Audio Engineering Society Show Wrap-Up

   By Anais Wheeler   Categories: Audio EquipmentConferencesInterview

Last month (wow, it’s November!), Focal staff and authors attended the AES show in San Francisco. We always enjoy meeting readers, instructors, and potential and actual authors in person, but this year was especially eventful for us.

Not only did we exhibit on the show floor and co-sponsor the Afterglow party at Studio Trilogy and sponsor the student Recording and Design competitions and host Mike Senior’s one-on-one mixing sessions in our  booth and demo our online video tutorial site FilmSkills and host the Focal Press author panel, we also partied like rock stars! No, really, though, we did a lot this year at AES and we have quite a few pictures and author impressions to show for it.

Saturday was by far our biggest day in the booth, with a couple of stand-out titles that flew off our shelves. If you haven’t already checked these books out, we humbly suggest you do. Our top three sellers this year were Will Pirkle’s Designing Audio Effect Plug-Ins in C++, Bob Katz’s new book iTunes Music: Mastering High Resolution Audio Delivery, and Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio.


Also on Saturday, Will Pirkle and Mike Senior were two of the five participants in our author panel, which also included David Miles Huber (Modern Recording TEchniques), Jay Kadis (Science of Sound Recording), and Dr. Will Moylan (Understanding and Crafting the Mix). The panel  discussed whether project studios can get pro results, and used some of your comments from this very blog to fuel the discussion. The consensus? Yes (duh!), the key is honing your skills and hard-earned experience. Our panelists talked a bit about how they achieved those skills and how they teach them or pass them on. The panel asked how you assess “pro” results, and concluded that “pro” is a moving target that’s in the ear of the client–so staying on top of what sounds are selling is key.

Will Pirkle said afterward, “I was very excited to see the turnaround in growth of the show, papers and sessions over the last few years–it seems that we are poised for the next audio technology to bloom. Will the iPad Apps take root with professional engineers and producers? Will internet music-collaboration take off as the bandwidth issues are solved and WiFi becomes free everywhere? For sure the “project studio” has come into its own as the lively discussions revealed, with technological advances being the great equalizer (no pun intended) so that engineering and production skills will ultimately separate the substance from the plain stuff. Finally, my favorite paper sessions were the Audio Analysis and Synthesis which are very much aligned with what we are doing  in my department (University of Miami) right now.”

Mike Senior cam

ped out in Focal’s booth to listen to and provide feedback on readers’ mixes. “It was great to meet so many readers face to face and hear how they’re making use of Mixing Secrets in real-world project-studio situations. I particularly appreciated the feedback I had from educators, which should help me continue refining the on-line resources,” he told us.

Mastering engineer Bob Katz had a very busy AES show, participating in a number of talks throughout the weekend. The Platinum Mastering talk on the Mastered for iTunes spec has generated some online buzz: http://www.gears

Bob is feeling good after AES: “For the first time in a long time I’m feeling optimistic about the future of our audio/music industry. Things are moving forward in the loudness normalization camp and it looks like my predictions are finally going to come true, with luck within the next couple of years. ”

On the floor, we heard a lot about the Slate Pro Audio touchscreen console…you should just take a look.


We had a great time at the Saturday night party at Studio Trilogy, and we didn’t even run into any trouble walking from the SOMA area afterward. We failed, though, to take pictures, so if you did, we’d love to see them!

Until next year!




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