AES Section Meeting Reports

Toronto - February 26, 2019

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The Toronto section of the AES held its 6th annual Members Showcase of Gadgets, Gizmos, Inventions and Technology. Seven members showcased audio inventions, gear and software technology they've developed and created. In true AES spirit of knowledge sharing, it was an opportunity to appreciate and admire some of the work our members create professionally, as hobbyists, developers, and inventors.

Executive Committee member Rob DiVito helped organize tonight's event. Frank Lockwood was the host.

Alan Clayton presented first. Currently Chairman of the Toronto AES, he has over 30 years experience in the design and installation of commercial A/V systems and holds a Bachelor of Engineering Technology from The State University of New York College at Buffalo, and an MBA from Canisuis College. He currently works as a sales engineer for Solutionz Inc., the 7th largest A/V integrator in the U.S.

Alan was to review three current installation projects performed by Solutionz though time permitted only one to be covered. With the aid of slides, Alan went over the problems to be addressed and solutions provided for the Sound Systems at Wellsville High School. This included upgrading amp systems, increasing intelligibility, removing dead spots and feedback issues in the Auditorium. Many of the slides were before and after pics, as well as test results of the new installations.

A Q&A period followed each presenter.

Denis Tremblay, President of Norfolk and Jarvis Audio Technologies Inc. and Blair Francey, Co-owner and Treasurer/Secretary of same, presented two items: A Custom Guitar; and a Custom Amp Design and Build. The guitar is a solid body crafted from a slab of aged pine barn floor estimated to be about 200 years old. The instrument is entirely shop made, including the magnetic pickups. The guitar amplifier is a third generation conception that incorporates distinctive design elements. Part of the impetus of this is that traditional amps are large and fragile. This solid state design produces classic electric guitar tonalities and weighs a fraction of the weight of competitive models. Electrical efficiency is also notable in this design compared to typically similar guitar amplifiers. While Denis spoke about the designs, Blair provided live demonstrations.

Anthony Kuzub, Senior Systems Designer at CBC Radio-Canada, discussed his Automated Audio Test and Measurement system. The reasoning: testing an analog mixing console requires hours of patching and un-patching. To avoid this, he created a custom system for console testing. Slides of his test bench and equipment accompanied the talk. It can be seen in action here:

Jim Cox, retired Sheridan College Media Arts professor in film and audio, and past chair of the Toronto Section, discussed his Open Sphere Immersive Microphone Array. It is a patented array of 30 pairs of microphones in an open sphere: a dodecahedron composed of 12 pentagons with pairs of microphones facing inwards and outwards. Digital signal processing will be designed to provide live and recorded audio in broadcast and theatrical output formats, and in custom formats.

After a break, Bob Snelgrove, GerrAudio Distribution, talked about factors influencing the low noise design of his RH1 PreAmp. He shared block diagrams of the design as well as the research and math to produce the desired objectives: high performance and low noise. By lowering circuit impedance from 10k to 1k, this enabled 5.9 dB noise improvement. Introducing multiple parallel amplifiers provided further reduction. The current model features an MM RIAA input on unbalanced RCA, balanced and unbalanced outputs, and balance, bass, treble and volume controls. Future models will implement a mono switch and a "Mid" tone control similar to Marantz models.

Ivan Popov, music studio owner specializing in video game and film music, discussed humanizing non multi-sampled drums. Using Ableton's Max For Live tools, he demonstrated multiple techniques based on analysis of multi-sampled drums. This resulted in slight continuous variation of percussive sounds that can be used in mixing environments to give non-multi-sampled drum samples some variation during playback.

Kevin Lyver, President of Ward-Beck Systems, a company specializing in design and manufacture of audio solutions for broadcasting, discussed the Ward-Beck PreMo-221. The presentation was a quick live demonstration of what his company has been working on over the last number of months. The PreMo series is a network of microphone preamps representing the convergence of analog audio, digital conversion, and IP based networking. All the devices currently in the PreMO lineup are POE-powered, AES67-compliant, and AES70-compliant.

At the end of each presentation, Frank awarded the presenter with a Toronto AES Certificate of Appreciation. At the end of the evening all the presenters also received a Toronto AES notebook, and gathered for a group photo.

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