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At AES: The Show Floor Shuffle—A Peek at New Products

Mix Editor in Chief Tom Kenny guest posts about his travels across the AES Convention.

Well, the cold snap hit on the second morning of AES, with a brisk and blustery wind blowing in my face while I walked down 34th Street to the Javits Center. Once inside, however, there were more than a few hot products and technologies to see.

Will Eggleston of Genelec held a press conference downstairs in the demo rooms to show off the new S360 monitor, designed for the mid-level immersive facility and the coming boom in streaming episodic content. Every manufacturer wants in to the new landscape pushed by Netflix, Amazon, et al., with the requirement for immersive deliverables. Genelec has been involved since the beginning, with lots of QC rooms in New York and elsewhere. Now they seem well-positioned for the content producers. Watch this space.

Hitting the AES Show Floor: Day 1

Avid, meanwhile, has moved away from the “big release, big update” trade show announcement schedule in favor of Pro Tools 2018, where each month, subscribers across the three tiers—Pro Tools First, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate receive the updates on a monthly basis, along with partner gifts from the likes of Nugen and Pro Sound Effects. Also, take a look at Avid Link, announced in public beta at IBC, which provides a slick means of connecting content creators, a la LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, Colin at BAE and UK Sound was showing the Mono 176 Compressor, part of the company’s efforts to bring affordable re-creations of classic gear to a broader range of users. The 1073 will be coming soon, as will the MPL 500 Series. Same technology, just on a single PCB and not handmade; hence; the affordability.

Longtime friend Frank Oglethorpe was informed a couple months back that Prism would be closing its U.S. offices, so he quickly landed another gig, this time representing Maselec in the States and, within the PMC booth, showing off the company’s mighty MEA-2 EQ. It may have been out for a year or so, but with Frank behind it, expect the exposure to pick up across the country.

Finally, I stopped by the DPA booth, having just edited Mix magazine’s tour story on Journey, where the band has converted much of Steve Smith’s drum rig to DPA. I doubt that Journey will be using the company’s brand new 3mm “sub-miniature” microphone. With the same specs as the 5mm, with no increase in the noise floor, however, it should find a quick home in film, TV and theater. This thing can be hidden anywhere! And it still delivers that DPA punch.

Later that day, I conducted a Facebook Live Stream with Wolfgang Fraissenet of Neumann, in honor of the company’s 90th anniversary, then headed to Yamaha/Steinberg to check out the QL5/CL5 updates and the introduction of Nuendo Live.

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All one had to do was take a tour of the exhibit floor to know that the death of the professional recording business has been greatly exaggerated. The AES Convention, like all those in recent years, proved the industry is retrenching, expanding and regaining the vitality that comes with innovative new tools and a new generation of end users learning from the veteran professionals and taking sound recording concepts to new levels. Stay tuned!