As the third Melbourne Audio Trade Show approaches, founder Gareth Parton emerges as a man on a mission. Despite similar events occurring throughout the world, the department coordinator at SAE Creative Media Institute recognised a hole in Melbourne’s sonic landscape, and so Australia’s preeminent audio industry event was born. In 2018, the free event is now bigger than ever, with some of the recording industry’s biggest names along for the ride.
“We’re hoping each year builds on the previous,” Parton says. “Last year was bigger than the first, and it’s looking good this time as well. We’ve got a large sound stage area [at SAE Institute], and I’m always looking to find ways to use that space for interesting things. I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring all the big names in the audio technology world together and show off what they’re doing.
“That’s how it started. They’re here in an expo style, all displaying their goods on show, but we’ve also got a 100-seat lecture theatre where there are product demos and discussions throughout the day as well. So each exhibitor has their own space, but on top of that they’re doing workshops and things as well.”
Although Parton and the SAE crew are very encouraging of students and hobbyists coming along to network and learn, the showcase is not just for those starting out in the industry. Major industry participants like Pro Tools, Yamaha and Roland are there to share their expertise with newbies and seasoned pros alike.
“There’s going to be workshops for professionals, there’s going to be workshops for beginners, there’s plenty of introductory stuff,” says Parton. “We’ve got demonstrations and workshops from Cubase, FL Studio, Ableton. We’ve got Studio One. Pro Tools are going to be here. It’s interesting to have all of these – well, on the one hand you might see them as opponents. But they’ll all be here under one roof showing off their differences.
“A big consideration I have is the bedroom producer, the hobbyists who want to take that next step, what do they do once they leave the comforts of their bedroom or an institute like this? We have a panel called ‘We Made A Studio – You Can Too’, and we’re gathering local Melbourne studio owners and they’re talking about the pros and cons of how you actually take that next step, get that gear that you need. We’re very mindful that most people these days aren’t going to be going out on those big SSL Boards. They don’t need to spend a huge amount of money and learn SSLs; they need to find the right gear for them to begin with. Self-reliant music producers [must] choose the right equipment, think about the spaces they’ll be recording and mixing in, all those considerations. We also have reps from Goatsound, Panorama Studios, Killsonic. These are all small to medium-sized studios, and [we’re] looking at their audio careers.”
Although Parton would be hard-pressed to pick any favourites from the lineup, an event that will prick the ears of every attendee is the Q&A with world-renowned producer/engineer Sylvia Massy.
“We have Sylvia Massy, this legendary recording engineer and mixer who’s worked with Tool, System of a Down – she’s done Johhny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers. She’s doing it via the web, since she’s in Europe at the moment, but she’s doing a Q&A with us and she’s very open about the way she works. She loves to share that stuff. She has some interesting approaches to recording, which should be an eye-opener.
“But there’s also plenty of giveaways that we’re doing, like a Focusrite studio pack with a mic and interface and headphones. Lots of giveaway prizes for people who just turn up. A lot of people have been very generous with what they’re giving away, as well as the goody-bag that we’re giving away at the door. And the best thing about the whole thing, I suppose, is that it’s free. We do just ask that everyone registers via the Picatic link, just so we can anticipate numbers. But it’s already looking like it’s going to be good. Just check out the Facebook page if anyone wants to know more.”
The Audio Trade Show will take over SAE’s South Melbourne campus on Saturday September 22 from 11am – 4pm. Attendees can register at picatic.com/melbourneaudiotradeshow2018.