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Friday preview: AES Convention Warsaw

More of what to expect at the Audio Engineering Society event in Poland

Mel Lambert reports from Warsaw on stand-out events at the four-day AES Convention, which continues today at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel and runs until Sunday.

There is a well-balanced programme of papers, workshops, tutorials and other events ahead of us here at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel in historic Warsaw, courtesy of the diligent co-chairs Bozena Kostek and Umberto Zanghieri. After Thursday’s excellent sessions on Spatial Audio, the proceedings open today, Friday, with a paper entitled “Multi-Rate System for Arbitrary Audio Processing”, during which Daekyoung Noh from DTS will describe a coding scheme in which, to minimise computational complexity, high sampling rate signals are split into two sub-bands and only the lower one processed. Various compensations are said to minimise aliasing noise and distortions when the bands are recombined. A neat trick indeed.

In his paper “Short-Term Analysis of a Digital Sigma-Delta Modulator with Non-stationary Audio Signals”, Marcin Lewandowski from Warsaw University of Technology will focus on ways to examine and optimize sigma-delta A-D converters in the time rather than the frequency domain. “Application of Sinusoidal Coding for Enhanced Bandwidth Extension in MPEG-H USAC”, presented by a team from Zylia sp. z o.o., Poznan, Poland, and Poznan University of Technology, will describe a new audio coding technique for very low bit rates based on the existing MPEG-D standard for Unified Speech and Audio Coding/USAC; a new high-frequency sinusoidal coder is said to improve subjective quality of HF content.

The programme of tutorials continues with “Microphones: Can You Hear the Specs?” chaired by Eddy Brixen from EBB-consult, Denmark, during which panelists from Georg Neumann, Josephson Engineering and Schoeps will consider the most important microphone specs and how they are obtained, incusing their importance to perceived sound. “Live Sound Subwoofer System Calibration”, to be presented by Adam Hill from the University of Derby, will demonstrate how low-frequency coverage across a large audience area can be achieved while simultaneously minimising on-stage energy, including practical ideas for system calibration.

Today’s “Project Studio Expo” continues the microphone theme with sessions on “Understanding Microphones” with Udo Wagner from Microtech-Gefell, “A Mic for Every Application” with Helmut Wittek from Schoeps, and “Getting the Most from Your Mics and the Performance” by Warsaw-based sound engineer Mietek Felecki.

The particularly relevant Workshop Program continues today with a session entitled “Mixing Meets Mastering: Where the Line Becomes Blurred”, chaired by Rob Toulson from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, during which participants will review the evolution of these two disciplines, particularly when their practices become merged; there are a number of arguments for and against the use of mastering techniques during mixing, including taking a greater responsibility for dynamics and noise cancellation. But are there other benefits and/or disadvantages?

“Recent Developments in Sound Field Synthesis”, chaired by Sascha Spors from the University of Rostock, Germany, will consider Wave Field Synthesis and higher-order Ambisonics, while “Cinema Loudness Working Group – Draft Recommended Practice”, chaired by Brian McCarty from Coral Sea Studios, Australia, will review developments from the recent AES 57th International Conference in Hollywood and the plethora of mixes created for multiple distribution platforms, with the eventual goal of a single master mix according to a proposal from the Standards Working Group. “Loudness Wars: Give Peaks a Chance”, chaired by Thomas Lund from TC Electronic, Denmark, will review the work of EBU R128 and EU legislation to prevent early hearing loss caused by personal music players, the recommendation being to master music no louder than -16LUFS, and to avoid loudness normalisation.

Tonight’s stand-out Special Event comprises an organ concert by Francis Rumsey at the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army, site of all of Warsaw’s major military religious feasts and close to its Old Town.

Pictured (L-R): AES president-elect John Krivit, convention co-chairs Umberto Zanghieri and Bozena Kostek, AES president Andres Mayo.