AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - August 25, 2020

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PNW Section held a rare August meeting, offering a Zoom presentation with engineer-producer-author-radiant being Sylvia Massy showing some of the history of microphones from her collection - now thought to be the world's largest. About 400 people attended the Zoom from around the world. We could not figure a way to accurately count AES members, as over 600 tickets were given (with inquiry about member status), and the link was freely available. Our best estimate would be nearly 200 were AES members.

Sylvia Massy is the unpredictable producer and engineer renowned for her work with Tool, System of a Down, Johnny Cash and Prince. She's received over 25 gold and platinum records including awards for her work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust and Tom Petty. She's also an accomplished fine artist, a published columnist, in-demand educator, and relentless entrepreneur. But to her many friends, she's just Sylvia, the Radiant Being. Sylvia's recent book, Recording Unhinged, dares you to abandon safe record-making, to get out from behind the windshield, stick your head out the sunroof, and put the pedal to the metal!

After remarks from emcee Bill Gibson, and PNW Chair Greg Dixon, Sylvia dove into showing off historic, vintage and rare microphones from her private studio in Oregon. Much of her collection came from the private museum of the late Bob Paquette of Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.

Microphones were divided up by category, with special examples shown from Relics (the earliest mics), Condensors, Dynamics, Ribbons, Crystals, Most Beautiful, and Sleepers (good mics you might find at affordable prices). Several of the mics, even some of the oldest, nearly 100 year old ones, were plugged in and demonstrated.

While Sylvia set up for each category, short interludes were presented including three 1-minute Powerpoints on vintage connectors by PNW's Rick Chinn, along with spots for AES business by PNW Chair Greg Dixon and PNW Committee Dan Mortensen.

After Sylvia finished, attendees (and Sylvia) could unmute and were randomly shuffled into small breakout rooms for 15 minutes to socialize, then shuffled again for another 15 minutes. This proved to be quite popular ("speed dating for audio nerds").

After Sylvia said goodbye, about 85 remaining attendees remained for a lively group discussion, with women in audio, inclusion and diversity a main topic.

Special thanks to Rick Chinn and Katie Gray for funding the Zoom capacity, the PNW Committee, and Chris Johnson doing Sylvia's production.

See the PNW Section webpage for links to the meeting media: and click "Archive" near the top (meeting archives).

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AES - Audio Engineering Society