Sound production students attend popular convention

  For anyone wanting to know more about the sound industry, one of the best places to go is the Audio Engineering Society’s Pro Audio Convention.

A group of fortunate students in Sean Harty’s Sound Production class had that opportunity on Oct. 18 when they went New York City to attend the AES 145th annual event at the Javits Center. They met industry leaders and tested equipment they had only heard of but never seen.

“It was overwhelming at first,” said student Lukas Vitullo.

Last year, the convention drew 746 speakers and authors, hosted 389 sessions and more than 15,000 people attended.

“There were so many places to go, I wondered where do I go next,” student Robinson Camacho said.

“It is a little daunting,” agreed Mr. Harty.

Once the class overcame the event’s scale they were able to enjoy the convention.

Lucas said he learned more about many companies he had read about. It inspired him to want to attend the National Association of Music Merchants, an enormous industry show held in Anaheim - one that Mr. Harty has attended several times.

The AES convention attracts music manufacturers, retailers, artists, musicians and more.

“It’s like a family reunion,” Mr. Harty said. “They have booths displaying products, and they showcase new products and new companies. It’s an educational experience.”

Once inside the Javitz Center, the students walked around and later broke into smaller groups to explore the scene on their own. They were able to talk to presenters, ask questions and test equipment.

“AES is probably the best trip I’ve ever been on,” student Ethan Nieves said. “It was cool to see. There was a lot of displays for the audio business. I think my favorite part was the live demo by Yamaha,” he said, adding the company was testing new speakers.

The demonstration was so loud student Abraham Sanchez said he could feel the noise throughout his whole body while he was in the room. It did not detract from his enjoyment of the event.

He was interested in the guitars and spent much of his time in this section looking over the variety of instruments. He also enjoyed getting to see the mixing boards.

“It was a good convention. We saw some good stuff. I liked the virtual reality,” student Chris Caceres said, adding that he was impressed by Dear Reality, which specializes in 3D audio.

“A highlight of the trip was the microphones from Telefunken, they were really cool,” Chris said, of the German-based audio company. He was intrigued with the company’s history after learning The Beatles used Telefunken microphones.

Mr. Harty noted there were several industry experts there to offer tips and conduct demonstrations on very expensive equipment.

“There was some saliva drooling,” he joked about the interest from his students.

Students Adam Pascual and Jose Mendez said they were impressed with the equipment they saw there, including the virtual reality mixer.

“There were a few areas where people could test different microphones,” student Michael Asher said. He was among those who gave them a try.

Student Paul Ingrassia also had an opportunity to test some of the more expensive pieces of equipment.

The event was also a chance for him to collect business cards from those he spoke with at the convention.

“I’m trying to develop relationships with people in these fields,” Paul said, thinking of the future.

“I had a really good time,” student Anthony Digilio said. “Some of the equipment I’ve seen but have not used.”

Mr. Harty joined his students in exploring the convention. He had an opportunity to speak with the CEO of Solid State Logic, a British-based leader in analog and digital audio consoles and invited him to speak to his classes in the future.

He also reconnected with a former colleague who was interested in speaking to his students about how to get a job in the sound industry.

“That is priceless,” Mr. Harty said of having someone involved in the industry share with his students the possibilities that exist for future work in the field.

Having gone to the convention this year, Mr. Harty said students will now be able to get into future AES conventions free of charge if they register early.

Mr. Harty hopes to take his students on their next field trip to The Public Theater in Manhattan in December to learn how sound is done for Broadway shows and television.