AES Convention in Milan celebrates ‘the power of sound’ as society marks 70th birthday
From the opening ceremony onwards, the 144th AES International Conventional in Milan echoed the overarching theme of ‘the power of sound’ with four days of exhibitions, presentations, seminars and meetings. The event – which was introduced by AES executive director Bob Moses and president David Scheirman – took place from 23-26 May.
AES Conventions, noted Scheirman, fulfil the AES’s mission of promoting advancements in the science and practice of professional audio, “bringing leading people and ideas together.”
As 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Society, Scheirman reminded delegates that in 1948, five individuals gathered to form the AES, which now counts over 12,500 members worldwide. In the past year, the AES has seen the creation of new professional sections in Nigeria and Taiwan, along with a new student section in Quito, Ecuador – the first AES sections in these countries.
In addition, the AES has recorded eight-percent membership growth in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 2017. While highlighting the benefits of membership, including what is described as the largest repository of audio knowledge on the planet – over 17,000 papers in the AES online E-Library and over 200 videos in the AES Live: Videos series – Scheirman encouraged all audio professionals to become members and for all members to “get involved”.
Scheirman in turn introduced the Co-Chairs of the 144th AES International Convention, Nadja Wallaszkovits and Alberto Pinto, who thanked their Convention Committee members, sponsors and supporters for bringing AES Milan to life.
Bandwidth extension and sensor array signal conversion
Awards presentations are a part of the Opening Ceremonies at each AES Convention, and awards in Milan began with recognition for Convention papers presented by Bozena Kostek, Editor of the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, and Dr. Rob Maher, AES Student Technical Paper Award Coordinator. The Best Student Paper Awards went to co-authors Qingbo Huang, Xihong Wu and Tianshu Qu, all of Peking University (Beijing, China), for the paper ‘Bandwidth Extension Method Based on Generative Adversarial Nets for Audio Compression’. The Best Peer-Reviewed Paper Award went to co-authors Leo McCormack (Aalto University – Espoo, Finland), Symeon Delikaris-Manias (Aalto University – Helsinki, Finland), Angelo Farina (Università di Parma – Parma, Italy), Daniel Pinardi (Università di Parma – Parma, Italy) and Ville Pulkki (Aalto University – Espoo, Finland) for their paper ‘Real-Time Conversion of Sensor Array Signals into Spherical Harmonic Signals with Applications to Spatially Localised Sub-Band Sound-Field Analysis’. Both papers were presented during AES Milan paper sessions Thursday, 24 May.
Four Board of Governors Awards – given for outstanding contributions to the Audio Engineering Society – were also presented. The recipients were Maurycy Kin, for his work in support of the Polish professional audio community, to Sascha Spors and Nadja Wallaszkovits for co-chairing the 142nd AES Convention in Berlin Germany and to Toon Van Waterschoot for chairing the 60th International Conference on Deverberation and Reverberation of Audio, Music and Speech.
Capping the Opening Ceremonies was the Keynote address by Dr. Marina Bosi, who provided an insider’s view of the history of the science of perceptual audio coding, from its beginnings in the 1980s to the current state of the art.
Bosi also offered some pointers to the future, observing that “we see, more and more, compression as a technology enabler.” Data compression efficiencies, along with improved audio quality at lower data rates, have accommodated the moves to surround sound – first 5.1 and now extending to 22.2 immersive surround. More channels are accommodated at higher compression rates with excellent audio quality and more control with flexible rendering to allow adaptation to whatever configurations a consumer might be using.