The 114th AES Convention, the major annual European event of the Audio Engineering Society, opens Saturday March 22nd at Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Center, and runs until next Tuesday, March 25th.
As the only professional Convention devoted exclusively to audio technology, the AES shows in Europe and the U.S. (in the fall) are known as important gatherings for exhibitors, engineers, scientists and those from the recording, broadcasting and live sound worlds. In Amsterdam, AES is expecting a large attendance of audio professionals from all parts of Europe, as well as from Asia and the U.S.
In a question-and-answer session, AES executive director Roger Furness explains the key elements of this year’s European AES show.
Roger, why did the AES choose Amsterdam as this years location?
“The AES Conventions go to different places throughout Europe each year, in order to enable a larger geographic audience to take part. Amsterdam is easy to reach and it is an enjoyable and cosmopolitan metropolis. In the future we will be adding new cities in Europe.”
What makes the Exhibition floor at an AES Convention so important?
“There is no other place in the world where you can find all the important pro audio companies under one roof – the AES exhibition is all about audio. This means that not only the big names, but also smaller companies and developers have the opportunity to show their products on a level playing field. So people who go around the exhibit floor don’t miss a new product from a small company because it is overwhelmed by a huge multi-media presentation on the stand next door.”
During the last couple of years, the pro audio business has changed quite a bit. How does the AES react to this change?
“The AES Convention adapts from year to year to meet the wishes and needs of the attendees. This time, we have added two main new elements: Exhibitor Seminars and Tutorial Seminars. These open up the Technical Program to people who might feel that the traditional program of papers and workshops concentrates too much on academic and theoretical topics.”
How are the Exhibitors Seminars and the Tutorial Seminars different from the traditional program?
“Let’s start with the Exhibitor Seminars. Within the traditional Technical Program there was no place for product-related information. This is exactly what the Exhibitors Seminars offer because new products need much more explanation and are more complex than they used to be. Genelec, for example, is giving an Exhibitor Seminar about their new subwoofer technology. DVD-Audio and SACD authorities will be telling us how to make recordings in these new formats.”
So the Exhibitor Seminars are presentations of a new product or product-related technology?
“Yes, exactly. We offer the new Exhibitor Seminars in a quiet room away from the lively atmosphere of the exhibition as concentrated one-hour presentations. We have already had a strong response from the Exhibitors, showing that this brand-new part of our program will be well received!”
And how about the Tutorial Seminars?
“The Tutorial Seminars are lectures about the fundamentals of audio. They are intended both as starting tutorials, and as refresher courses for engineers who may be moving into a new field or just want to brush up their knowledge. People from all backgrounds in pro audio, from the motivated student to the seasoned sound engineer, are welcome to this new type of technical presentation.”
How many Tutorial Seminars does the Convention program offer?
“Knowledge is the basis for success, so we organized a complete series of Tutorial Seminars with, in total, 10 different topics. Lectures will be held every day in the morning and afternoon. The Seminars will be given by presenters who are experts in their field and are experienced in giving tutorials.”
Apart from the Exhibitor Seminars and the Tutorial Seminars – what do you feel is the most important event at the show?
“Well, don’t forget our traditional Technical Program. It is a good reflection of the state of developments in the industry and in new technology. This year’s program is the strongest we have ever offered in an European Convention! Due to some slight changes we now offer a diversified program with Papers, Posters and Workshops. We have also organized Technical Tours, an intensive Students program and a set of Historical Events and Social Events.”
“However, I really believe that the two new seminar formats we are introducing are very fundamental and important additions to our Conventions. The AES has always been the source of audio information – but now, not just at a very high level – but for every single visitor to the show. I look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam for a highly informative and exciting Convention.”