Pacific Northwest AES Section Blog

Past Event: Old Problems, New Solutions: Architectural Acoustics in Flux, Redux

June 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Location: DigiPen Institure of Technology, Redmond, WA, + Zoom

Moderated by: Dan Mortensen

Speaker(s): Ron Sauro - NWAA Labs



Old Problems, New Solutions: Architectural Acoustics in Flux, Redux

A short, (ha!), review of major changes in the field of architectural acoustics. These changes should be applied to future designs of acoustic spaces both large and small. It seems that many of these changes have been discussed at ASA and INCE meetings for many years but much of it does not get heard at other meetings such as AES and CEDIA. These changes affect ALL of us and need to be disseminated everywhere acoustic spaces are used or designed. This is an update of our January 2020 meeting.


Topics to be discussed

  • Major changes in our knowledge of Absorption, and Diffusion (diffraction). Transmission loss measurements will be discussed, but not much is new in that area.
  • How can these changes best be used.
  • Directivity measurements of speakers and diffusers and their implementation into computer aided designs.
  • A short video tour of NWAA facilities and the research into acoustics performed there.


Please join us at our June meeting for what should be another informative update in the field of architectural acoustics.

n.b.:  This is a hybrid meeting, it will be held in-person at DigiPen as well as via Zoom. To attend in person, directions to DigiPen can be found at the Section sebsite. To attend via Zoom, use this EventBrite link:



Other Business: Annual Section Meeting with elections and ratification of bylaws Once a year, we conduct our Annual Meeting. This year's agenda is: Ratification of revised PNW Section Bylaws. Election of Officers and Committee Webmaster Search Further details regarding the election and other matters can be found at: https://aes.org/sections/pnw/bio2023.htm If you are an AES member, we encourage you to read the Annual Meeting materials and to attend the meeting. We will need your vote to ratify the bylaws and elect new officers and committee.

View Official Meeting Report


Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2023

| Permalink


Past Event: Interactive Audio and MetaSounds in Unreal Engine 5

May 18, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Location: Hybrid Meeting: in-person @ DigiPen Institute of Technology and via Zoom

Moderated by: Lawrence Schwedler

Speaker(s): Phillip Popp

 Game audio is one of the most complex audio applications incorporating audio DSP, spatial and physical modeling, linear audio production and interactive sound design. The next generation of game audio engines offer a unique tool capable of creating distributable works of interactive audio alongside state-of-the-art animation, physics, visual effects, and graphics pipelines. In this talk we will explore the expressiveness of game audio engines and consider the problems they were designed to solve. We will also dive into MetaSound, a next generation interactive DSP graph tool for game audio. We will discuss its design including directed acyclic flow graphs, sample accurate timing, flexible subgraph composition and low latency interactivity from a perspective of computational performance and usability.

RSVP required for Zoom attendance. Click "More Information" to access the link.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information

Posted: Saturday, April 22, 2023

| Permalink


Past Event: Mic Cuppers — Dealing With It!

January 30, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Location: Seattle, Washington USA

Moderated by: Dan Mortensen - AES PNW Section Chair

Speaker(s): Christina Moon, Jesse Turner, Vince Agne - Independent LIve Sound Engineers

 At our wonderful October meeting about microphones, there was a lively discussion about performers who wrap their hand around the microphone head and thereby simultaneously kill the directionality of the cardioid microphone and degrade the frequency response. Although both those things adversely affect the ability to faithfully reproduce the source signal, the practice continues widespread in certain circles containing widely beloved and respected artists, and the resulting concert experiences repeatedly sell millions of concert tickets all over the world. From the performers' perspective, they are using a comfortable technique that does exactly what they want it to do and gives the look they want, and will most likely have no interest in suggestions from strangers how to better do what they do. Their technique and its results are already known and loved by legions of fans, or else they're emulating other performers who do just that.

With live concert sound being a service industry, it's obvious that if the providers aren't delivering the desired level of service, either in terms of perceived quality or from argumentative bad vibes, the clients will look elsewhere the next time or even at that moment in the case of individual engineers. Engineers who don't want to be sent out of the building have to find a way to do their job.

So how do the monitor and FOH engineers achieve the desired goals and continue working those shows?

We'll find out from a group of respected live sound engineers who work all over the world, and invite you to join us and share your experiences in this area.

Our presenters will be:

  • Christina Moon
  • Jesse Turner
  • Vince Agne

Our moderator will be Dan Mortensen, current AES PNW Section Chair and owner of a smallish live sound company for nearly 50 years.

This is a hybrid Zoom and In-Person meeting, with registration for both required through Eventbrite. The in-person part will be at the warehouse of a very large concert PA provider in Seattle, Washington, USA, and if you join us online we will do our best so you can interact with us just as if you were there. Questions will be welcomed at any time, and relevant experiences and arguments will be similarly welcomed. Attendees whether online or in-person must sign up for either free or make-a-donation tickets that are otherwise equal, and make a choice at that time for in-person or online attendance.

Since we may be through with COVID but it is clearly not through with us, all in-person attendees including staff will be required to wear masks appropriately at all times during the meeting. We will provide water, and you can move your mask while the bottle is at your lips. If that's unacceptable, please feel free to join us online.

We will do our best to simulate a live concert experience in the warehouse, and our guests will demonstrate their techniques in real time at real volume levels, so you may want to bring appropriate ear protection for yourself. The room will get loud, since that's a big part of what we're trying to show, how an omni mic, or a bunch of them, can be made to work in the path of a big PA.

We'll have cameras pointing at the presenters and the screens they're operating, so we can see what they are doing as they are doing it, and the audio from the console will be routed into the Zoom (Original Sound ON) so you can hear what they are doing.

If this sounds as much like your idea of fun as it does ours, we hope you'll join us.

Presenter bios, and the EventBrite link can be found at our website.


View Official Meeting Report

More Information

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2023

| Permalink


Past Event: A Repair-centric Approach to Audio Gear Repair: Is there a shortage of technical expertise to meet demand?

December 5, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Location: Zoom, From Seattle WA, USA

Moderated by: Luke Pacholski - AES PNW Committee

Speaker(s): Eddie Ciletti - Manhattan Sound Technicians Inc.

 Today's audio engineer covers a rather wide demographic – in age and aesthetic – ranging from those who are actively recording and mixing to archivists. The "active" include those who primarily rely on musicianship (classical and jazz), to those who use the recording environment as a creative tool. The "active" groups range from obsessing about sonic accuracy to pushing for as much sonic color as possible. The archivists are coping with a shortage of technical expertise and medium degradation (analog and digital tape being the primary examples).


From a technician's perspective, each client's needs – and budget – are unique. It becomes necessary for the technician to ask a range of questions, not the least of which is, "What is your budget window?" Unlike auto repair, which for a modern vehicle is fairly predictable in terms of price and turn-around, audio technology ranges from the repairable to the disposable and within that, reviving vintage gear is akin to classic car restoration. Aside from expertise, repairs are typically labor intensive. We have gotten used to "affordable" gear, built by robots, from countries that do not have the same "protections" in terms of labor and environmental laws. And, if the gear was made in this century, chances are good the manufacturer will not provide documentation.

Subjects to be covered include but are not limited to:

  • Challenges of vintage and retro gear repair.
  • Analog and digital archiving essentials.
  • What are you willing to pay?
  • What's your DIY level?

RSVP required (via EventBrite) for the Zoom URL. 
See https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ for the EB link and additional information about the meeting.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information

Posted: Friday, November 18, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: What is Bandwidth and Why Do I Care?

What is Bandwidth and Why Do I Care?

November 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Location: Seattle WA, USA (via Zoom)

Moderated by: Dan Mortensen

Speaker(s): James D. (jj) Johnston | Immersion Networks

 Have you ever wondered why your digital audio system can not "miss" that spike that happens entirely between samples? Have you ever wondered how you can get subsample time resolution in digital systems, without even trying? Well, here's the answer, signal bandwidth.


This talk explains what restricting the bandwidth of a signal does, necessarily, to the signal. To the first question above, no, that signal can not ever even exist unless it's many, many times outside the bandwidth of the digital system you're examining. To the second question, no, you don't have any 'stairsteps' and no, you don't have any "edges" in the reproduced signal.

We'll start with a single "impulse", and show what system bandwidth looks like, why filters look the way they do, and how the output of a digital signal can not have any edges. All of this is due to the required bandwidth limitation in a sampled data system. Along the way, a few bits of disinformation will be revealed and dismissed for what they are.

More info, jj's bio, and the all-important EventBrite link can be found at our website: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/




Other Business: Our Section website has an extensive archive of our section's past meetings, with topics spanning the breadth of audio engineering, going back to at least 1993. These meeting reports sometimes contain photos, audio and video recordings (more audio than video, after all, we are the AES), powerpoint decks, etc. The archive can be found at: https://www.aes-media.org/sections/pnw/pnwrecaps/

Also at that address is the meeting notice archive, which does go to the beginnings of the AESPNW Section, February 1977.

View Official Meeting Report

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: The Physics of Microphones: How They Work and How to Apply Them

Steven M. Savanyu

Steven M. Savanyu

October 12, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Location: Zoom, from Seattle WA, USA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Steven M. Savanyu - Buford T. Hedgehog Productions

 Our October meeting concerns a subject that all of us deal with at one time or another: The selection, placement, mounting, and mixing of microphones. Whether for a studio session, live event, broadcast, or location recording; we are challenged with bringing excellent and clear sound to our projects and facilities.


Perhaps we take for granted the physics of how a microphone actually functions. Which type will give me the result I want? How do I best isolate a single instrument in a concert setting? How do I accentuate incident and suppress reflective sound? How about stepping up the audio in a Live-Stream production? Nothing affects the psycho-acoustical perceived quality of a recording, video, film, or live event more than accurate and well-defined sound. And nothing affects that perceived quality and value more than effective microphone selection and placement.

With over 50 years in the audio industry (twenty-one of them working for Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. a well-known manufacturer of microphones, headphones, and other transducers), Steve Savanyu has a penchant for clear and precise explanation of the most esoteric and technical aspects of transducer physics and technology. His experience as an adjunct Professor of "Audio for Video" at Kent State University gives him insight in understanding the learning experience and student needs.

This event is useful not only for aspiring novices to recording, live sound and broadcast, but also for seasoned audio professionals; as there is always something new to learn with new technology and products. We hope to see you there.

Mr. Savanyu's bio and the EventBrite link to the Zoom URL can be found at the AESPNW Website:  https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/




View Official Meeting Report

More Information / AESPNW Website

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: A Guided Tour of the New Home of the Crocodile Cafe

September 3, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Location: Seattle, Washington USA

Moderated by: Janey Wallick

Speaker(s): Val Foster - The Crocodile Venues

 Please save the date and join us in person or virtually at The Crocodile in Seattle, WA on September 3rd from 1PM to 4:30 pm PDT! The Crocodile used to be a club, but has now magically transformed into a complex of clubs and even a hotel where all of the touring bands can stay. It truly is a one-stop shop.

n.b. if you click on any image, it will present at full size.

Val Foster, The Crocodile's Technical Director will guide us through each venue as we go behind the scenes to see the monitor and FOH stations in depth.

The Crocodile has been the soundtrack of Belltown, hosting incredible bands including Nirvana, Yoko Ono, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Lizzo, and Billie Eilish. They've moved a few blocks, but the "new" Croc is like the old Croc but better and a hell of a lot bigger.


Madame Lou's, named after the infamous Seattle iconoclast, in all her elegance and spitfire, honors the legacy of Seattle's gritty D.I.Y. spirit, hosting everything from all-ages punk shows to dance nights. image linked to madamelous.jpg
Here-After is a 100 seat Seattle comedy club, movie theater, and bar that hosts touring comics, local monthly comedy showcases, live podcast tapings, and selected films. image linked to here-after.jpg
The Society is a craft cocktail bar open at 5pm every day The Crocodile has a show, the perfect spot for a pre-show beverage or a night cap. image linked to the_society.jpg
image linked to the_crocodile_hotel.jpg
Hotel Crocodile has 17 unique rooms featuring murals from local Seattle artists, lounge areas and work spaces in every room, plush queen and king beds, newly renovated bathrooms, with towels and bedding cozy enough for royalty. Eclectic, upscale but casual, well designed, and just plain comfortable, Hotel Crocodile is an eccentric boutique hotel with modern rooms and easy access to what Seattle has to offer. Rock your socks off then slide right into bed.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information & EventBrite link

Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: Women Who Worked at Woodstock 1969... In their own words!

August 20, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Location: Zoom, originating from Seattle WA

Moderated by: Dan Mortensen, Rona Elliot

Speaker(s): Rona Elliot, Joyce Mitchell, Ticia Bernuth Agri, Amalie Rothschild

At our June 2022 meeting we conducted an in-depth examination of the Sound and Recording systems used for Woodstock 1969. There's nothing better than getting your information from One Who Was There... and we did one better: we had Four Who Were There: Bill Hanley, John Chester, Chris Langhart, and Harold Cohen. For those who missed the meeting, the recording of the Zoom session will be on the website shortly.

August Special Event

Following on from the June topic, Section Chair Dan Mortensen, with help from Rhoda Rosenberg, has put together a session with the women who worked at the festival and now, for the first time, they will tell the story in their own words. Women did many jobs to build and carry out the festival; we'll be joined by many to tell of their work and how it affected their lives afterward.

The Pacific Northwest Section of the Audio Engineering Society has had several meetings in the past about the technical aspects of the first Woodstock festival (August 15-17, 1969). Now we're going to fill in some important context by examining the significance of the non-technical roles to the success of the event.

The production of the festival, 53 years ago the week of our meeting, involved a gigantic effort by a huge number of people. At the time and in the years since, the contributions of women who accomplished many jobs to build and carry out the festival were largely overlooked and taken for granted.

Until now.

We will recognize and celebrate the women who invented what needed to be done to put on an unprecedentedly huge event in a location with zero inherent infrastructure and in a very short time period by today's standards. Without their efforts the festival could not possibly have happened at all, let alone have been as successful as it was in negotiating the very fine line between success and abject failure/chaos.

We'll hear about their preparations, the philosophy behind the festival and where it came from, their pirouetting from crisis to crisis and their ultimately adept handling of same, and the effect the experience and culture has had on their lives since.

Photo of Michael Lang & Ticia Bernuth Agri Remarkably, this will be the first time that their focused voices have been heard as a group and at length.

We'll also remember Michael Lang, the visionary behind the festival and who set the tone for it to be powered by peace, love, and gathering the best available expertise at the time in every area and then letting those people do their best. Michael passed away earlier this year. RIP.

Presenter Bio sketches and the EventBrite link for the Zoom meeting URL will be found at the Section website:


View Official Meeting Report

More Information

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: A Annual Election | Very Close Look at the Sound Reinforcement and Recording Systems for Woodstock 1969

Bill Hanley. Photo courtesy of NAMM

Bill Hanley. Photo courtesy of NAMM

June 25, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Location: Zoom, from various locations around Seattle WA, Boston MA, and Cambridge MD

Moderated by: Greg Dixon, Dan Mortensen

Speaker(s): Bill Hanley - Hanley Engineering, John Chester - Independent Consultant

Woodstock Music and Art Fair, commonly referred to simply as Woodstock, was a music festival held August 15-18, 1969, on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the town of Woodstock. Billed as "an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music" and alternatively referred to as the Woodstock Rock Festival, it attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain.[Wikipedia]

The event was unprecedented, especially given the timeframe, nobody had attempted an event of this magnitude or scale. The promoters expected a crowd, perhaps 50,000 persons, but (of course) they had wildly underestimated what would happen. The site was wholly undeveloped, aside from what dairy cattle required: grass and dirt, there was no infrastructure of any sort.

Everything needed to be put into place: water, sanitation, first aid, staging, lights, sound, etc. This is 1969, and rock-and-roll staging was in its infancy. You couldn't just order what you needed; instead you had to design and build it. Concert sound systems could not be purchased off-the-shelf; you designed, you selected components, you built. It would be 5 years before mixing consoles remotely comparable to those found in recording studios would become part of the live sound industry. Finally, in 1974 Yamaha introduced the PM1000 mixing console. Compared to an Altec 1567A, it was an SSL (well... not quite, but the extreme comparison is apropos). Everything was being invented, in real time.

This is the story of just one part of the behind-the-scenes commotion that resulted in what is now called: Woodstock. Of all the systems that had to function during the festival, the sound system was the lynchpin. Attendees could hear clearly both the speech AND the music, and when other systems were failing (and they all did, to one degree or another), the sound system was the glue that held everything together.

At our June meeting, PNW committee member Dan Mortensen will discuss, with Bill, John, and possibly other guests who were there, the different portions of the Woodstock concert sound system, in as great a detail as can be done 53 years later. John Chester was at Woodstock, however not in an audio capacity. At that time, he was the sound chief at the Fillmore East and had gigs after Woodstock's sound load-in day, so at the festival, he worked on his friend Chris Langhart's crew (production manager) which did everything including well water distribution throughout the site, garbage pickup coordination and zillions of other things.

Thanks to John for graciously providing his work and analysis. Many of his slides, included in today's meeting, were prepared for previous presentations about Hanley and/or Woodstock.

A list of the sound system elements to be discussed and the presenter's bios can be found on the Section Website. 

Other Business: Annual Section Business Meeting and Elections See here for more information: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/bio2022.htm

View Official Meeting Report

Section Website

Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

| Permalink


Past Event: Home Studio Construction & Tour

April 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Location: Planet Earth, via Zoom (originating from metro Seattle WA, USA)

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Steve Kirk - Steve Kirk Productions

 For our April meeting, PNW committee person Steve Kirk discusses the unique challenges of rebuilding his recording studio in a residential environment. The topics covered will be:

  • Finding the right contractors for the job.
  • Soundproofing a small studio.
  • Materials and concept used in creating a reliable listening environment.
  • Ventilation and sound leakage management.
  • Studio signal chain.
  • Sound leakage challenges and solution

Steve will present some short, recent music examples.

About Steve Kirk

Steve composes for multi-media, and runs Steve Kirk Studios based in Port Orchard, Washington. Projects include Ron Gilbert's Thimbleweed Park and, more recently, Bartlow's Dread Machine. The original soundtrack is now available on Bandcamp: Bartlow's Dread Machine soundtrack.

Steve also uses his studio to produce and arrange music for other artists. Other projects include music for the iOS releases "Skurvy Skallywags" for Beep Games and "Cookie Jam" for SGN. Steve also composed Cantina music for the Star Wars MMOL game "The Old Republic". Further projects include music for the Disney game version of "The Princess And The Frog", and the FarmVille Theme for Zynga. Before that, Steve worked on the wonderfully creative "Voodoo Vince" (Beep Games) composing over three hours of music for the game. The original soundtrack audio CD has received rave reviews, and is available here: Voodoo Vince soundtrack.

o attend, use this URL to RSVP:

Other Business: Notice of coming election and section business meeting (June 2022)

View Official Meeting Report

More Information / section website

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2022

| Permalink


RSS News Feed


AES - Audio Engineering Society