Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, January 18, 2005

other meeting reports

1/18/05 Meeting Highlights
by Jeff Segota

The Symphony Center in downtown Chicago was the location of the January 18th meeting of the Chicago Section. Classical Recording Engineer Chris Willis hosted a group of about forty members of the AES and the Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago.


In 1997, WFMT in Chicago designated Mr. Willis as the engineer/producer for Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera broadcasts as well as several other radio projects. Although few of these broadcasts remain due to lack of funding, both the CSO and Lyric Opera have retained Chris to record their concerts anyway for potential future use.




A wide array of topics, all related in some way to classical recording and broadcast, were covered in a very interactive presentation including a live recording and a tour of the control room and catwalk. Engineer Bill Maylone, who collaborated with Chris Willis on two recordings worthy of Grammy nominations for Best Engineer-Classical, participated as well.


Early arrivals were lucky enough to watch a live choir recording from the control room and ask Mr. Willis questions about the process. The group then collected on the Orchestra Hall stage for a lively discussion with both Engineers. Some of the topics covered were microphones, preamps, and other equipment, the history and acoustical constraints of the hall, particular microphone techniques for different situations, signal processing both for recording and broadcast, the effect of the sound reinforcement system, mastering, delivery formats, and budgeting.


After the discussion, small groups were led up to the catwalk to view the organ pipes and the microphones and preamps located there. Attendees waiting their turn lingered on the stage and admired the hall, with some taking a turn at the pipe organ. This resulted in some of the biggest smiles ever seen at an AES Chicago Section Meeting.