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Positive Feedback ISSUE 16
november/december 2004


Dorsey's 2004 AES Show Awards
by Scott Dorsey


Best New Product in Show

The AD1 DSD converter from Grimm Audio. Certainly one of the more carefully designed A/D converters I have seen in a while, and the simplicity of the DSD process makes it possible to implement with op-amps and comparators rather than relying on monolithic converter chips.

NHT & E Stock Band… one of those free moments!

Best Free Thing at Show

In spite of wonderful free connectors from the Amphenol booth and a variety of fine coffee products, the best actual free thing at the show this year was the homemade wine from Robert Rich at the Millennia Media booth. It was not the most amazing wine of all time, but it was probably the best homemade wine I have had, and it certainly beat out many of the commercial products at the various manufacturers' parties. It was well balanced and just oaked enough. Not much of a finish, but still perfectly reasonable.

Best Panel at Show

The student recording competition gave students from around the world a chance to have their recordings evaluated by a panel of experts, but also for the audience to hear those recording and the experts' commentary. The awards presented were only a small part of what made this competition a very enjoyable experience to watch. If only the playback system were a little bit better, it could have been my absolute favorite part of the show.

Best Sound in Show

Genelec, of all folks. I was really quite pleased at the new Genelec monitors that are replacing the 103x series speakers. Very smooth top end, with detail that isn't spitty, and without the weird pipe organ resonances in some of their older speakers. Their demo sounded quite remarkably good.

Loudest Sound in Show

Apple Computers, whose demos could be heard even upstairs in the lobby. Really surprising that these folks managed to outdo some extremely loud competition.

Climax Teknologies speakers on display.

Worst Sound in Show

Climax Teknologies makes a line of speakers that look like very classy high end home products, but sound like boxes filled randomly with the cheapest possible drivers with no thought given to actual system response. A dozen of them playing at the same time also leads to amazing comb filtering effects. I'm not sure why these guys picked the AES show of all places to show this equipment; briefly I had a flashback of being in Las Vegas at a CES, it was so traumatic.

Best New Gadget That's Really Old

The ADT V700 module system. This looks like a cross between a mastering console and the old SCAMP racks. All of the standard mastering processor modules are available, but also there are some weird ones like noise gates and ring modulators. And hey, you can even put mike preamp modules in there.

Best Paper in Show

Alexander Voshivillo's Comparative Analysis of Nonlinear Distortion in Compression Drivers and Horns, a talk surveying the various distortion modes in horn speakers and compression drivers, with good quantitative models for each one of them. Nothing too innovative, but a good summary of recent research and a model that puts various distortion modes together in one place. Preprint 6192.

Worst Paper in Show

Tsakiris Vassilis and Orinos Chris' Optimum Loudspeaker System with Subwoofer and Digital Equalization. What makes this a bad paper is that it starts out asking the wrong question. They ask if tonal changes caused by raising the crossover frequency on consumer subwoofers from 80Hz to 120Hz can be compensated for using DSP. And, they do a good job of doing so, but tonal response is one of the least important issues. They ignore impulse response completely, and they do nothing to look at the severe damage in imaging by using a mono subwoofer crossed at 80Hz, let alone at 120Hz. Preprint 6266.

The Audio-Technica party: don't leave home without a Sennheiser!

Most Amusing Moment in Show

Watching the Sennheiser folks being escorted out of the Audio-Technica party.

Best Quote at Show

"Well, that's what killed DSD for Sony."

Yowzah!! Dave Gordon of Josephson Engineering, with EveAnna Manley cleverly disguised as Bill Putnam!

Best Costumes

Bill Putnam and EveAnna Manley.

Worst Theft at Show

Sunday night after the end of the convention, an SUV rented by Telefunken NA was broken into at the Fifth and Mission garage. Four demo Telefunken microphones were stolen, along with approximately 125 Aloha shirts and other promotional materials. All of these mikes had very low serial numbers and should be easy to identify.

Best Butt in Show

Kurt Albershardt of Paragon Communications (boy butt) and Jamey D'Amato of Sound Toys (girl butt).

Press Coup of the Year

Bill Whitlock managed to get basically the same article with the same illustrations into Live Sound and Radio World EE Extra, both the month of the show, with both magazines available on the show floor.

Most Cleavage in Show

Walter Storyk Design Group. In spite of tattoos that could have used some touchup work, the sheer amount of cleavage displayed in this booth on the part of a number of young women was impressive and made it very hard to concentrate on the audio products being shown there.