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Bill Wray


Honoring, as well as learning from the past is a long-standing AES tradition. The 121st Convention, scheduled for Oct. 5-8 in SF’s Moscone Center will provide attendees with ample opportunity for both pursuits. “Historical Committee Chair Bill Wray has developed a compelling series of panel discussions, film screenings and technical demonstrations designed to provide attendees with an invaluable perspective on the evolution of the art and science of pro audio,” remarked Committee Chair John Strawn. “His knowledge of the local community coupled with his keen sense of the ‘big-picture,’ enabled him to assemble one of the most intriguing series of historical events in recent memory.”


Ioan Allen, Dolby Labs Sr. VP, and a pioneer in the introduction of many breakthrough film audio formats, will present a 2-hour summary of the evolution of 35mm stereo optical film sound-tracks. Topics to be covered will range from the first experimental recordings made by Alan Blumlein in 1934 to today's digital soundtracks. This event will be held in the Loews Metreon Theatre a short walk from the convention center.

SAN FRANCISCO STUDIO HISTORY: Author/ MIX Magazine contributing
editor Heather Johnson will moderate an all-star panel of studio veterans interviewed for her recently published book, IF THESE HALLS COULD TALK - A Historical Tour Through San Francisco’s Recording Studios. Studio legends sharing war stories, magical moments, and behind-the-scenes experiences from the “Golden Age” of SF’s recording history include: Leslie Ann Jones, Skywalker Sound/Grammy-winning engineer (Bobby McFerrin, Angela Bofil, etc); Dan Alexander, vintage recording equipment dealer, former studio owner (Tewksbury Sound, Hyde Street Studios, Coast Recorders); enginer Fred Catero (Santana, Pointer Sisters, Herbie Hancock, Patti LaBell, Taj Mahal); Tom Flye, recording engineer (Don McLean, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, Rick James, Mickey Hart) Pat Gleeson, musician, composer, synthesist, former studio owner (Different Fur); studio designer, owner and engineer Jack Leahy, (Funky Features, Russian Hill, Crescendo!); and acoustical consultant Tom Scott, (Chief engineer Wally Heider Recording, The Record Plant, Skywalker Sound, VP and Chief Technology Officer EDNet) will discuss the stories behind the hits. The discussion will range from the evolution of studio design to the seismic technological and economic storms that have buffeted the industry in recent years.

SOUND MAN JACK MULLIN – FROM WWII TO MP3: KNTV reporter Scott Budman will present a documentary film by Don Hardy. Friends and associates including Les Paul, Greg Kihn, Chuck D and Stephen Stills will discuss Jack Mullin’s pivotal contributions from the early days of tape recording to the origin of Ampex in Silicon Valley.

DIGITAL RESTORATION OF MECHANICAL RECORDINGS: Dr. Carl Haber, Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will present New Imaging Methods for Mechanical Sound Carriers. A variety of optical scanning methods have been applied to imaging the delicate or damaged audio surface of discs, cylinders, etc. Dr. Haber will discuss digitized mapping and processing of surfaces to repair damage. Sound clips will be engaged to illustrate this process.

FROM CARBON TO COMPUTERS – The Evolution Of The Broadcast Audio Chain: Mike Adams, Chairman, Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre, San Jose State University will trace the evolution of broadcast audio equipment from Lee deForest, and Charles Herrold’s use of carbon to tube amplification in the early 1920s, early Western Electric mixing boards, and electronic recording and disc playback. Adams will explore audio technology of the 1930s and 1940s and include lessens from his own 1960-1975 radio experience.

THE ABBEY ROAD SOUND – 75 Years in The Making: Kevin Ryan – music producer/arranger and co-author of ‘Recording The Beatles’ will moderate a distinguished panel in a discussion of the process, technologies, and personalities behind the studio’s success. A video presentation will highlight the history of Abbey Road Studios. Recording engineers Ken Townsend and Peter Cobbin and Dave Holley - Managing Director, EMI Studios Group will provide personal accounts of development of audio production technologies and recording techniques that embody the “Abbey Road” sound.

DISC CUTTERS: Highland Laboratories principal Barry Brose will present a narrative history of the Western Electric disk recorder head from the first cutter used in talking motion pictures circa 1930, to the achievement of full-fidelity disk recording and the world-standard 45-45 stereo system. His film on the evolution of these heads features close-up photography of disassembled units to illustrate principals of their operation in actual use.


Formed in 1948 by a group of concerned audio engineers, the Audio Engineering Society counts over 12,000 members throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Japan and the Far East. The AES serves as the pivotal force in the exchange and dissemination of technical information for the industry. For additional information on the AES 121st Convention please visit

121st AES CONVENTION          
CONTACT:   Howard Sherman
+1 212 777 4711
[email protected]

121st AES Convention – Moscone Center, San Francisco – October 5 – 8, 2006

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