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Issue: November 1, 2005

AES 2005

By: Marc Loftus

More than 20,000 audiophiles attended last month's AES show in New York, where the latest in audio hardware and software was on display. Digidesign's introduction of Pro Tools 7 and SSL's renewed commitment to post were but two announcements that garnered serious attention.

I had a chance to speak with several pros that attended AES, and while each had their own agenda, all were looking for cost-effective solutions. Steve Davis, business manager, post production at Crawford Communications in Atlanta, says he was at AES trying to figure out how not to spend money. Crawford built a massive post facility a few years back, and Davis says its his job to figure out how to maximize the life of the studio's numerous Pro Tools suites and three SSL Avant mix rooms.

Marty Newman is VP/chief of engineering at HSR/NY, a facility with 10 rooms offering recording, editing and mixing services. While Newman says he wasn't looking for anything specific, he was impressed with Cedar's plug-ins and hardware, which can help solve audio problems that are common to lower-budget productions. He also looked at consoles for the studio's five Pro Tools|HD suites, and went by the Dolby booth to see the latest in 5.1 technology.

Bob Pomann, principal of Pomann Sound in New York, says for pros doing audio post, they need to look no further than Digidesign. Pomann just took delivery of a 16-channel ICON and says it can handle all types of jobs. He also likes the affordability of a Pro Tools system with an ICON worksurface, which he estimates to cost between $105K and $110K.

And Ron DiCesare, senior engineer at NYC's Ultra-Sound, came to the show with a detailed plan. Ultra-Sound is looking to add a second suite, so DeCesare says his strategy is to upgrade the "A" room with new gear while relocating his current Pro Tools and Yamaha 02R to the new "B" room. Part of his AES mission was to check out acoustic materials and pre-built iso booths that might help save construction costs and allow for more of the budget to go toward gear. He also looked at various microphones for a comparable, but more affordable alternative to the popular, yet pricey Neumann U87.