AES Section Meeting Reports

Swiss - February 6, 2020

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The AES Swiss Section, together with the Education Committee, joined forces once again for a combined meeting featuring the Diploma Ceremony for the 2019 "Sound Technician" exams and a keynote speech in our series of "An Evening With..." by Claude Cellier of Merging Technologies.

As a reminder, the first exam for this diploma was in 1995 and was the first officially-recognised certificate for the Swiss audio profession. Following the 2019 exams, (the 13th) we are pleased to announce that 34 successful candidates have joined the ranks of our profession.

Past joint meetings have featured international figures from the world of audio and as Claude Cellier is also a member of this select club, we thought it appropriate to honour the Swiss audio industry this year. Merging Technologies are also celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2020 so the occasion was timely.

The title of Claude Cellier's lecture was Trust your ears! The Quest for the optimum (digital) audio representation.

The presentation reviewed some of the formidable changes the audio industry has undergone over the last couple of decades and focused on the challenges that still lie ahead of us. One of these challenges is that the human ear seems to behave remarkably beyond the commonly accepted limits of the auditory model! While audio capture, storage and reproduction systems get closer and closer to measurable transparency, there still seems to be an elusive part that remains unmeasurable and defies basic Cartesian engineering.
Further research into the subtleties that our auditory system is able to discern is highly welcome if we want to narrow the gap between certainty and guesswork.
To show how technology has moved on, Claude opened the proceedings with a photo of the first hard drive from IBM in 1956 — with the then huge storage capacity of 5Mb and the size and weight of a very large crate! Compare this with a pocket-sized disc drive of today with 5Tb of storage! However, all technology has to begin somewhere...
Audio quality today in digital systems is now only starting to rival analogue — the wheel has almost turned full circle -- and critical listening is becoming more and more vital. All this in stark contrast to consumer standards that seem to want to go the lowest common denominator! We can always summarise the situation by saying that as long as the original support is high quality, there remains hope for future generations...
An overview of the formidable solutions (and challenges) that recent developments in the Audio over IP Networking field are presenting concluded the presentation.
To finish, the AES Swiss Section and Education Committee would like to give thanks for the support received by the Swiss audio industry and to the sponsors who very kindly offered prizes to the most successful candidates, these being Yamaha, Shure, Merging Technologies, Sennheiser, Sec Audio and défi technique.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society