After a full day of AES conventioning last week in San Francisco, many studios and other fine San Francisco establishments opened their doors (and their bars) for a flurry of special events. Not a crew to miss a good bash, the Mix editorial team hit the AES party circuit en masse. Here, a few of our editors give you the inside scoop on the best spots to see and be “scene.” Read on...
Take 6 Wow the crowd at Yamaha's event at San Francisco's MOMA
Photo: Steve Jennings
Take 6 Graces the Yamaha Stage
By Sarah Benzuly
The relatively intimate group of audio professionals who gathered in one of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) gallery rooms on the second night of AES (October 29) sat transfixed while the incredible Grammy Award-winning ensemble Take 6 (Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Joel Kibble, Mark Kibble, Claude McKnight and David Thomas) performed a few of their a cappella hits. To demonstrate Yamaha’s proprietary Active Field Control (AFC) system, which shapes and corrects a room’s acoustics to provide a more realistic sound environment, the band walked onstage (okay, it was a small riser) and performed a few bars without mics—and then the system kicked in. Wow! The increased depth and clarity of sound was simply astounding. Chea told Yamaha, “We perform without microphones and for an a cappella group to perform without mics is just the best way to go. We really look forward to using this new technology.” The group continued their amazing performance for nearly 20 minutes (including an encore) and the audience’s standing ovations clearly showed that a good time was had by all. Oh yeah, the fab appetizers and open bar helped out a bit!
AES Event Wrap-Up
By Breean Lingle
Cocktails, Cityscapes and SoMa
High above Powell and Sutter in downtown San Francisco, Audio-Technica’s AES appreciation dinner for industry friends was underway at the Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The low light, fantastic cityscape, savory hors d’oeuvres and good company—including corporate president Kazuo Matsushita, CEO Philip Cajka, producer/engineers Geoff Emerick, David Reitzas and Nathaniel Kunkel, among others—made the uptown function special…Afterward, in the SoMa district, the NHTPro and Manley party was already underway at Studio Z, a raw, low-key warehouse space, which was filled with staffers and their guests listening to a the companies’ homegrown band. The crowd took in the concert, dancing and singing along, especially when rock covers played.
Art and Gear Meet at Varnish
Varnish, a well-loved San Francisco gallery on Natoma, was the chosen location for the Universal Audio gathering that followed the second day of the show. Drinks were passed and short speeches given by Bill Putnam Jr., charting the changes from UA’s beginnings to accomplishments of the past year, including introductions to newly released gear, LA-610 classic tube recording channel and 8110 Precision 8-channel mic pre.
Making the Rounds
By Heather Johnson
The swank surroundings of Harry Denton’s Starlight Room was a welcome change from a busy first day at Moscone. As Breean mentioned, the hors d’oeuvres were fantastic—calamari! Brie!—as was the jazz combo at the front of the room. Before jetting off to Studio Z, I got to chat with old and new friends from L.A., Nashville and points between. I left with that warm fuzzy feeling you get after bumping into nice people that you haven’t seen in years. Or was that the wine…
From there, I hopped in a cab with Breean to Studio Z for Manley’s event—the band was so-so, but the crowd was having a great time! I left before 11 p.m., but I hear the party lasted much, much later and got even more festive as midnight approached.
Friday night seemed to be the night for receptions and special events, and my social activities kicked off at the Mariott for the TEC20 Hall of Fame reception: Excellent presentations, great champagne and a nice bartender who liked to refill one's glass after two sips. Great way to start the night.
From there, we wandered to SF MOMA for Yamaha’s spectacular event (See Sarah Benzuly’s report above). After a couple bites of cheese and crackers, off we went to SF Soundworks for SSL’s reception. After a minor snafu with the guest list, we walked up, up and up to the kitchen/Pro Tools Café level of Tony Espinoza’s studio, where we were greeted by a jovial crowd of badge-holders, musicians and the SSL posse, a large spread of Asian appetizers (pot-stickers, mini egg rolls, soba noodles), tables of chocolates and a cello player with fire engine red hair performing in front of a fireplace. I didn’t want to leave, but Studio D’s Joel Jaffe and I broke away and visited the multi-manufacturer-sponsored party at Paul Stubblebine Mastering/Coast Recorders. Every room was packed, and it was great to see this historic studio revived and looking good. By the time we left, my feet were sore, my brain was tired (information overload!) but I was happy to be a guest in just a few of the fine facilities in my own backyard.