's All About the Feel|
This fascinating thread looks at what “feel” is all about, and how it affects different types of music. Best of all, check out the embedded audio/video examples that really bring the topic to life.
|Moog Announces Release of "Analog Delay," First Delay Designed Exclusively for the 500 Series Pro Au...|
Moog Music released its Analog Delay, the company’s first delay designed and created exclusively for the 500-series pro-audio format. It’s a 100% analog signal path module that features 800ms of delay time, front-panel MIDI control, an assignable Tap Tempo/CV jack, and free VST/AU/RTAS editor.
|HARMAN’s AKG Continues 65-Year Anniversary Celebration with Limited Edition Classic C451 Mics and K7...|
AKG’s C451 65th Anniversary Edition condenser embodies sound from the legendary C451 EB with the CK1 capsule and the C451’s transformer-less preamp. The K702 Anniversary Edition headphones feature the patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm, revolutionary flat-wire voice coil, and newly designed genuine leather headband and soft velour ear pads for maximum comfort.
|Aphex Expands 500 Series with New Modules|
Aphex’s 500 Series now includes six models: J PRE 500 Mic Pre; EQF 500 Parametric Equalizer; DUAL RPA 500 Mic Pre; A PRE 500 Mic Pre; the COMP 500 Optical Compressor; and the acclaimed, previously unveiled EX•BB 500 Aural Exciter/Big Bottom module. All benefit from the portable and convenient 500 Series format and legendary Aphex sound.
|iZotope Announces Trash 2, a Cult Classic Reborn|
Trash 2, the ultimate distortion and audio mangling toolbox, is fully overhauled from Trash 1, adding a wealth of new features including 20 new distortion algorithms, fresh filter modules, 50 new impulse responses, multi-band waveshaping, 64-bit support, and much more.
|Audio-Technica Launches Flagship 50 Series with New AT5040 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone|
The AT5040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is a hand-built AT5040 side-address condenser employing four ultra-thin (2 micron) rectangular diaphragms that function together providing combined surface area unachievable in a standard round diaphragm. The AT5040’s large-diaphragm characteristics and fast transient response also make it ideal for recording acoustic instruments such as piano, guitar, strings, and saxophone.
|Genelec Introduces New Smart Active Monitor (SAM) Concept|
Genelec DSP monitors under the SAM (SAM Smart Active Monitor™ ) classification are capable of automatically adapting to acoustical environments to offer an indispensable tool for sound professionals in broadcasting, post production, music studios and more. A SAM system can be controlled with digital networking, and the acoustical features of SAMs can be optimized with automatic calibration for different working styles or client demands..
|Universal Audio Announces Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Plug-In|
UA announces the rShadow Hills Mastering Compressor Plug-In for the UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform and Apollo Audio Interface. Created by UAD Direct Development partner Brainworx and Shadow Hills Industries founder Peter Reardon, this true-to-life plug-in emulation of the hallmark Mastering Compressor tempers dynamics and tames transients like no other device on the market.
While the East Coast was nervously watching superstorm Sandy and the San Francisco Giants were sweeping the world series, Harmony Central was at the 133rd AES Convention to check out the exhibits featuring the latest innovations from the audio industry—and we have the exclusive videos to prove it, which are also arranged as a convenient Playlist.
But that’s not all: Just prior to AES, Harmony Central covered the Bass Player Live! event produced every year by Bass Player magazine. The results? Over 20 videos, covering everything from bass strings, to the basses themselves, to bass amps, also arranged as a Playlist.
So whether you’re looking for the low down on the low end, or the latest and greatest from the pro audio world, check out Harmony Central’s YouTube channel—with over 1,300 other videos.
HarmonyCentral.com is the leading Internet resource for musicians, supplying valuable information from news and product reviews, to classified ads and chat rooms.