MajorHiFi Goes to the 143rd AES Convention

MajorHiFi at the AES Convention 2

The first time I attended the AES Convention, I was an 18-year-old college student hungry for audio knowledge. I travelled from Boston to San Francisco, lugging my backpack to and fro between my modest and smelly hostile room and the convention center. And on the first day of that convention, when I stepped on the exhibition floor, the feeling in my gut was equal parts awe and intimidation. Consequently, I was hooked. Which brings us to this year, the 143rd AES Convention. 

MajorHiFi Goes to the 143rd AES Convention

Seven years have elapsed. Today, the feelings of stepping onto the floor are similar. But this time, I keep running into old friends of conventions past, as well as companies big and small who continually shift in smart ways as the years progress.

Previous to this writing job at MajorHiFi, sneaking a peek at the newest headphones was rarely a part of my AES convention goals.  But this year, headphones are the focal aims of my gaze. And the floor does not disappoint.

The Floor

Front and center of the exhibition hall are all the big dogs in the headphone game: Shure, Audio Technica, and Sennheiser. Additionally, sprinkled through the rows of gear sit other fan favorites like Focal, Final Audio, and Mytek Digital. New companies and products are even somehow more intriguing like Radsone’s new Ear Studio (a portable Bluetooth receiver) and Fanstereo’s new line of aluminium headphones.

MajorHiFi at the AES Convention

I won’t lie, the exhibition hall is a bustling place. It isn’t kind to those who want to critically analyze the sound of a particular headphone, speaker, or the like. Therefore, audiophiles might be turned off by the environment altogether.

But the energy of the space alone is enough to make the audio professionals of the world twinkle like children on the first day of school. Some are shy and studious, and some are loquacious– spouting stories of their favorite projects or devilish clients.

A word to the wise

Regardless, the convention is a magically overwhelming place and it is bountiful with headphones and audio treasure beyond. So this is a beacon to the audio professionals who visit this publication. If you don’t know about AES, now you know (at least know enough to find more details on Google). If you know about AES, I implore you to come visit next year.

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Steph is a musician, recordist, mixer, and producer. In addition to longform written reviews, he also handles the MajorHiFi Youtube channel. Contact: