For Release: August 11, 2010

129th AES Convention Tech Tours Tap Into SF’s Audio Diversity

Innovative “Double Header” Tour Concept Will Offer Three 2-4-1 Packages

SAN FRANCISCO:  World-renown for its beauty, hospitality and fine dining, San Francisco also boasts an exceedingly diverse pro audio community.  129th AES Convention Technical Tour Co-Chairs Jessica Livingston and Jeff McKnight have mined  this rich vein of audio assets to coordinate a unique series of behind-the-scenes visits to well and little-known gems.  While times and dates yet to be finalized, an advance look at of some of these extraordinary options is sure to pique Convention visitor interest.

Convention Co-Chair Valerie Tyler reports that “SF’s extensive Tech Tour opportunities, coupled with the coincidentally close proximity of six sites inspired Livingston and McKnight to provide visitors with a pair of two for one opportunities.  To the best of our knowledge this is the first time we have been able to offer package tours,” Tyler says.

The initial 129th AES Convention Tech Tour Schedule includes:

Freight & Salvage A 42-year-old coffee house which recently opened California’s largest venue for traditional music.  Having hosted artists such as Country Joe and The Fish, Lightin’ Hopkins and Ricky Skaggs. 

Roda Theatre

The Berkeley Repertory Theater helped develop many successful theatrical productions over the past 40 years, including Green Day's multi Tony-Award winning American Idiot. The Berkeley Rep features two separate theaters which run different shows simultaneously.  Situated across the street from each other in the heart of the Berkeley Arts District, Freight & Salvage and The Berkeley Rep are offered as a single tour*.

Tiny Telephone was opened by John Vanderslice in 1997 to provide affordable recording to SF's independent music community. Situated in the Mission District in a gated, private compound The 1700 sq. ft. studio offers a Bob Hodas-tuned control room, a discrete Neve 5316  a Studer 827 and, the city's most comfortable couch.  Tiny Telephone engineers have worked with a variety of artists ranging from Modest Mouse to Death Cab For Cutie and Elvis Costello.

Women's Audio Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts. In a field where women are chronically under-represented (less than 5%),WAM seeks to "change the face of sound" by providing women with hands-on media technology training, career counseling and job placement. The tour will be highlighted by a visit to WAM’s recently redesigned studio.   Mission District neighbors, Tiny Telephone and WAM encompass another “double header” tour. 

Crescendo one of SF’s premier audio post facilities, is located in the historic Barbary Coast, waterfront district.  Designed by WSDG, in a European motif inspired by Old World Italy, Crescendo is a cutting-edge audio post complex and, an  experience!  Amenities include a Tuscan plaza and bubbling fountain, and a charming fully-functioning café with stunning Bay Bridge views. The twin Roma and Firenze Studios and 5.1 Venezia marry state-of-the-art technology with old world aesthetics. 

Another Barbary Coast resident, Polarity Post  a five studio full service audio post house is focused on VO & ADR Recording, Sound Design, Stereo and Surround Sound Mixing for TV, Radio, Video Games, Film, Corporate Programming and Special Projects,  Polarity and Crescendo comprise the third 2-4-1 Tech Tour Package.

Dolby (SF & Brisbane)  Founded by Ray Dolby in 1965, and a benchmark of SF pro audio innovation since 1976, Dolby is synonymous with the highest quality feature film noise reduction systems.  Winner of multiple Oscars and Emmys, Dolby has developed ground-breaking cinema, broadcast, game and home theater audio technology. This tour will encompass R&D labs, manufacturing and testing facilities.

Outpost Studios  SF’s largest lock-to-picture Dolby 5.1 control room/mix stage features custom-built Foley pits and recording areas. Editor Dave Nelson pioneered the art of recording Foley directly into ProTools. Outpost boasts a warehouse full of Foley props, including the Saul Zaentz Film Center collection and a huge library of sound effects. Credits include Sofia Coppola's 'Lost in Translation.' 

Davies Symphony Hall opened in 1980, and is the home of the San Francisco Symphony and musical director Michael Tilson Thomas. The strikingly elegant hall is distinguished by a unique “cloud” of movable reflecting panels to adjust the acoustics to the size of the orchestra and audience. Unique fabric banners can alter reverb time from approximately one to two-and-one-half seconds. The venue has hosted such acclaimed artists as: Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, Jascha Heifetz and Andre Watts.

Other AES Technical Tours include:

CCRMA Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics is a unique center dedicated to research and contemporary musical creation within Stanford University. A link between industry and the arts.

Grace Cathedral a renowned SF landmark, serves as a magnet, where diverse people gather to worship, celebrate, seek solace and learn.  Recognized world-wide for its extraordinary acoustics, the Cathedral regularly presents a diverse program ranging from its Choir of Men and Boys to jazz legends like Pharoah Sanders, and hit makers like Carlos Santana and Bonnie Raitt.

Studio D  Studio principal Joel Jaffe will demonstrate surround sound micing and mixing techniques at this Marin County studio

Studio 880

Studio 880’s new Mix Manor is situated in a completely restored historic Victorian mansion on the picturesque SF Bay area Island of Alameda.  The studio features a Gothic tracking room, Deco edit room and a grand Egyptian Deco Mix theater.  Studio owner/producer/engineer John Lucasey, who’s credits include: Green Day, Norah Jones, Chris Brown and Beyonce, will discuss the aesthetics of studio design during the tour. 

“The energy, thought and personal time that Jessica Livingston and Jeff McKnight devoted to this year’s convention typifies the commitment of all our Chair people,” comments Committee Co-Chair Jim McTigue. “They have been indomitable in tracking down some of this city’s most unique production, post-production and performance venues. We are confident that attendees will be talking about the 129th Convention for years to come.”

Photo 1: Exterior, Roda Theatre at the Tony Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre Complex.  Photo by Timothy Hursley, courtesy of ELS

Photo 2:  Studio 880 is located in a fully-restored Victorian Mansion 

*PLEASE NOTE:  Tickets for Technical Tours are only available on site at the Moscone Center.  Anyone interested in participating should visit the Calendar of Events: for dates and times.  Tickets are sold at the Reception Desk in the main lobby well in advance of departure.


The Audio Engineering Society was formed in 1948 by a group of concerned audio engineers.  The AES counts over 14,000 members throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Japan and the Far East.  The organization serves as the pivotal force in the exchange and dissemination  of  technical information for the industry.  For additional information visit