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Archiving, Game Audio, Data Loss, The ‘Retro Format’ Trend & ‘Big Mistakes’

SAN FRANCISCO: “Our mandate for the 125th AES Convention Workshops Program was to identify the most compelling issues facing the pro audio industry, and to select panels capable of clarifying them,� reports Workshops Co-Chair Dave Harris. “In addition to a number of strong individual presentations, we have also grouped a pair of presentation tracks to address Archiving and Game Audio as comprehensively as possible.�

Co-chair Joe Carter illustrates these ‘Program Tracks’ with three Workshops focusing on Video Game Audio. “Games are now a dominant audio sector of production/post production growth, and clearly warrant in-depth study,� Carter says. “We have also coordinated a trio of Workshops on developments in Archiving, a critical issue with far-ranging implications.�

“We are extremely pleased with this year’s Workshops Program,� remarked 125th AES Convention Committee Co-Chair John Strawn. “Our co-chairs are immensely qualified for this assignment. Dave Harris is a former VP of engineering for NPR in Washington, DC, and Sr. Systems Designer for Lucasfilm THX. Joe Carter served as Sr. Software Engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering and was a member of the Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). They have done a yeoman’s job on this year’s Program. The 125th AES Convention will be held in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, Oct. 2-5, 2008,� Strawn says. “We believe it’s one for the record books�


HOW TO AVOID CRITICAL DATA LOSS AFTER CATASTROPHIC SYSTEM FAILURE: Moderator -Chris Bross. Natural disaster, drive failure, human error and cyber-related crime or corruption can threaten business continuity and survival if their data storage devices are compromised. Back up systems and disaster recovery plans can help after a system crash, but precautionary measures should be taken. A senior data recovery engineer will review the most common causes of drive failure, demonstrate the consequences of improper diagnosis, and suggest action for each type of data loss.

ANALYZING, RECOMMENDING AND SEARCHING AUDIO CONTENT – COMMERCIAL APPLLICATIONS OF MUSIC INFORMATION RETRIEVAL: Moderator, Jay LeBoeuf. A focus on the cutting-edge applications of Music Information Retrieval (MIR), a key technology behind music startups recently featured in Wired and Popular Science. Online music consumption is dramatically enhanced by automatic music recommendation, customized playlisting, rich metadata, etc. This workshop will address what’s out there and where it’s all going. Panelists will include industry thought-leaders.

ARCHIVING AND PRESERVATION FOR AUDIO ENGINEERS: Moderator – Konrad Strauss. The art of audio recording is 130 years old. Recordings from the late 1890s have been preserved thanks to the longevity of analog media, but what of today’s digital recordings? Digital storage technology is transient in nature, making lifespan and obsolescence a significant concern. Topics include: Best practices for storage and preservation of digital audio recordings, and current thinking and archiving strategies, from home studio to large production facility.


NAVIGATING THE TECHNOLOGY MINE FIELD IN GAME AUDIO: Moderator Marc Schaefgen – The complexity and diversity of today’s games has driven developers to look out-of-house for their game audio production needs. Issues will include: tools in the audio production chain and outsourcing of musicians and sound designers as part of the production process.

INTERACTIVE MIDI-BASED TECHNOLOGIES FOR GAME AUDIO: Moderator, Chris Grigg – The MIDI Manufacturers Assoc. (MMA) has developed three new standards for MIDI based technologies with applications in game audio. This panel will explore 3D MIDI Controllers, Interactive XMF Specifications and HD Protocol for MIDI Devices, a new, and drastically simplified, 32-bit version of the MIDI message protocol for use on modern transports and software APIs.

FILE FORMATS FOR INTERACTIVE APPLICATIONS AND GAMES: Moderator, Bernhard Grill – There are a number of different standards covering file formats which may be applicable to interactive or game applications. Some of these older formats have not been widely adopted, and newer ones are not well established. The expert panel members have been involved in the standardization or development of MPEG-4 object coding, MPEG-4 Structured Audio Orchestral Language, MPEG-4 Audio BIFS and the upcoming iXMF standard.


Mastering engineers Bernie Grundman and Greg Calbi have each started independent labels, recording music with traditional techniques and releasing it on vinyl. Mastering engineers, Paul Stubblebine and Michael Romanowski have started a label to reissue music they love on 15 IPS half-track reel-to-reel. What’s behind this trend? Why are mastering engineers giving up their non-existent free time to start labels based on obsolete technologies? What does this say about the current state of recorded music?

MISTAKES WE HAVE MADE, MOSTLY IN AUDIO ENGINERING: Six leading audio product developers: Robert Bristow-Johnson, Audio Imagination; Peter Eastty, Oxford Digital Limited (UK); James D. (JJ) Johnson, Neural Audio Corp.; Mel Lambert, Media & Marketing; George Massenburg, Massenburg Design Works and Jim McTigue, Euphonix, Inc. will share the enlightening, thought provoking and (in retrospect) amusing lessons they have learned from actual mistakes they have made in the product development trenches.
Mastering Chaos in Sound Production – From Mixer to Mouse & Back Again.

New Frontiers In Audio Forensics

From Text to Graphics to Audio to Video

Audio Networking for the Pros

New Multichannel Formats for Internet Audio

Upcoming MPEG Standard For Efficient Parametric Coding and Rendering of Audio Objects

Wanna feel my LFE? and other burning surround questions


Photos: 125th AES Convention Workshop Co-Chairs Dave Harris and Joe Carter.
Please credit photos by Alex Storm courtesy of Dolby Labs. For High res images visit: