Greg's AES 2004 San Francisco
Show Highlights

   Well, AES 2004 is history and a great show it was! Unlike the last show at the Moscone Center in 1998 (where there was literally tumbleweed rolling down the aisles), attendance was high. As usual, our row of high-end analog manufacturers was the place to be, and we were swamped all four days. For those of you who weren't there, here's what the booth looked like:

   Our next-door neighbor was Chandler Limited, whose EMI discrete solid-state gear is a great complement to our tube designs. We have many users in common, which made us a great draw at the end of our aisle. Wade, his wife Tess, Cody and Bryan are great folks to hang out with, and their gear sounds great.

   As always, the best part of the show for me is meeting everyone I've spoken to on the phone in the past year, meeting new customers, and making new friends. The absolute highlight this year was meeing and talking with someone who has had a profound effect on me and my involvement in engineering, music production and designing equipment. To those of you who know me this will come as no surprise. It's Geoff Emerick, the legendary Abbey Road engineer whose work with the Beatles is ground zero for pro audio and the creative use of the studio to make art. My respect for him and his influence on those of us who make records cannot be undersetimated. Sure we spoke about gear, but mostly about the joy of making records with everyone singing and playing in the same room at the same time. His recent record with Nellie McKay is a wonderful example of a recording (to analog!) that is intimate and draws the listener into the music. Here's me with Geoff:


   Producer/Engineer/Mixer Bob Power stopped by to say how much he's enjoying his 6386 and ES-8 Limiters, and uses them both for tracking and bus compression. He says "The ES-8 and 6386 are the ultimate vocal compressors, and the ES-8 adds a top-end shimmer to the track that I can't get with any other box. It's stunning!" Bob has turned on a lot of people to the ES-8 and OCL-2, and his kind words are much appreciated. Here's Bob at the booth:

   I also spent time with Chuck Ainley, who came by to demo the Quartet II and the OCL-2, as well as check out the SPS-1 Acoustic Guitar Preamp. He's putting together a touring rig for Mark Knopfler, and the SPS-1 is at the top of his list. Al Schmidt and Elliot Shiner also dropped by to check out the Quartet II and the ES-8 and OCL-2 compressors, which was a great treat.

   Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who were at the show to accept the TEC Lifetime Achievement Award, stopped by to say hi and put our gear on the short list for their new rooms.

   From over the pond, Andrew Dudham and Dave Holley from Abbey Road Studios, and TimVine-Lott from AIR Lyndhurst came by to learn more about our products.

   Mixer extraordinaire Jean-Marie Horvat (Michael Jackson, Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, etc.) and his assistant Gabe Chiesa came down to brag about using the 6386 and ES-8 on every mix, either on a vocal bus or the mix bus. Jean-Marie is one of our best 'salesmen', turning on folks like Jack Joseph Puig, Tony Maserati, Michael Brauer, Mark Needham and many others to our compressors. He says: "Save youself $30,000 and buy a 6386 or a ES-8 instead of a Fairchild. Trust me, you'll be glad you did!" Here's Gabe and Jean-Marie:

   Many people using our products were kind enough to stop by and say very nice things about them. I can't remember all of you, but a heartfelt thank you for your kind words and support.

   Special thanks Brad Blackwood and Dave Collins for their support of the 6386 and OCL-2, and great tech-talk over dinner. They kept me on my toes, and were polite while I droned on about the stuff I used to do at Bell Labs way back when.

   It was fun spending time with Dave Amels (Bomb Factory and Voce). We had a superb dinner at Osteria, and he introduced me to Don Buchla and Bob Moog at the analog synth cocktail party, which was very cool. If you're in search of the ultimate Hammond B3 emulation, you must try his Voce V5+ organ module. It has real drawbars, and it turns your MIDI controller into a B3. It's so good it's scary. Two manuals plus bass pedals, key click, leakage, overdrive, precussion, chorus and vibrato. All dead-on.

   Lastly, it was great hanging out with the other manufacturers, like Rupert Neve, Doug Fearn, Dave Hill, Dan Kennedy, Wade and Tess Goetke, Jonathan Little, Geoff and Debbie Daking, Amalia and John at Royer, and Dave Derr.

   Thank you all again for your support - especially my friend Richard Dobson for his help at the booth. I hope to see you again at AES 2005 in Barcelona, TapeOpCon2005 in New Orleans, and/or AES 2005 in New York.

 

Greg



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