AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - June 17, 2020

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The PNW Section held its 3rd and final virtual meeting of the season and its annual election June 17, on the Zoom Meeting platform. Featured speaker was prolific audio book author Bill Gibson, who spoke appropriately enough, on getting good sound when streaming media over the internet. About 49 persons attended from around the globe.

Bill Gibson is president of Northwest Music and Recording, Inc. and is the author of more than 35 audio books and videos. He currently teaches Live Sound: Mixing and Recording at Berklee College of Music and previously taught Audio Production at The Art Institute of Seattle and Professional Entertainment Training at Green River College. As Developmental Editor for Rowman & Littlefield, Gibson has written and produced a wide range of instructional content under his own name (The Hal Leonard Recording Method, The Ultimate Live Sound Operators Handbook, and many more) and alongside some of the music industry's most iconic professionals including: Quincy Jones (Q on Producing), Bruce Swedien (The Bruce Swedien Recording Method), Dave Pensado (The Pensado Papers), Sylvia Massy (Recording Unhinged), Alan Parsons (The Art and Science of Recording), Al Schmitt (Al Schmitt On the Record and Al Schmitt on Vocal and Instrumental Recording Techniques), and many more. Bill's most recent instructional offerings include: Stream Great-Sounding Audio (eBook and audiobook), First 50 Recording Techniques You Should Know to Track Music (book Hal Leonard), The Ultimate Live Sound Operator's Handbook, 3rd Edition (book and eBook Rowman & Littlefield).

He is active in the P&E Wing of the Recording Academy, and has been a member of the AES Pacific Northwest Section since the mid '80s. Gibson has been proud to spend the last two years serving on the AES PNW Section's Program Committee. 

Bill's talk this evening noted that streaming media over the internet has been forced into the forefront by the pandemic, and there is a need to know how to get as good a quality sound as possible. This takes a new mindset for the audio person in charge. His experiences of late have been focused on his church's video and audio streaming of services, but he drew on years of studio and live sound experience. He primarily assumed an event where one would normally be mixing audio and probably have video, and whether that would be a live production with sound reinforcement, or like today, without an audience or PA.

A wide range of hardware was discussed for both video and audio, much of it familiar to practitioners. He pointed out that there are now many i-devices - phones, tablets, and accessories - that can do nearly everything a production needs at very low cost.

He thinks a "broadcast" mindset to production is the way to go, rather than like a live PA or studio session, with today's lack of audience. He also covered many production tips he recommends, such as careful management of bass, finding all the best quality settings on the streaming platform, and checking the sound on many devices and in mono. He played some examples of what transmission over a streaming platform does to sound. Gain structure should not be dismissed whether an analog or digital stage. He also covered loudness measurement with LUFS in detail, and gave more tips for setting compression and limiting.

A lively Q, A and discussion session followed, and attendees we welcomed to unmute and introduce themselves. Committeeperson Dan Mortensen gave a reminder for a casual Zoom meeting series he is hosting, called Tea Time Topics on Saturdays. Treasurer Lawrence Schwedler gave a reminder for the AVAR 2020 AES Conference, to be held virtually in August. A short discussion about the AES Virtual Vienna convention was held, before Chair Greg Dixon called it a night.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society