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AES Section Meeting Reports

Toronto - September 24, 2013

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Summary

The Toronto AES will held its first ever Members Showcase. Members of the Toronto AES showcased projects, hardware and work they have developed and created. True to the AES spirit of sharing knowledge, it was an opportunity to honour and appreciate the work that fellow engineers do daily or as hobby projects. Past chair Rob DiVito organized the meeting and hoped it would become a annual event.

The following people presented in the first half of the meeting:

Robert DiVito, Sy Potma, Anthony P. Kuzub, and Ron Skinner.

After the break, the second half continued with: Denis Tremblay, Earl McCluskie, and Ross Whitney.

Rob DiVito discussed his recent recording project with the Elmer Isler Singers highlighting his mic setup. He played some audio excerpts of the sessions and briefly discussed his micing setup with the aid of visuals.

Sy Potma talked about his custom mic swivel adaptors which, amongst other things, permitted easy adjustments, positive locking, allow for quick changes and has no need for external tools such as screwdrivers, hex keys, etc. He has 3 models that match existing mic stands. His presentation comprised visuals and actual working models. When asked what was unique about them, another audience member replied "it works!"

The next presenter, Anthony Kuzub of Revolution Recording, vouched for Sy's gadget noting he used them every day at his studio. Anthony demonstrated his aid to quickly set up Dolby surround utilizing Pythagorean 3-4-5 triangles. He next discussed his single point level-pan fader. This was a fader with a rotary pan pot. This was a concept that had many applications including MIDI control, as well surround control. He had demo models for the audience to experiment with.

Ron Skinner (who also has been using Sy's adaptors and now knows who designed them!) discussed his obsession with recording engineer Norman Petty who recorded 12 top 10 hits with Buddy Holly and the Crickets. This obsession led to a story about 'Done on Bradstreet', a band from Calgary that recorded with Petty in the early 70's. Ron ultimately re-transferred and remastered their less than stellar original digital transfers of those sessions from long ago. He utilized hardware and software from Universal Audio for the process. He had CD's to hand out for the audience members. Responding to a question: no post audio restoration was needed for the sound. The original session tapes had no tones however.

Denis Tremblay discussed his 'unhealthy' obsessions with guitar amplifiers. Working with high resolution all day, he relishes the opportunity to work with something decidedly 'lo-fi' on his own time. He talked about the history of guitar amps and their design. He showed off his (very successful) working model of a solid state guitar amplifier (one of two he's built). There are a number of 'tricks' he used to get a "reasonably" tube like sound which he didn't elaborate on! The highlight was when he played his guitar to demonstrate the tone. After his performance, he demoed the tremolo levels, colour control on the reverb (which uses 3 springs instead of 2), and the built in compression circuit. In response to a question: the compressor is placed after all other effects are summed together. And, by the way, all the controls go up to 11!

Earl McCluskie presented a few tracks from the The Art of Time Ensemble which is a project he recently recorded and produced, involving hybrid pop-classical arrangements of the entire Sgt. Pepper album by The Beatles. He played the audience several samples including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Lovely Rita", and "A Day In The Life". The disc will be available end of November.

Ross Whitney of Plitron Manufacturing talked about a custom PA system comprising a number of pieces. One of them was a balanced power conditioner he called the "Bucket of Volts". The idea behind it is that the two secondary coils cancel out the common mode noise. Displaying a picture of the prototype produced laughs from the audience because the components are housed in an actual bucket!

Before the close of the evening, Alan Hardiman of Associated Buzz Creative also spoke about having set up a website for the sale of the republication of the long-out-of-print book by Phil Giddings "Audio Systems Design and Installation" which is being republished early October, after being out of print for more than 10 years. The site is: http://posttoronto.com/

At the end, all the presenters received certificates of appreciation and an AES mug. Blair Francey thanked everyone for attending and looked forward to seeing everyone at the next meeting.

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