Studios & Silence: AES Student Summit in St. Louis

The Silent Front
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April 19, 2008 by Devon Cooke

It should come as no surprise that we're computer geeks here at SPCR — that's a given for almost any tech site. But, bearing in mind the Silent part of our name, we're as much audio geeks are we are computer geeks. So, it was with great excitement that we accepted an invitation to participate in a Student Summit for the AES (Audio Engineering Society). Our participation was twofold: A presentation on building silent PCs for studio applications, and an actual, bona fide SPCR-built silent system awarded as second prize for best pop mix. Best of all, we got to spend a weekend geeking out over microphones and recording techniques.

THE SUMMIT

First, some background: The Audio Engineering Society is a professional organization dedicated to recording and reproducing audio. Its members have pioneered many of the technologies and techniques that are used to produce modern recordings.

The summit was hosted by the student chapter of the AES at Webster University in St. Louis. Topics ranged from microphone techniques and stereo recording to sound design for games and film to recording the Beatles — and, of course, building silent PCs.


The Sverdrup building on Webster University's St. Louis campus.

When we weren't initiating the impressionable student audience into the ways of no-noise computing, we spent our time hobnobbing with industry names such as Ron Streicher and Bob Katz — and attending their talks on stereo recording and dynamic range compression. We also spoke to several microphone manufacturers in hopes of expanding and improving our test lab.


Less boring than it looks...

We also got a peek at the university's recording studio — including their brand spanking new, drool-inducing SSL Duality mixing console. The enterprising students have even modified the cooling system with a pair of undervolted fans! However, we noticed that their computer systems needed to be locked in a glass box to keep them quiet...


Here's one to set your geek juices running.

Last of all, we were proud to present a nearly silent, SPCR-built computer to the second-place winner in the pop category of the event's mixing contest (first place was a matched pair of high end Sennheiser microphones — I'm jealous).

SPCR writer Devon Cooke presents a 19 dBA@1m prize system to Richard Chilcott of Ohio University.



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