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AES Looks Back on Successful 128th Convention in London

AES Review

More visitors, a packed conference programme, a city location popular with the society's members and a more popular series of events and seminars contributed to the success of the recent European Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, held from May 22-25th at the Novotel Exhibition Centre in Hammersmith, London.

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According to AES Executive Director Roger Furness, the groundswell of support for the London show was evident from the moment the location of the 128th Convention was announced in Munich in 2009 — its first return to London for 23 years — and this was reflected in the visitor numbers to the Conference Sessions on the Upper Floor of the Convention Centre, and the Exhibition Hall on the Ground Floor.

"We're still collating visitor data, but it seems that we had over 3,600visitors to the Convention over four days, which we're pleased with, given the economic climate," explains Roger Furness. "The Exhibition Hall, though reflecting the challenging state of the audio industry we've experienced throughout 2009 and 2010 so far, were particularly busy with visitors from the UK, mainland Europe, the Americas and the Far East on Sunday and Monday, and the Conference sessions upstairs were packed to 'standing-room only' capacity from the Saturday morning right through until well after the Convention was supposed to have closed on Tuesday May 25th." Officially, the Convention shut at 5pm on Tuesday, but the Conference floor was still packed at that time and three of the popular discussion seminars were still running at well after six o'clock. Even the unseasonably excellent British weather over the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the still-lurking threat to aviation posed by Icelandic volcanic ash and the lure of a long national holiday weekend in many parts of Europe did not, it seems, prevent visitors from travelling to Hammersmith for the Convention.

"London is a world centre for the recording industry, and clearly proved an attractive venue for audio professionals," explains Roger Furness. "The venue in Hammersmith was popular, situated as it was a stone's throw from the mastering and recording studios in King Street such as British Grove and Metropolis, and BBC Television Centre was just two miles away. But our figures show that the Convention wasn't just popular with UK visitors. We heard from many foreign visitors at the show that made the trip here expressly because the AES was in London, who might not have come in previous years when the Convention was held in mainland Europe. We also had our usual strong programme of technical presentations on hot topics — loudness, and the EBU's forthcoming recommendations for broadcast guidelines was a recurrent theme in the Conference this year — but to this were added some fantastic discussion sessions and seminars co-organised by the UK Association of Professional Recording Services, and the Music Producers Guild, to whom we are very grateful."

Highlights of the Convention programme included top UK and US producers and engineers such as Phil Harding, Andy Bradfield, Jon Kelly, George Massenburg and Chuck Ainlay appearing in discussion panels, seminars on mixing audio for games in surround and stereo, organised tours of the EMI Sound archives, of nearby British Grove Studios and to the London Science Museum, and the ceremonial presentation of an Honorary Membership of the AES to 'the Fifth Beatle' Sir George Martin CBE on the Convention's final afternoon. For the first time, too, an official podcast was created live on all four days to give a flavour of the Convention to those who could not attend in person - these may now be downloaded at

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AES Podcasts

This time last year, of course, the venue for the next European Convention had already been announced, so what of next year's Convention? "We're currently gathering feedback from visitors and exhibitors about what worked and what didn't in Hammersmith," explains Roger Furness. "The question at present is whether the Convention continues to circulate around European cities or whether it remains in London next year. That will depend to some extent on how our exhibitors view the prospects for the market over the coming months, and whether we might need a larger venue next year. However, we should be in a position to make an announcement on next year's European Convention within the next couple of months.

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About AES

The Audio Engineering Society is the only professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology. Founded in the United States in 1948, the AES has grown to become an international organisation that unites audio engineers, creative artists, scientists and students worldwide by promoting advances in audio and disseminating new knowledge and research. Currently, over 14,000 members are affiliated with more than75 AES professional sections and more than 95 AES student sections around the world. For additional information, visit

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