Meeting Topic: Audio: Developments and New Horizons
Moderator Name: Dimitris Stamatakos
Speaker Name: Vangelis Petrides - Project engineer Omicron Control S.A., Thanassis Drossos - Audio Projects Engineer Telmaco S.A, Pavlos Pantazopoulos - Freelance engineer, Nikos Espialides - Greek Section Chairman, Chris Hatzistamou - Chief engineer Athens Mastering, Kostas Kalimeris - Studio engineer, John Mourjopoulos - Professor, George Papanikolaou - Associate Professor
Other business or activities at the meeting: The November 8th meeting of the Greek AES Section was held at the Athens Expo center during the ISS AVL Digital Pro Show exhibition. This was the first meeting for the Greek Section after nearly 12 years of inactivity. The recently elected local officers attempted to revitalize the section by bringing together audio professionals and academics, in a meeting covering a broad range of topics related to "Audio developments and new horizons". The meeting was well-attended by more than 80 attendees, AES members and friends of the society.
Meeting Location: Athens Expo Center, Athens, Greece
The presentations were coordinated by Section Treasurer and audio journalist Dimitris Stamatakos (avmentor.gr) and were grouped into 3 sectors: Technologies and developments in the public address and installation sector, Developments in the recording studio sector and Prospects and developments in Audio research and Education.
Covering the area of large-scale audio system installations, Vangelis Petrides (Project engineer for Omicron Control S.A.) presented technical aspects of the design and implementation of the audio system installed at the historic Pallas Theater, a large theatrical and concert venue in Athens. Next, Thanassis Drossos (Audio Projects Engineer for Telmaco S.A), presented the recently completed AV systems installation at the Foundation of Hellenic World theatre. The design successfully uses Ethersound in a star topology with extensive use of mobile and permanent fiber optic interconnections while providing centralized control of all AV systems. The presentations on sound installation technologies were concluded by Pavlos Pantazopoulos (a freelance engineer) who covered practical and theoretical aspects of measurements and performance verification for sound installation systems.
In the Developments in the recording sector, Greek Section Chairman and chief engineer for the Recording Center of the Athens Concert Hall, described the technologies and techniques employed over the years in this venue. He described alternative techniques used in the three areas of the Athens Concert Hall: the 1961-seat "Friends of Music Hall" and 450-seat "Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall" as well as in a smaller, specially designed studio, which forms an integral part of the Recording Centre. He also presented an overview of the all-digital studio techniques used over the years, involving the Neve Capricorn 112/64 mixing console and other equipment of the Center.
Next, was Chris Hatzistamou, chief engineer and proprietor of Athens Mastering who under the title "The quest for aesthetics in digital sound" discussed the problems facing mastering engineers attempting to optimize fidelity and character of modern-day digital audio recordings. He illustrated with audio demos the problem of dynamic range "overcompression", a common practice for studio engineers using software tools. He also focused on the problem of improving spectral balance and micro-dynamics when mastering such recordings. Last in this section was Kostas Kalimeris a studio engineer and producer who described the design and features of BlackRock residential recording studio recently constructed in the Aegean island of Santorini. He discussed the concepts and advantages of such a residential studio, especially given the picturesque location, architecture and advanced technical facilities.
After the break, the meeting moved into the topic of audio Education and Research. First speaker was John Mourjopoulos, Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Patras University and Vice-Chairman for the Greek AES Section, who briefly presented the research areas and personnel of the team he is responsible for, the Audio and Acoustic Technology Group. He then gave an overview on the crisis facing audio due to the rapidly declining habits of listening to recorded music from discs in the home environment in contrast to listening either via personal/mobile audio devices or in large public venues. Last speaker in the meeting was Assoc. Professor George Papanikolaou of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and head of the Electroacoustic and Television Systems Lab. He described the educational and research activities of the lab and in particular the experience gained from running the interdisciplinary postgraduate course on "Information and Communication Technologies for Sound and Vision".