AES 2014 In Los Angeles
It’s been four years since the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention has been in Los Angeles. Finally, the event is back and I’m skipping the RMAF to stay around to participate in the working group on High-Resolution Audio and check out the panels, papers, and exhibits. There are a number of specific things that should prove very interesting.
The DEG has partnered with the AES to produce a series of panels on Friday under the banner “Digital Entertainment Group Presents High Resolution Audio Sessions”. From the descriptions on the AES Convention website, these sessions look very similar to the panels that happened at CE Week last June in New York City.
The first session starts at 10:00 am and lasts for 50 minutes. Here’s the description:
“Hi-Res Audio Devices for Every Lifestyle: Learn more details about the growing number of hi-res compatible devices available today from some of the biggest names in hi-res devices including Astell & Kern, dCS, DTS, Kimber Kable, Meridian, Mytek, and Sony. Subjects will include how to demonstrate hi-res audio at retail; the latest options for enjoying hi-res music on-the-go; and how to educate and engage young music enthusiasts. Moderated by Marc Finer, the panel includes Owen Kwon, John Quick, Fred Maher, Ray Kimber, Bob Stuart, Michal Jurewicz, and Aaron Levine.”
I’m not sure how demonstrating the available options for high-resolution, music servers and portable players are the most suitable things for audio engineering professionals but that’s what this panel promises. The panelists all represent manufacturers of these devices.
The second session is a rehash of the panel held in NYC. It happens from 11:30 – 12:20.
“The New Business of Hi-Res Music: Get an inside look at the opportunities and challenges associated with hi-res music from Mark Piibe at Sony Music, Howie Singer at Warner Music, and Jim Belcher at Universal Music. Topics will include licensing hi-res files; the latest distribution partners; ingesting and archiving digital assets; new subscription models; and the best ways to promote hi-res music.”
Unless the assembled audio engineers are looking to set up another HDtracks, PonoMusic, or SuperHiRez, the business of licensing existing tracks from the big three might better be directed to a business of music convention.
At 1:00, the focus shifts to the production of high-resolution audio. The Recording Academy’s P&E Wing (of which I’m a member) is co-sponsoring this session. They describe it as:
“Hi-Res Audio Production Workshop: [co-sponsored by the Recording Academy P&E Wing] Join top producers and engineers as they discuss the music creation process and best practices when recording, mixing and mastering in high resolution. The panel moderated by Leslie Ann Jones features Chuck Ainlay, John Burk, Ryan Ulyate, and Bob Clearmountain who will review the key aspects of various audio formats in context with their latest music projects.”
The represented professionals are all big name persons in the audio engineering or record business and they work with the Grammy winning artists. I inquired about participating on this panel but was politely informed that they wanted to focus on mainstream music production. I took that to mean that the stuff that I’ve been doing for 15 years is on the edge of the music business…and I wouldn’t disagree. I’m not aware of everything that this group has done, so I’ll stop by and check out what they have to say.
The last session is scheduled for 3:00 – 3:50 pm. It’s going to be a Super Session.
“High Resolution Audio—Super Session: Meet and mix with some of the brightest minds in the business including Bruce Botnick, George Massenburg, and Andrew Scheps as they explore a number of the most challenging issues facing the recording industry today concerning the adoption of high resolution audio. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from these opinion makers!”
I can only assume that it takes celebrity status to make it onto a panel…something I recognize that I lack. But I know that there’s no one that has been working and promoting high-resolution audio longer or harder than I have. Sometimes simply knowing your stuff isn’t enough. You have to have worked with a big name recording artist.
Tomorrow, I’ll clue you in on the papers that will be presented that look to address the perceptibility of high-resolution audio.
8 thoughts on “AES 2014 In Los Angeles”
“the most challenging issues facing the recording industry today concerning the adoption of high resolution audio”………
The use of the word “challenging” says it all. I would suggest that the only challenge it faces is getting the bean counters to recognise a profit in it. Rather than an AES convention, perhaps it should be held by the CPA (Certified Practising Accountants.)
Our love of music and the art simply doesn’t come into it.
I’m sure you will find an opportunity to chat with some of those ‘celebreties’ – maybe some of them will even listen to your experiences with 15 years of handling ‘highres’ in the production.
Do you know, if these sessions in some way or another will be available online afterwards?
It’s true that I know most of these people…I’ve even been included on panels and sessions with them on previous occasions. They are all very fine engineers…but they work within the traditional model of the record business and therefore are constrained in ways that I’m not. I’ll keep you posted.
I recently had a hearing test and found out I have hearing loss above 15kHz. My hearing otherwise is excellent and I enjoy mainly classical music and jazz. Would I benefit at all from Hi-Res music?
I have been buying recordings almost exclusively in 5.1 surround sound for several years now, mostly SACD, since that seems to be the most common media. I listen to them on my home theater setup. I also have a lot of DVD-Audio and have just started buying Blu-ray Audio. And I have a FiiO X3 for Hi-Res files listening. But in view of my hearing loss, would I be wasting money going down the Hi-Res path?
I don’t believe that having some hearing loss will diminish the value of real high-resolution audio for you. There are lots of other factors that might make these recordings sound “better” than previous versions.
Your “plate” may be full already or you may already know or be aware of the work these people do or already know them, but if not I recommend you try to track down JJ Johnston to chat about your desired HRA test and also about his superb work in perceptual soundfield recording and reconstruction (crudely put and horribly simplified, where to put microphones for recording), and Zoran Cvetkovic for his work in the soundfield recording space as well. For example,
http://www.academia.edu/973523/Perceptual_evaluation_of_a_circularly_symmetric_microphone_array_for_panoramic_recording_of_audio and http://www2.ensc.sfu.ca/~ljilja/cnl/guests/cvetkovic.pdf.
I think these 2 people are doing some of the most insightful work in how to best record and reproduce a soundfield to either reproduce the original performance or reproduce what a recording engineer wants listeners to hear.
Regarding the HRA panels – of course you were excluded – they (the major labels) know where you stand and want none of it. Now that they’ve made it rather clear (if they hadn’t already) that HRA is to be marketing fluff only, I suggest a few questions in the sessions like:
“If I decide to license ‘hi-res’ files from major labels for distribution, how will the licensing terms protect me from consumers who want hi-res but know that upconverted and anything other than 96k/24 bit PCM or similar recordings aren’t better than CDDA and thus can’t be ‘hi-res’?
“Please explain how high resolution recording best practices differ depending on the recorded music being “mainstream” or not “mainstream”.
Just being at the panels will be enough to get a reaction…I don’t usually have to ask any questions. I am thinking about doing some “man in the convention hall” type interviews with audio engineers and ask them what they think HRA is. Should prove interesting.