Sound, Audio and the Society.
The coming AES convention is largely dedicated to the continuation of trends which had their onset in the past decennia: the compression of audio files for transport, processing and storage, the real time and on or off site processing of audio signals and the improvement of transducers.
With these techniques, man is able to enjoy music in almost every place. On top of that, he can feel the emotion by sounds, which are completely new and even by the synthesis of sound fields, which never existed before. All this is done not only for the satisfaction of engineers and technicians, but also to enhance the artistic capabilities of composers, musicians and movie producers. These new techniques make it possible to move the sound products closer to the public for several purposes: all kinds of communication, 5.1 sound reproduction, MP3 sound files, etc. It is even possible to use these techniques to do measurements, which also make the world of sound and acoustics more open to new developments. Regard in this respect the measurement of impulse responses in relation to the properties of human hearing, which opens the world of better spatial (re-)production and perception of sound. Even a relation to the medical world is made: the investigation of sound perception and the non-destructive exploration of the human body.
The onset of this digital era offers us possibilities now that we have dreamt about 20 years ago: independent of any frequency, influencing of the phase and the amplitude of any single frequency of an audio signal. This offers an excellent tool to control the sound we want to handle or (re-)produce. Furthermore, this opens the possibility to repair linear- and phase distortions and to control the directivity of microphone- and loudspeaker arrays as well.
Bandwidth and storage space are scarce commodities, and therefore they are expensive. Digitizing of audio signals makes it possible to put more žsoundÓ into them, while the costs can be kept on an economic level. On the other hand, this opens possibilities for easier copying of audio files. Measures are studied and will be taken to avoid infringement upon copyrights.
The coupling of sound with visual information gives a big push to virtual worlds which, perhaps, never need to be realized. Multimedia applications will become a part of our lives, for instance for electronic learning purposes, as a sophisticated derivate of computer games.
The impact of sound is much bigger than we sometimes think: put a childrenŪs song like žMary had a little lambÓ under a scene where a beautiful woman dies under dreadful circumstances and the drama changes into an humoristic and absurd caricature.
By the way: didnŪt audio engineering really begin with this song?
But sound has also a physical impact on our ears. Too high levels will damage the hearing and on the other hand sound can interfere with a sound nightŪs rest. And also here sound engineers are developing new processors to improve the comfort of life.
Sound and the perception of sound are exorbitantly interesting phenomena; scientists and researchers, sound engineers, musicians, consultants and teachers are never bored with sound and audio. Industry and society enthusiastically produce respectively absorb the audio products. Not only for entertainment, but also for industrial and professional purposes.
The above described items and much more are to be enjoyed and shown, investigated, negotiated, explained, discussed, etc during the 110th AES Convention with the exhibition of over 300 stands, 140 papers, 14 workshops and 9 student sessions including a recording competition and several tutorials Furthermore, there are 5 cultural tours including the traditional organ concert, 8 technical tours and 4 special events as the Opening and Awards Ceremony with the Keynote Speaker, the Mixer for žnetworkingÓ purposes with a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam by night. The third special event is the Richard Heyser Memorial Lecture. The last special event will be very special: the banquet in the glamorous environment of the Rijksmuseum between the masterworks of the Dutch painters with amongst others the world famous žNachtwachtÓ (Night Watch) of Rembrandt.
All this effort is made to contribute to a sound society: a sound life by sound!
We wish you a sound AES Convention in Amsterdam!
Peter A. Swarte, Chairman