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Positive Feedback ISSUE 22
november/december 2005


Dorsey’s AES 2005 Show Awards
by Scott Dorsey


Best Sound in Show: 

The live piano in the Zenph Studios booth. It sounded like a real piano, and with the Zenph system playing back a transcription from a Glenn Gould recording, it was almost like the real thing without the humming.

Worst Sound in Show:

The TEC award ceremony. Really, really bad production work. Feedback all over the place, sound bites improperly cued which were played when they shouldn't have been and not played when they should have been. PowerPoint slides popping up at the wrong time.

Whoever committed this atrocity, especially in front of some of the world's best audio engineers, should be ashamed of themselves.

Loudest Sound in Show:

If you believe the fellow at the Under Cover booth, some nut from Long Island just showed up at their booth with an eight-foot guitar and asked if anybody wanted to hear him play it. We did all hear him play it, even people that were hundreds of feet away on the other side of a wall. OSHA standards were violated.

Best Free Stuff:

Not only did RMGI acquire some of the old BASF manufacturing facilities and their original tape formulations, but in the process they also got a bunch of their promotional materials. So they were giving out coffee mugs and tote bags promoting a company that no longer even exists. Needless to say, they have quite a fine sense of humor as well as of the absurd.

Best New Product:

Studio Projects is manufacturing a console designed by Malcolm Toft. It's semi-modular, built in 8-channel buckets, and it looks and feels like a real console but is priced to compete with the low-end music store consoles. I think this fills a void between the high end and low end gear and I am very pleased to see something like this coming out.

Best New Product Category:

Analogue tape, with four manufacturers showing products.

Most Awaited New Product:

After six years of promising, THAT Semiconductor finally released samples of the THAT 1512 mike preamplifier chip. It's pin-compatible with the SSM2017, but should be a serious upgrade for devices that use the 2017.

Best Paper In Show:

Finite Element Modelling of a Loudspeaker Part 2: Applications. What made this paper great was less that it was a fairly complete overview of the use of finite element methods to model loudspeaker drivers, but that it was presented by John Vanderkooy, who knows his material thoroughly and actually discussed how things work off the cuff rather than reading the bullets on PowerPoint slides like many presenters. He talked about the various mechanical elements of the driver and how changing their shape and material affects the total system behaviour, using the FE model. By all means if you are interested in loudspeaker drivers you should check out preprint 6593.

Worst Paper In Show:

Advanced Multichannel Audio System for Reproducing a Live Sound Field With Ultimate Sensation of Presence, preprint 6559. I will not mention the name of the authors. These folks appear to have the notion that throwing as many microphones into a room as possible and playing the recording back using a speaker at each microphone position is innovative. This sort of thing was done in the fifties, and it was a bad idea then. Sampling a sound field at random points is not a shortcut to better imaging. Preprint 6559.

Worst Demo in Show:

The guys from Violet Microphones just put four mikes up next to one another, all into a cheap Behringer mixer. They brought all the gains up at the same time and handed me a pair of headphones. What with all the comb filtering between the mikes, it was hard to tell what anything sounded like at all. Even with only one mike active, though, the key jingle test was not very well-handled by the things. The fellow doing the demo did not seem to want people actually handling or checking the products.

Uli Behringer/Quad Eight Memorial Duplication Award:

Also goes to Violet Microphones.

Worst Demo Space in Show:

The Focal yurt. Great speakers, but the low end inside the yurt was very, very bizarre.

Best Costume In Show:

James Bentley of Dale Pro Audio.

Best Large Format Console Company Owned By a Famous Rock Star:

SSL, which was also showing a line of rackmount gear based on the standard SSL 9000 console circuitry designs.

Best Chinese Food:

Danny Ng Restaurant, 34 Pell St. Formerly the Lucky Garden Restaurant.

Best Butt in Show:

Gary Louie of Seattle.