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AES Amsterdam greeted with optimism

Holland: "This is the first major event of our 60th anniversary," announced AES executive director Roger Furness at the event's crowded first-day press conference at the RAI in Amsterdam, writes Dave Robinson.

Holland: “This is the first major event of our 60th anniversary,” announced AES executive director Roger Furness at the event’s crowded first-day press conference at the RAI in Amsterdam, writes Dave Robinson.

“AES has grown from 150 people in 1948 to 14,000 members globally,” continued Furness. “We are truly a professional society dedicated to audio.”

Introducing a four-day expo and conference packed with thoughtfully-planned events, tours and workshops, Furness stated, “The learning experience is second to none at the AES.”

It was standing room only at the Sgt Pepper event on Sunday 18th May. Geoff Emerick and Peter Filleul hosted the now almost-legendary presentation on the 40th anniversary recording of the seminal Beatles album. The 90-minute event had the audience thrilled and elated with a mixture of Q&A, technical talk, and footage from the BBC documentary of bands including Stereophonics and Travis recording their choice of Beatles track at London’s British Grove studios. The outstanding presentation is ‘pepper’ed with humorous highlights, such as the moment the Kaiser Chiefs, doing their version of Getting Better, complete a take – only to be told flatly by Emerick through the talkback: “_No.”

While there was much delight at Sgt Pepper 2007, there was a good vibe on the show floor too. The show saw some genuine first releases, including the Sennheiser MZD 8000 digital module (designed for work with the MKH 8000 series), the Twin-Finity preamp from Universal Audio, the C 214 “C 414-on-a-budget” mic from AKG, and the Audio Precision two-channel version of its APx5000 series.

Pulling no punches, Roger Furness was philosophical about the exhibition size. “Let’s be honest, it’s smaller than usual, regrettably.” There are around 120 stands at the RAI this year. “We booked the RAI four years ago, as Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations. Now things have changed, and people have told us they don’t want to be here so many times in one year.”

But pre-registrations for the event were up by 25%, and there was much enthusiasm to be found on the showfloor.

“We’ve seen quite a lot of customers we’ve been working with, especially those from Eastern Europe. There’s been lots on interest in the OnAir 2500,” said Soundcraft Studer’s Dave Neal. Studer celebrated its 60th anniversary at the AES.

“Although attendance is clearly down, the traffic on our booth has been consistent,” said Euphonix’s head of sales Russell Waite. “There’s been a lot of interest in our product ranges – and plenty of solid leads to follow up after the show. [Saturday] was a good day.”

Stephen Wray of Belfast’s APT was positive too. “We hit half of our targeted show leads on the first day. And we’ve had key industry contacts walk on to the stand out of the blue on Day 2.” APT, with its brand new image and logo, highlighted how its apt-X algorithm can deliver real-time audio over IP and Bluetooth at AES.

Furness revealed that the AES is making available on DVD (for a fee of 10 euros) interviews with nearly 100 leading lights in the pro-audio constellation. There are 20 initially to purchase, with 10 interviews per month to follow.

Next year’s event will be held in Munich from May 7th-10th.

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