AES Student Blog


AES 137 | Meet the Judges #4: Ulrike Schwarz

Meet Ulrike Schwarz, one of our honorable judges for Category 1: Traditional Acoustic Recording.

Ulrike Schwarz is a sound engineer of acoustic music in the radio, television and recording industries for internationally recognized productions. Her recordings have received multiple German and international awards and nominations and have received two Echo Klassik Awards, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenindustrie, Ars Acoustica, Diapason d’Or and many others. In August 2014, the Echo Klassik for Ensemble of the Year was awarded to her recording of Alfred Schnittke’s “Konzert für Chor“, performed by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BR)(BR Choir).

Ulrike received her Tonmeister degree from the Hochschule der Künste Berlin (University of Fine Arts Berlin) and studied under Jim Anderson in New York City and Akira Fukada in Tokyo. Currently she is in the process of defending her masters thesis for her Masters of Business Administration from Technische Universität München (Technical University Munich). Since 2001 she has been employed by BR in Munich, Germany, as a senior sound engineer for large orchestral and jazz productions.

From 1999 to 2000 she was Chair of the Student Delegate Assembly Europe and International Regions of the Audio Engineering Society and has been on the committee of the 106th, 111th, 112th, 116th, 118th, and 126th AES Conventions and also served as AES Governor from 2004-2006.

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

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AES 137 | Meet the Judges #3: David Bowles

Meet David Bowles, one of our honorable judges of the Student Recording Competition at AES137 in Los Angeles.

David Bowles, also known as "Golden Ears", is a classical and acoustic music recording engineer and producer. He has recorded all styles of music ranging from today's composers all the way back to the Medieval age. His recordings have won awards and acclamation for their vivid sound and committed performances.

Also known for high resolution recordings in surround+height, he has taught at the New York University Tonmeister programme for several years and participated in AES panels on immersive sound technology and application.

Other institutions Mr. Bowles has taught at include Indiana University, Peabody Conservatory and the Banff Centre. He is a member of the AES, SPARS and the NARAS Producers and Engineers Wing.

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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AES 137 | Meet the Judges #2: Darcy Proper

Meet Darcy Properone of our honorable judges for Category 3: Modern Studio Recording.

Darcy began her career at Sony Music Studios in New York City in the Classical Department, later focusing her skills on mastering and broadening her musical scope to include in all genres from historical reissues to cutting-edge surround releases.  In 2005, she moved to Europe serving as Senior Mastering Engineer at Galaxy Studios in Belgium for several years before moving on to Wisseloord Studios in Holland.

Over the years, Darcy has been honored with 3 Grammy awards and 9 nominations and has won several other awards for her work.

She has had the pleasure of mastering historical reissue projects for such prestigious artists as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Johnny Cash.   She has also worked on stereo and 5.1 front-line releases for many talented artists including Steely Dan, The Eagles, Ozark Henry, Donald Fagen, Porcupine Tree, Peter Maffay, Patricia Barber, Mando Diao, Vandenberg’s MoonKings, and Marcus Miller.

Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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AES 137 | Meet the Judges #1: Jim Anderson

Meet Jim Andersonone of our honorable judges for Category 2: Traditional Studio Recording.

Jim Anderson is an internationally recognized recording engineer and producer of acoustic music for the recording, radio, television, and film industries. He is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations in the recording industry: his recordings have received ten Grammy and Latin Grammy awards and 26 Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations; his radio recordings have received two George Foster Peabody Awards and there have been two Emmy nominations for television programs. In 2013, Jim’s recording “Modern Cool” won the Grammy for Best Surround Album at the 55th Grammy Awards and his recording “Sixteen Sunsets” was nominated for Best Surround Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.

A graduate of the Duquesne University School of Music in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jim has studied audio engineering at the Eastman School of Music and Sender Freies Berlin. During the 1970s, he was employed by National Public Radio and engineered and produced many award-winning classical, jazz, documentary, and news programs. Since 1980 Jim has had a career as an independent audio engineer and producer, living in New York City. He has been a frequent lecturer and speaker for the Audio Engineering Society and master- class guest faculty member at leading international institutes. He is a professor of recorded music with the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and was the department’s Chair from 2004 – 2008.

He has served as Vice President for Eastern Sections of the Audio Engineering society (AES), chaired the New York City Section of the AES and was Chair of the 119t, 123rd, 131st, and 135th AES Conventions. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the AES and has received two AES’ Board of Governors Awards. Jim was also the President of the Audio Engineering Society, 2008-2009.

Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014

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Student Recording Competition Deadline Extended!

Students! We are pleased to announce that we have extended the SRC Deadline!

     The new Student Recording Competition dates are:

     Registration Deadline: September 11th
     Upload Deadline: September 14th

     Also, if you are new to the competition, please take two minutes to watch this video explainging the SRC:

     Finally, don't forget to read the updated complete rules & policies, here:

     Travel safe, and see you soon!

Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2014

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #10: Michal Lech

Meet Michal Lech from Gdansk, Poland, who received a Gold Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

I was born in Gdynia, Poland, in 1983. In 2007 I graduated from the faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics, specialization: Distributed Applications and Internet Systems in the Computer Architecture Department of the Gdansk University of Technology in Poland. The subject of my thesis was the application for automatic pitch detection and correction of detuned singing. In June 2013, I finished my Ph.D. The subject of my thesis was: "The method and algorithms for controlling sound mixing processes by hand gestures using video image analysis". As you can see despite studies associated strictly with telecommunication and information technologies I have chosen scientific subjects within the audio domain. Sound in general has been my passion since my childhood.


Are you a musician yourself? Which instruments do you play and in what context?

I play electric guitar and compose music often considered as movie soundtracks, probably due to the extensive use of symphonic orchestration. You can listen to some of my compositions on Bandcamp or visit my Facebook profile!


Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it?

The competition entry was a novel sound mixing system enabling a mixer to mix using hand gestures performed in the air (fig. 1). In comparison with a typical mixing process within a digital audio workstation using mouse and keyboard this created the possibility of reducing graphical influence on users significantly as there is no need for them to look where they are clicking, for example. Therefore mixing in accordance with Steve Lillywhite’s advice “listen with your ears, not your eyes” can be performed.

Fig. 1. Using the system


My experiments have shown that mixing audio signals using hand gestures instead of physical interfaces is possible and intuitive. It was proven that visualizing audio parameter values can affect the decision making process during sound mixing. The results of listening tests prove that employing gestural interaction produces mixes that are not worse regarding aesthetic value than the ones obtained using DAW software handled by a mouse, keyboard and MIDI controller. The mixes resulting from mixing via gestures without visual support were more vivid than mixes obtained directly using the DAW software. This appealed to many engineers.


Fig. 2. Graphical user interface of the application – full GUI mode (with visual support)


It is hard to assess the amount of work put into the project as it was not the only thing that I was involved in. Approximately 4 years have passed since I started thinking about the project until the working system was finished. It was my first entry to the AES Student Design Competition. 


Fig. 3. Graphical user interface of the application – limited GUI mode (no visual support) 


Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?

To be honest I don’t remember any serious mistakes. The implementation phase was preceded by scientific research on similar solutions, specifying and analysing requirements and designing the system. I had also gained some experience in computer vision and artificial intelligence during work on earlier projects, therefore I knew pretty much what I wanted to end up with and what results could be expected.


What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?

Think outside the box and don’t take anything for granted. Take statements in scientific reports with a grain of salt.


What do you like about the AES?

I’ve always liked the equipment exhibitions and recording competitions. Hearing other people’s ideas enables me to open my eyes and refresh my way of thinking.


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

I was fascinated with works presented in the category ‘Sound for Visual Media’ of the Recording Competition. Inviting Simon Franglen to give a presentation on music production for film was also a great idea!


What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?

I exercise at the gym and go for long walks.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

On stage with my guitar and an amplifier behind me :).

Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014

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AES 137 - Education & Career Fair

The AES Student Delegate Assembly is inviting all educational institutions and audio companies to participate in the AES Education & Career Fair which will take place Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 11am-12:30pm.


This event is an opportunity for schools and companies to meet students, inform the audio community about their programs and activities, and to touch base with the future of audio. Everyone is invited to come talk with representatives from the companies and universities and find out more about educational programmes, and job and internship opportunities in the audio industry.
We recommend that you bring pamphlets, pictures, audio samples and any other type of media that can appropriately represent your institution or company. Space is limited so the sooner you sign up, the better! See you in Los Angeles!
Sign up under the following links: Educational Institutions | Companies
Here is a message from Brecht De Man, the SDA's current Vice Chair for Europe & International Regions: 


Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014

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AES 137 - Student Recording Competition Registrations now open.

Entries are now being accepted for the AES 137 Student Recording Competition and Student Design Competition. UPDATE!


Now is the time to act for anyone who wants to take part in our prestigious student competitions. The registrations have just opened and they won't be open for long so make sure to get your entries ready as quickly as possible.

The registration deadlines are approaching fast. You need to register for the Student Recording Competition by the end of September 4th 11th and for the Student Design Competition by the end of September 26th.


What you need to do:

1. Read the rules: Student Recording Competition  |  Student Design Competition.

2. Get an all-access student badge for the convention!

3. Register and upload your entry: Student Recording Competition  |  Student Design Competition.


For more information, visit the Student Competition pages.


The Student Delegate Assembly is looking forward to your submissions! 

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #9: Florian Pausch


Meet Florian Pausch from Graz, Austria, who received a Gold Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

I'm from Salzburg, Austria and studied Electrical Engineering / Audio Engineering at the University of Music and Performing Arts and the University of Technology, respectively, in Graz, Austria. During my studies, I specialized in spatial audio and 3D sound recording technology to write my diploma thesis with the title 'A Rigid Double Cone Microphone Array Prototype'.


Are you a musician yourself? Which instruments do you play and in what context?

At the age of 9 I started playing the violin. Eight years later I took my first piano lessons.  On both instruments I was educated in a classical context. I was member of two Rock/Beat bands as guitarist and singer.


Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it?

The initial idea to build a new microphone array prototype is based on two basic questions: "How can we exclude sound from unwanted directions?" and "How can we enhance the resolution on a restricted angular range without increased hardware effort?"


Florian's Double Cone Microphone Array 


The new array design deviates from the spherical geometry and considers the introduction of a rigid double cone while the array microphones are distributed on the confined spherical segment. The main advantage of this step is the physical exclusion of unwanted sound directions instead of a removal through identification. Compared to a full spherical array, this permits an increased density of microphones for the desired panoramic recording angle without increased electronic hardware effort. Moreover, this is expected to improve the noise behaviour and the resolution on the limited angular range.

The prototype was designed and built throughout my diploma thesis at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics Graz (IEM) within one year and was my first entry in the student design competition.


Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?

Any accident with the array hardware would have been really expensive so I planned each design step in detail to avoid mistakes. One of my tasks was to find a robust arrangement of the 64 array microphones to achieve high-quality sound field decomposition. Although I simulated the obtained sensor distribution in advance using true to scale microphone models I worried about the practicability of the prototype, as the space was critically limited. Fortunately, everything worked fine in the end and I succeeded in assembling the spherical segment with the array microphones. 


What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?

Simulations are essential and should be as accurate as possible to avoid time-consuming and/or expensive repetitions of design steps – nonetheless, always be prepared for surprises in practice! 


What do you like about the AES?

The idea of networking at conventions in combination with a scientific forum (journals, papers) helps not only to meet and talk to specialists of different audio fields but also to improve my knowledge. 


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

I was pleased to be one of the finalists at the student design competition. The tabletop exhibition was a lot of fun but also a challenging task as there were plenty of expert questions to be answered. Aside from the convention, I was really impressed by Rome!


What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?

There is a long list of hobbies which have to fit in a small window of spare time. For example, I like doing sports like tennis, cycling, hiking, ski touring or sailing, just to name a few.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

That is a tough question! I probably pursue doing research either at university or in the R&D department of a not too big company.

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #8: Josef Schauer

Meet Josef Schauer from Graz, Austria, who received a Silver Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

I grew up in a small village in the south of Austria. At the age of 20 I started studying Electronics-Information Technologies at the TU Graz

In April 2013 I finished my master's thesis, which is also my submission for the AES Student Design Competition. Last autumn I started my next university degree in Electronics – Audio Engineering.

Ever since I was a child I loved fixing technical problems, and over the years music started to fascinate me more and more. I remember soldering two 3.5mm jack cables in parallel two “mix” the output signals of two portable CD-players... What a mess!

Since 2006 I have been working as a freelancer in event techniques with many different companies in different places, and in sound engineering.

Recently, I have spent two years working with a HI-FI company in Graz.

Since May last year I have been working for the independent radio station ‘Radio Helsinki’ in Graz as a technician. I also take care of the technical equipment at the Institute for Electronic Music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz for 5 hours a week.


Are you a musician yourself? Which instruments do you play and in what context?

I would not call myself a musician, but currently I play guitar and piano. It is very important to me to make music from time to time and I enjoy it a lot - especially with other musicians. I also played the clarinet before I turned 16.


Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it?

‘The Networked Power Flower Bell’ is an energy-harvesting system that produces sound. It is supposed to be implemented in sound-installations.

Actually, the idea of the artist Winfried Ritsch was to build robotic flowers, which are driven by dirt-batteries. A dirt battery is a galvanic cell made out of a piece of copper and a piece of zinc, dug into the soil. 

This particular topic was one of a few he presented to me. From the first moment, I was fascinated by the idea of energy harvesting, as I have been interested in efficient energy usage for a long time.

Hence I started carrying out experiments with these “batteries” and explored possibilities of harvesting their low energy-output into a super-capacitor so they could be used when fully charged to produce sound from time to time, for example. Controlled by a micro-controller the Power Flower Bells can communicate using Sub-GHz radio frequency technology. Unfortunately our prototype currently merely produces sound; networking is discussed in the theoretical part of my diploma-thesis only.

Over the course of numerous discussions Ritsch, Lothar Fickert (a Professor at the Institute of Electrical Power Systems at the Technical University in Graz and my master's thesis supervisor) and I redefined the design. This was necessary, as this was quite a novel field of work for the three of us.

I also went on a student exchange for four months in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, working on my diploma thesis creating the first prototype. This was a very important period of time for me because it gave me the opportunity to work on the project very consistently.

All in all, the project took more than a year from start to finish. 


Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?

While I was testing and debugging a prototype for a hi-fi system I had a short circuit through the ground of my notebook and the amplifier. 

The non-insulated connectors for the speakers made a connection with the frame of the housing.  Connecting the power plug to the mains resulted in a big “Boom!”. My notebook “turned off” (it never turned on again...) and the amp was kind of well done. All this happened at 2 o'clock in the morning the day before we should present the prototype, so my colleague started looking for another amplifier and I didn’t have a notebook anymore. 

I learned a lot during that night...


What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?

I think the most important advice for all of us, but in particular for engineers, is, that we should carefully consider the consequences of our behaviour for our environment – nature, humans and all involved systems. Currently most decisions are made for economic reasons, and in my opinion that will not get us too far.


What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful designer and audio engineer? 

It was my first Convention and I enjoyed meeting people who are interested in the same things. I also enjoyed learning about new developments and research results. Of course it is important for me as an engineer to know about what is going on and who to ask for what...


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

It really was a pleasure to me to present my project to the crowd.  


What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?

I like doing useful things like harvesting fruits and preparing delicious meals. I have to walk my dog every day, which often results in meeting people to have a drink with – which is something else I enjoy. 

I love surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding when I’m at a suitable place.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I don't know where and how but I really want to stay in the field of audio.

Working with creative people is a pleasure for me and I enjoy making people happy by the means of sound. It seems that I can make a living doing this. That's enough.


Please provide us with some closing comments.  

I am really wondering where the audio industry is headed. I hope there will be lots of creative and innovative developments that help us to reduce pollution and the exploitation of our planet while still increasing sound quality.

Thank you Carmen for supporting me and my ideas! 

And a lot of thanks to my parents who let and helped me to do what I wanted to do.

Thank you for this interview.


Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

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