By Marc Loftus
Issue: October 1, 2003


The 115th AES Convention comes to NYC's Javits Center this month, bringing with it an opportunity for attendees to check out the latest in pro audio gear. In addition to manufacturers showcasing their new products, the show also presents technical papers, panel discussions and tours of local sound studios. There's plenty to do, so for many sound pros, finding the time to do it is the biggest issue.

Pre-show buzz suggests that Digidesign's new HD Accel PCI card for its Pro Tools|HD system will attract a lot of attention.

Brian Wick, chief engineer at NYC's AudioEngine, has plans to stop by the Digidesign booth in preparation for his facility's upgrades.

"Accel is the hot item this year," says Wick. "We're using an HD system in Studio D right now, and I'll be upgrading Studios A, B and C to HD."

It's the processing power that Wick feels is so intriguing. "The new Accel cards are double or triple the Farm cards. It makes it much easier for the engineer to use plug-ins and do processing."

While Studio D's HD system just came online, Wick says the room will be upgraded with Accel by January. He also has plans to visit the Dolby booth to look at Dolby E encoders and decoders. "A lot of clients bring in two-track encoded Dolby E and this will allow us to do editing in the encoded format without disrupting the encode."

Marty Newman, chief engineer at NYC's Howard Schwartz Recording also plans on attending AES and has a number of things on his "to-see" list. "We're going to be looking at near-field speakers, self-powered monitors, obviously some Pro Tools plug-ins for the new HD system." Newman also has his eye out for DVD-RAM recorders and eight-channel film-style dubbers.

"I'm looking for the whole facility because sometimes the guys don't get out to shop," he says. "We don't have any [formal] budget. I want to know what's out there. I'm looking for problem-solving equipment."

HSR has a number of Pro Tools systems that will go through upgrades, and while a trade show is good for gathering information, Newman prefers to evaluate gear in-house.

"We always want it in our facility to see how it works," he says. "When it's preloaded for a demo, everything looks great. OK, let's start from scratch now with my stuff in my room to see how it works."