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AES Europe: next stop, London!

GERMANY: The location city for next year's European Convention was expected to be confirmed shortly after virtual press-time, writes David Davies. APTX, Fraunhofer IIS, MAYAH, Optocore, Schoeps and Sennheiser were among the companies showcasing their latest projects at this year's show, which took place at the M.O.C in Munich from May 7-10.

GERMANY: The location city for next year’s European Convention was expected to be confirmed shortly after virtual press-time, writes David Davies. APTX, Fraunhofer IIS, MAYAH, Optocore, Schoeps and Sennheiser were among the companies showcasing their latest projects at this year’s show, which took place at the M.O.C in Munich from May 7-10.

While an official announcement had yet to be made at time of writing, posters liberally sprinkled throughout the M.O.C. Hall 2 entrance area revealed that next year’s AES Europe will take place in London from May 20-23. The precise venue is still to be agreed, although PSNE’s soundings suggested that the ExCeL Centre might be the most likely candidate.

Peter Filleul, executive director of the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services) is among those who will welcome a relocation to London. He tells PSN-e that the APRS is “very happy” that a dedicated pro-audio exhibition is likely to grace the shores of the UK once more, and anticipates that the APRS will have major input into next year’s show.

Back to the 2009 event, and PSN-e’s round-up begins with APTX, which highlighted its recent licensing agreements with the likes of MAYAH and Linear Acoustic, and announced its current project to develop a new, ‘highly scalable’ audio codec called apt-X Scalable. Following on from the recent launch of apt-X Lossless, apt-X Scalable is set to suit applications ranging from media players to wireless microphones.

Fraunhofer IIS showcased two forthcoming MPEG standards – Unified Speech and Audio Coding and Spatial Audio Object Coding. Developed in partnership with VoiceAge Corporation, the upcoming standard MPEG Unified Speech and Audio Codec (working title) is set to be the first-ever audio codec to support high-quality compression of both speech and audio at very low bit-rates. Also under the spotlight was the forthcoming MPEG standard Spatial Audio Object Coding for teleconferencing and interactive remixing applications. The new technology enables highly efficient transportation of individual audio input signals in a compatible mono or stereo downmix, and is expected to be especially attractive for online music distribution or transmission over channels with limited bandwidth.

Josephson Engineering announced a new model in its Series Seven studio microphone line. Designed to suit a range of studio applications, the C715 features a large diaphragm capsule with a pattern that is adjustable using a vent on the back of the microphone – the microphone is normally a cardioid, but closing the vent makes it into an omni. The company also showed a new wind instrument pickup, WT2, developed to allow sampling of the air column inside the instrument, just after the reed.

MAYAH showcased a number of new products, including the 14-model C11 Series of audio codecs. The extensive range is designed to suit telecommunications, broadcasting and studio applications. “It’s been a useful show for us,” says MAYAH’s Daniel Adasinsky. “There have been fewer visitors than normal, but the quality is higher. It’s the people who really want to find out about new products that have travelled here. The number of international visitors is impressive.”

Optocore exhibited two major new products at AES Europe that are designed to work seamlessly with its Optical Digital Network System (in conjunction with the DD32E interface). The X6R is a 16-channel device housed in a 1U rack enclosure with two rear slots for customised I/O configuration. Five different cards are presently available for eight mic or line ins, eight line outs, eight mic ins with preamps, and eight AES/EBU ins with sample rate conversion. The X6R supports sample rates up to 192kHz and includes an internal word clock for stand-alone applications. Housed in a similar package, the V3R device has a single card slot on the rear and is suitable as analogue input or output satellite where no more than eight channels are required. The available cards provide eight mic or line ins and eight line outs.

The company also announced that Mike Case, formerly of Digidesign, has joined the company as international sales manager.

Schoeps displayed items including the VSR 5 microphone preamplifier and the MK 22 open cardioid microphone capsule, and also showcased a new surround prototype. Described as a “plug and play” solution for surround ambience, the ORTF Surround Set comprises four CCM 41 L compact microphones; a four-way ‘ORTF Surround Bar’ terminated with a Neutrik multi-pin connector; an elastic suspension (Rycote Invision); a windscreen made of a newly-designed fabric that offers improved sonic transparency; a ‘Windjammer’ for additional wind protection; and a five-metre, four-way multi-core cable terminated with four XLR-3s.

Sennheiser showed its entry-level 2000 Series wireless system for the first time. Designed for stage, broadcast and installed sound applications, the new range includes handheld and bodypack transmitters with single or twin receivers, along with other extras said to make setting up the multi-channel 2000 system fast and simple. Depending on the UHF range, the units have a switching bandwidth of up to 75MHz, in which up to 64 compatible frequency presets are available for microphones and up to 32 for monitoring systems.

The next AES event in the calendar is the Latin American Conference, which will take place in Sao Paulo from May 26-28 and incorporate a focus on ‘Audio for HDTV and Beyond’. Conferences in Detroit (US) and Hiller_d (Denmark) follow in June and August, respectively, while the AES Tokyo Convention is scheduled for July. The 127th AES Convention is scheduled for October 9-12 in New York.