Pacific Northwest AES Section Blog

Upcoming Meeting: Auditory Mechanisms for Spatial Hearing (Was Hearing 101)

January 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Location: Redmond, WA - Via Zoom

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): James D. (JJ) Johnston - Immersion Networks



Since it's been a while, JJ will summarize the content of that talk and then discuss the features of hearing that provide binaural cues, such as
  • time (phase) arrival,
  • frequency shaping,
  • dispersion (acoustic, both head related and transmission related), and
  • how they interact with directional, distance, and external/internal sensation.
This talk will not be a complete discussion, as there isn't enough time, but it will touch on the major points relating to sensation and spatialization. A variety of hearing and acoustics matters will be presented in a high-level fashion.

The meeting will be a virtual one, via Zoom. We use Eventbrite for ticketing (free). Refer to our website for the EB link and JJ's Bio. The meeting report for Hearing 099 can also be found there. Besides the written report, there are both audio and video recordings of the meeting.

More Information, presenter's bio, RSVP info

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2021

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Past Event: Mercury Living Presence - A Technical History

November 11, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Location: Zoom Meeting, Seattle, WA USA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Tom Fine - Tom Fine Audio Services

 Our November meeting traces the technical history of one of the world's most highly regarded classical music labels. Recognized for a catalog of groundbreaking recordings from the 1950s and '60s, the label began to flourish in the early 1950s with the single-microphone technique to record an entire symphony orchestra. When stereo recording dawned in the mid-1950s, Mercury's technique evolved to 3 spaced omni-directional mics. The label focused on symphonic music with conductors Antal Dorati, Paul Paray, Howard Hanson and Rafael Kubelik, and on Frederick Fennell's pioneering Eastman Wind Ensemble. Among many firsts was a 1962 recording trip to Moscow, the first time an American crew recorded Russian musicians using American equipment. Long loved by vinyl collectors, Mercury Living Presence was entirely out of print at the beginning of the CD era. The original producer, Wilma Cozart Fine, was hired to remaster most of the stereo catalog and some mono titles for CD. In the past decade, Universal Music Group – Decca Classics, the current owner of Mercury Living Presence, brought back into print all of the 1990's CDs, plus 27 newly-remastered titles. In no prior era was this much of the catalog available at the same time! The full catalog will soon be available on the major streaming platforms, and new reissues are planned for 2021.

Tom Fine, son of Wilma Cozart Fine and C. Robert Fine (original producer and engineer), was consulting engineer and booklet co-author for two of the 3 CD box sets, and remastered 20 of the newly reissued CDs. He also oversaw all-analog LP reissues of two titles for Chad Kassem's Analogue Productions. In this presentation, he will detail MLP's progress from single-mic mono through the 3-spaced-omni stereo techniques. He will also discuss the 35mm mag-film recording medium and detail the 1990s CD reissue program and the more recent remastering projects.

Registration required. Please refer to our website: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/

View Official Meeting Report

More Information, presenter's bio, RSVP info

Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2020

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Past Event: Metadata - Your path to Proper Credits and Payment

October 20, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom, Redmond WA, USA

Moderated by: Jim Rondinelli

Speaker(s): Maureen Droney - Recording Academy; Dick Huey - SVP US, Jaxsta; Vickie Nauman - CrossBorder Works

 This month's PNW Section meeting features a panel discussion with 4 media creation professionals. The entertainment industry was ill-equipped to handle the massive amounts of data generated by the shift from physical to digital distribution. The importance of metadata (data about data) is still mysterious to many content creators. Today, audio engineers are dependent on the logging of proper metadata in session records to insure proper credit for their work. In the near future, clean metadata will be necessary to guarantee proper payment for works in which they've participated.

We've brought together three of the industry's leading experts to share their stories and advice about metadata. We'll also discuss best practices for data capture as we learn more about this critical aspect of content creation and distribution.

Please join us for this exciting discussion

View Official Meeting Report

More Information, presenter's bios, RSVP info

Posted: Monday, October 5, 2020

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Past Event: Sylvia Massy's Mind Blowing Microphone Museum

August 25, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom, originating from Seattle metro area and Ashland OR.

Moderated by: Bill Gibson

Speaker(s): Sylvia Massy - Studio Divine

 You've Never Ever Seen Anything Like This!

Sylvia Massy shows some of the most compelling, interesting, and extremely rare mics in her collection while sharing stories about the first 100 years of microphone development. And, she's going to let us hear some of her classic mics in action.

In addition to owning the largest microphone collection in the world, Sylvia maintains the world's largest library of original microphone documentation and supporting materials. She keeps over 1000 unique vintage microphone models in her studio and that's only a portion of her entire collection, which contains several historically significant and unusual microphones that simply don't exist anywhere else.

Join the AES PNW Section for this special online presentation. This is a unique opportunity to see and learn about some extremely fascinating and rare microphones, from one-of-a-kind prototypes to industry changing — Marconi-Reisz carbons to original Telefunkens, Neumann Gefells, to Amelia Earhart's Western Electric, from the Rauland Duo 1247 to the MGM church, and pretty much everything in between. You migh use microphones every day in your job, but you've never seen anything like this!

View Official Meeting Report

More Information + RSVP instructions

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020

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Past Event: Tools & Techniques for Streaming Audio

June 17, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Location: ONLINE, hosting from Seattle metro, WA, USA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Bill Gibson - Northwest Music & Recording, Inc.

 Tools and Techniques for Streaming Audio looks inside the modern world of streaming, with a focus on practical solutions in the post COVID-19 era. Since most organizations have been forced to communicate and participate in the marketplace virtually via streaming, there has arisen a need for effective strategies to stream video and high-quality audio. Setting up a ZOOM conference using all on-device microphones has been commonplace for a while. However, setting up a stream that incorporates high-quality music and other media presentations requires the proper tools and demands a completely different mindset from the audio engineer. That's what this session is about.

Topics include:

  • HDMI versus iOS Systems
  • Steaming Applications and Services
  • Shifting from a Live Sound to a Broadcast Mindset
  • Microphone Selection and Techniques
  • Calibrating Gear
  • Leaning on the Old-School
  • Approaches to Monitoring
  • Panning
  • Equalization
  • Effects
  • The Importance of Compression and Limiting
  • Getting Optimal Streamed Audio Levels Set
  • Meters, Peaks, and LUFS, Oh My
  • Learning by Listening


This presentation is supported by several in-the-field media examples and illustrative images including a representative multitrack session for demonstration purposes.

This is a Zoom virtual meeting. See our web page for further details (like the Eventbrite link).

Other Business: Election Notice At this meeting, we will elect the persons who will serve our section as Officers and the Program Committee. Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer) are typically nominated from the existing Committee. Committee members can be anyone interested and willing to help your section produce meetings. Officers serve for one year. Committee members serve for two years, with half electing on odd numbered years, and the other half electing on even numbered years.

See our web page for the nitty-gritty details, including the link to election materials.

Tea Time Topics or Audio Show and Tell

A crowd-sourced series of short presentations about an aspect of audio, as selected by the presenters. A Zoom meeting, with discussions featuring YOU!

These will be held on 2 Saturdays, beginning at 4pm. The Zoom lobby will be open around 3:30pm (pacific tz). Next dates: 6/13/2020, 6/20/2020.

The idea behind these events is that "Audio" is a big subject with many specialties, and at our meetings we all focus together on one subject. When we do our self-introductions as part of our meetings, it's ALWAYS fascinating to hear about the kinds of things our audience members do to manifest their love of audio. We thought it would be fun to create an event where the meeting IS the audience members' descriptions of what you do, preferably with pictures/recordings/movies or whatever.

This started as a series of four events with a five minute individual presentation limit. At this writing, we've had one and realized during minute five of the first presentation that five minutes would be wholly inadequate for those of us who want more details about audio and not less, so we've scrapped that time limit and are going for 30 minutes, with three presentations per meeting.

More info, including the Eventbrite link to be found at the Section website.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information + RSVP instructions

Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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Past Event: 3D Audio — A Virtual Meeting

May 27, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Location: Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, WA (NOTE: Virtual Meeting!)

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Brian Schmidt - DigiPen Institute of Technology

 Audio is a sometimes overlooked and often misunderstood element of the VR/AR/XR experience. This session will cover the theory, practice and limitations of 3D hearing for augmented and virtual reality systems as well as some brief history of commercially deployed 3D audio systems. Better understanding the limits not only of current 3D audio technologies but also human hearing perception itself can lead to greatly improved VR/AR/XR experiences, and reduce frustrations all around.

This talk is in two parts. The first part considers the traditional science of 3D hearing, with a contrast made with the visual system. The second part explores the inherent limitations of a physics/DSP approach, and some of the other elements that are hard (impossible) to solve by 'just throwing a bunch of DSP at it.'

This is a Zoom meeting. Note the earlier meeting time (4pm). Visit the section website for RSVP instructions and the Eventbrite link for the Zoom meeting URL.

Other Business: June Election reminder

View Official Meeting Report

More Information + RSVP instructions

Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2020

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Past Event: Mixing on Glass

April 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Location: Seattle, WA USA

Moderated by: Dan Mortensen

Speaker(s): Dansound Inc.

                                                                               Online Webinar

Mixing On Glass: Tablet Control of Digital Mixers

Presented by
Dan Mortensen - Dansound Inc.
The University of Washington School of Music
The AES Pacific Northwest Section

A livestream webinar (using Zoom).
Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, 7:30PM (Pacific TZ, GMT -7)

Digital mixers are here, alive, and flourishing, all the way from only a few inputs and outputs to replacements for Yamaha PM4000 analog desks. They hit all price points now, from affordable to <gasp>. Most feature some way to access them via Wi-Fi using some sort of tablet computer/controller. Some have no physical control surface; instead they depend on computer displays and a mouse, or touchscreens. The feature set at the input level is extremely deep, with control capabilities formerly reserved for only the elite of the analog mixer world. In this world, small does not mean limited capability.

Dan's presentation features the basics as well as an advanced look at the components of the system, including

  • Wi-Fi setup and operation at live events (assuming we get to do those again),
  • app features necessary and/or lacking,
  • router setup and security details,
  • operational techniques and tricks while at the gig.

This presentation will cover both tablet control of regular consoles as well as consoles that can only be controlled by tablet or laptop computer, although laptop mixing will only be tangentially mentioned. Relatively inexpensive digital mixers have changed Dan's workflow almost entirely for the better, and he is continually astonished to be able to mix a show out front or onstage without touching and physically moving a mixer and snake at all. In a normal year, that could be 20-30 times, and for another another 80 or so shows is using a tablet to do virtually the entire soundcheck while standing close to the artist or wherever he needs to be in the auditorium to get the job done, while mixing during the show on a combination of tablet and full console.

Other Business: Election Notice We will hold our annual officer and committee member election at our June meeting. Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer) are typically nominated from the existing Committee. Committee members can be anyone interested and willing to help your section produce meetings. Officers serve for one year. Committee members serve for two years, with half electing on odd numbered years, and the other half electing on even numbered years. The current list of officers and committee members can be found here. If you are interested in participating, please contact anyone on the list. You must be a member or associate member at the time you assume the position.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information + RSVP instructions

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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March Meeting Announcement

Call it an overabundance of caution... With the coronavirus (covid H19) going around, rumors, news, and fake news flying like ... we've decided that it's better to simply not have a meeting this month rather than risking you, our audience, with something like this.

It turns out that our favorite venue has suspended classes anyway, likely in yet another overabundance of caution. Make no mistake: caution is good. This thing is playing out like the opening scenes of a disaster movie.

We hope to pick up our meeting schedule again in April.  Stay tuned, we'll let you know.
Stay Healthy!

Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2020

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Past Event: Creating A New Loudspeaker Design

February 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Location: Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, WA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Gary Gesellchen | Vanatoo

 Loudspeaker designers and the music lovers who use their products share a similar dilemma. When confronted with a clean sheet, the designer must ask themselves "what's possible?" When shopping for a new set of speakers the music lover would like to know "what's reasonable". They would both like to know what to expect from a system just by looking at it.

While overall sound quality is what defines a system, the bass response is typically what dictates the size, power requirements, and a good deal of the cost of a loudspeaker system. Looking at the family of designs typically possible from a "bass reflex" loudspeaker allows the designer to quickly home in on the requirements for a proposed system. The results can also be used to assess what to expect from an existing design. Another question asked is which bass reflex designs can be realized with a ported cabinet versus the family of very attractive design options that are only realizable with a passive radiator design.

Join us on February 26th to learn more about the yin and yang of creating a commercially viable loudspeaker system.


About the presenter

Gary Gesellchen is a Mechanical Engineer who built his first pair of custom speakers while still in high school. He launched his own speaker company, Vanatoo, with partner Rick Kernen after a 25 year career in design, manufacturing, and management with electromechanical computer peripherals makers (disk drives and printers). After a lifetime of studying, building, and testing, Gary is beginning to understand speakers. He lives in Seattle with his wife Claire and two kids, and as a native born Northwesterner enjoys the great outdoors and all it has to offer.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information + directions

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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

January 8, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Location: Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, WA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Ron Sauro, NWAA Labs Inc

 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.

Topics to be discussed

  • Major changes in Absorption, Diffusion (diffraction), and Transmission loss measurements.
  • 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 January meeting for what should be an informative update in the field of architectural acoustics.

View Official Meeting Report

More Information, presenter's bio, directions

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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