AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - April 22, 2008

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The PNW Section April meeting had noted author David Miles Huber sharing some "Adventures in Live Surround Performance." Some 22 AES members attended and 37 others. The meeting was held in the theater space of a relatively new elementary school conversion to artist community in West Seattle, the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

PNW Committeeman Jake Perrine introduced David and would act as the host and emcee.

David Miles Huber has written such books as the classic Modern Recording Techniques (, The MIDI Manual and Professional Microphone Techniques. He's also a producer and musician in the chill and downtempo genres.

Huber began by playing one of his surround pieces on the theater's surround system. He described his career, and how he became involved in surround sound.

Regarding Huber's music production, mastering and remastering into surround techniques, he starts working right from the start in surround in Nuendo for production. He noted that film surround sound is established, but surround music is still coming. There are format war problems, and he would like to see a standard format, like DVD, even if it's not the utmost quality. David thinks education is the best way to promote surround sound. The general media isn't helping and doesn't understand it, he thinks. It should be simpler to setup, with less confusion on formats.

Huber is an avid member of the Electronic Music Collective (EMC), which includes some surround sound fanatics. He described some recent events, performing in surround with his laptop.

He was asked to described his setup tonight. He played some of his tracks, comparing the stereo part to the full surround version. He played another surround example, the Windows Media 9 intro sound.

Then it was time for a break, and door prize drawings.

Continuing after the break, David discussed speaker setups and various thoughts on placing sounds in the mix.

Several more examples were played, and he showed the mixdown stems on the screen - there were lots of tracks mixed down to 5.1 channels.

On the subject of LFE/bass management, David noted that the "point one" speaker was intended for a 1/10th (10%) extra oomph, for occasional Low Frequency Effects (LFE). So it's not just a subwoofer for the music, although he has tried this and rather likes it.

Huber thinks that surround mastering, like any mastering, means first getting the best, consistent sound from the submitted material, and then tackling surround delivery problems, such as figuring the formats and their problems.

At this point, questions, answers and comments were fielded, ranging from the role of surround for traditional ensembles to the sweet spot problem to having a single volume knob for all channels. A few more example were played, and some Alan Parsons DVD material finished the evening.

Report by Gary Louie, AES PNW Section Secretary

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