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131st AES Convention Master Class Program: Studies In Excellence

Tony Visconti On Recording Legends – Skip Lievsay On Mixing Blockbuster Films

Plus Human Hearing 101, Recording Large Orchestras for Feature Films & More

NEW YORK: “Designed to provide authoritative insights into significant technical issues, the Master Class Program represents a high point of every AES Convention,” remarked 131st Chair Jim Anderson. “Back for a return engagement as AES Convention Master Class Chair, Alan Silverman has once again developed a compelling group of extraordinarily accomplished audio industry icons.” Poised to draw thousands of audio professionals from around the world, this year’s event is set for October 20-23 at New York’s Javits Convention Center.


SUPERSTAR SESSIONS: Tony Visconti, Platinum Producer/Engineer. A Brooklyn born super-mixer, Visconti rose from the ranks of a Catskills resort band to become a

key architect of the sound of British Rock via studio work with such legends as David Bowie, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, The Moody Blues, Badfinger and Morrissey. Beyond his production creds, Visconti is an accomplished composer, musician, and arranger. This Master Class will present techniques and experiences culled from a lifetime of collaboration with some of the world’s most celebrated artists as well as Tony’s on-going work with new releases from artists such as The Kaiser Chiefs.

HUMAN HEARING 101 – HOW IT WORKS (The Short Version): Jim Johnston, Chief Scientist, DTS, Inc. Based on almost 30 years experience with signal processing, hearing, vision, and acoustic research, this Master Class will address issues ranging from Head Related Transfer Functions to the actual filters implemented in the human cochlea; loudness vs. intensity; the law of the first wave front; localization; auditory masking and, the effects of attention and inter-sensory interaction. Attendees will acquire an understanding of how the ear performs frequency analysis, and how that affects everything else related to the human auditory system.

THE HYBRID EDIT/MIX APPROACH TO POST-PRODUCTION SOUND: Skip Lievsay. With numerous Academy, Golden Reel, and Cinema Audio Society awards and nominations, Skip Lievesay has worked on the sound-design and mixing of such blockbuster films as “True Grit,â€? “No Country For Old Men;â€? “The Big Lebowski;â€? “Goodfellas;â€? “I Am Legend;â€? “O Brother, Where Art Thou?;â€? and “Men In Black.â€? Skip will engage a Pro Tools workstation to illustrate his unique “Hybrid Edit/Mix” approach to post production sound that erases the traditional lines between sound design, editing, ADR and final mix, as all these actions are performed concurrently with the picture edit. The process provides the director with a thorough appreciation of the sound during the crucial editing stage.

THE ART OF RECORDING LARGE ORCHESTRAS FOR FEATURE FILMS: Gary Chester, Feature Film Scoring Mixer. An accomplished scoring engineer who has recorded orchestras in studios around the globe for such films as: “Dead Man Walking,â€? “Delovely,â€? “Silence Of The Lambs,â€? “Bronx Talesâ€? and “Naked Lunch,â€? Chester’s Master Class will define and demonstrate this complex art. Topics will include: Composer Discussions; Musical & Technical Approaches; Headphones Pros & Cons; Miking, Control Room and Studio Setup; Pro Tools Sessions; Timelines; Click/Headphones; Mixing Stems & Fold Downs; and File Organization, 5.1, and Stereo. An intensive, high-level program for professional mixers.

THE FINE LINE BETWEEN VOICING AND DESIGN: Casey Dowdell and Brian Zolner. When the design brief of a digital to analog conversion system calls for performance regardless of cost, a series of known concepts can be put in place. When performance is the highest priority, the execution and fine-tuning of these concepts changes the design brief and project schedule. Protracted listening results in on-going design changes that must occur to achieve the requisite extraordinary outcome. Mr. Dowdell, formerly of Lexicon and HP, and Mr. Zolner, formerly of The Harman Specialty Group, are co-founders of Bricasti Design.

Alan Silverman is the founder of Arf! Mastering. He has mastered numerous Grammy Award CDs, including “Lagrimas Negras,” nominated for Record of The Year, Album of The Year, and Best Engineered Recording; the critically acclaimed re-mastering of the RCA and MCA back-catalogs of British supergroup The Kinks on hi-resolution SACD, and for his restoration of the soundtrack of the Americana cult-classic “Heartworn Highways,” selected by the editors of Stereophile Magazine as one of the “66 must-have CDs of all time.” He teaches the art of mastering to undergrads at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU|Tisch and to graduate students in the Tonemeister program at NYU|Steinhardt. He has been active in the AES since 1991.

Photo: 131st AES Convention Master Class Chair Alan Silverman


The 131st Audio Engineering Convention will be held in NY’s Jacob Javits Convention Center Thursday, October 20 thru Sunday, Oct. 23.

The Audio Engineering Society was formed in 1948 by a group of concerned audio engineers. The AES counts over 14,000 members throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Japan and the Far East. The organization serves as the pivotal force in the exchange and dissemination of technical information for the industry. For additional information visit