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AUDIO EXCEEDS THE USUAL EXPECTATIONS AT THE RECENT AES INTERNATIONAL FORENSIC AUDIO CONFERENCE

forensic_audio.JPGDENVER, COLORADO – JULY 2008: All too often, ironically, audio conferences can feature instances of less than perfect sound in the discussion panel and presentation rooms. That truism was stood on its head at the recent AES 33rd International Conference, “Audio Forensics-Theory and Practice” held in Denver, Colorado, where attendees praised the exemplary performance of the Klein + Hummel speaker systems. Sennheiser Electronic Corporation supplied the K+H speakers for the event and also provided a number of evolution wireless microphone systems and personnel to oversee the setup.

“The systems worked flawlessly and throughout the conference we were told by many of the attendees that this was the first audio conference they had been to in which the audio was excellent!” reports Robby Scharf, market development manager, western region, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation. Scharf, along with Mike Pappas, Sennheiser’s Denver-based senior applications engineer, attended the conference to assist with the audio equipment. “We provided the entire sound system for the conference, including two K+H PAS 100 portable amplified speakers and a pair of K+H O 410 three-way active studio monitors, along with three Sennheiser e 935 microphones and two ew 135 wireless systems.”

“We had no equipment problems, due to having good equipment and good people. You need both of those,” commented Richard W. Sanders, the former chair of the Colorado AES Chapter, director of the National Center for Media Forensics and owner of Salt Pro Audio, a Denver-based facility specializing in audio and video forensics. Sanders, who has been working in audio forensics since 1991, has testified numerous times in federal, state, county and municipal courts, working on such cases as the JonBenét Ramsey investigation, the Oklahoma City bombing trial, the Columbine shooting case, the Kobe Bryant case and Castillo v. Newmont Mining.

“The goal was to have it so everybody could hear comfortably and have intelligibility from the front of the room to the back, and all the way to the sides,” says Sanders. The eighty-person capacity room was almost fully occupied during the three-day conference, he adds.

The two K+H systems served separate purposes, explains Scharf. “We hooked up the two PAS 100s to one of the mixing console’s group outputs so these provided the presenters a great-sounding PA system. We then hooked the O 410s up to a second group output of the board to handle all of the critical listening from the various PowerPoint presentations.”

Critical listening for audio forensics is a little different than with music, notes Sanders. “It’s not like in a studio, but more in terms of audio enhancement. It’s more voice-oriented than music.” He adds, “We also did an interview live for the attendees using Skype, with two-way visuals. The person couldn’t be here for health reasons.”

As the conference chair, says Sanders, “My job was to make sure things ran smoothly. I didn’t do anything but get other people to do things! As long as you have a good team of people that’s a pretty good job. And what a great guy Robby is. He was very helpful and ready to get stuff done. Mike Pappas is a great guy, too. We had good people there that are considerate yet professional.”

The follow-up conference to the very successful AES 26th Conference on forensics that was also held in Denver, in 2005, explored the history, hardware and techniques of forensic investigation of audio materials. The field has gone through significant advances with the advent of digital audio recording, signal processing and computer-assisted evaluation. The appropriate use of analog and digital processes provides the contemporary audio engineer with powerful tools for quality audio investigation in support of the law enforcement, legal, archival and restoration communities.

SENNHEISER
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in sixty countries around the world through long-term distribution partners and subsidiaries in France, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA. Sennheiser’s technology is produced in manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the United States of America. Their pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Sennheiser Group is proud to be affiliated with Georg Neumann (Technical Grammy(r) award-winning studio microphones), Klein and Hummel (studio monitors) and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications that brings their award-winning technology to headsets for PCs, offices and call centers.

For more information, please visit www.sennheiserusa.com

(PHOTO CAPTION)
Robby Scharf, Sennheiser’s market development manager western region, addresses the recent AES 33rd International Conference in Denver, where attendees applauded the audio quality delivered by the Klein + Hummel O 410 monitors and PAS 100 wireless speakers and Sennheiser e 935 microphones and ew 135 wireless systems.

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