Woot! Off to the AES Headphone Technology Conference!

Dayum! The Danish is way better in Denmark.

In case you haven't noticed, headphones are undergoing a radical evolution. We audiophiles think of them as just another way to enjoy our music, but the rest of the world wants something more...much more. They want an immersive Pokemon hunting experience...or some such crap. They want to hear to call of the Poke from around the corner; they want language translation on the fly; they want to cancel the noisy bar but hear their name called when the table is ready. Yeah, the headphone world is changing rapidly...very, very rapidly.

So rapidly, in fact, that the Audio Engineering Society figured it's high time to get a bunch of headphone engineers together to swap thoughts and get a grip on what's the heck is going on and how the heck to address it. From the conference page introduction:

More than 300 million pairs of headphones were sold in 2015, and people are using headphones everywhere. The popularity of "smart and wearable" devices has driven developments in low-power processors and sensors that are enabling the augmentation of headphones with features more typically associated with hearing aids or smartphones. Therefore, this conference will focus on technologies for headphones with a special emphasis on the emerging fields of Mobile Spatial Audio, Personal Assistive Listening, and Augmented Reality. This conference will assemble scientists, developers, and practitioners who are involved in any head-worn hearing technology, be it in theory, technical design, application or evaluation. The conference will enable an interdisciplinary dialogue across the headphone and hearing aid industries.

Well geez, this sounds like something that I ought to be aware of...and I are aware...and I'm there! For the next few days I'll be attending and reporting on presentations of interest at the 2016 AES International Conference On Headphone Technology in Aalborg Denmark. It'll take me a week or so to complete the coverage, but I will try to update daily as I'm here.

Please have a look at the conference technical program and let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like me to focus on...but I will try to attend pretty much everything.

More soon!!!

Johan B's picture

We get Pokemon Conventions here in The Hague. They walk around with battery loaders looking into their mobile phone. They walk into people on a regular basis. Headphones with distance sensors and alarms would be good.

24bitbob's picture

Hi Tyll,

The session on binaural technologies could be of real significance to us hifi guys. Imagine an 'in the hall' experience with a high end headphone. Something like the Smyth's Realiser, but cheaper, more convenient and smaller.

Bon voyage


davidespinosa's picture

Check out the new Realiser A16:

tony's picture

I hope you get invited to visit with the new friends you meet.

You're getting a peek into the intellectual Treasure Chest, an immense education can result from being on a first name basis with some of these folks. Betcha they'd love to experience Motorcycling Montana and seeing that World Famous Big Sky!

Tony in Michigan

ps. You're WOF collection could prove to be irresistible Bait, along with a visit to VVTJ's operation

Sorensiim's picture

Welcome to Denmark! \o/ Be sure to meet up with the Estron guys if they're up there, their Linum IEM cables are DEFINITELY something you'll want to sample! I might know a guy, so hit me up if you want to meet someone finally doing something NEW with cables!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I've got a question for you: When drinking Akvavit and eating pickled Herring, what magical additional foods will make this combination complete? (Because it sure as hell needs something else!)
Sorensiim's picture

Pickled herring is a wonderful thing, but it's an aquired taste; akvavit is the only know shortcut to aquiring it. Pickled herring (on rye) is traditionally eaten at christmas parties and the expression "let the herring swim" means washing it down with more akvavit.

Dammit I should have known that you'd be visiting our little over-taxed nation/socialist utopia (depending on who you ask) and I would have tried to pull some strings at Estron (the Linum cable guys) and I might even have an in with Bang & Olufsen. Or at the very least, I could have bought you a beer. Our beer is a lot better than the herring, I promise.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Would your recommend a brand of pickled herring to purchase and bring back to share with a friend?
MarcoGV's picture

... and I do not even like beer! I have fond memories of Aalborg, where I spent parts of my 1999-2000 sabbatical as a guest of Prof. Finn V. Jensen's decision support systems group in the Computer Science department. One of them is bicycling to work on the best maintained bicycle paths I have had the pleasure to ride on. Enjoy your trip, Tyll!

castleofargh's picture

always thought that a herring was only used to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest.

KasperK's picture

Onions. Raw onions. Or go for the curry sauce version. Might be better for a beginner.But as Søren said it is an acquired taste. Funny every time to hear about danish food from a foreigner. Wouldn´t think of denmark as the country of herring and danish. Would never eat a danish outside of denmark though. We dont call them danish but "Vienna bread". Dont now what they call them in Vienna.Ask a Dane abroad what to bring from their home country and the classic is "rye bread and salt liquorice!!!" Oh and of course the aquavit has to be cold enough to produce ice on the outside of the glass.

Sorensiim's picture

No matter which brand you buy, wrap it up like it was a Ming dynasty vase filled to the brim with nitroglycerin. If it leaks into your suitcase you'll never get the smell out.

Personal favorites are Glyngøre: http://multimedia.pol.dk/archive/00601/glyng_re_601812y.jpg and Launis: http://multimedia.pol.dk/archive/00601/launis_601815y.jpg

Just make sure that the label doesn't say "modnet/modnede". It means "matured" aka fermented aka bordering on rot. Do a youtube search for "surstrømning reaction".

KasperK's picture

But then again. I love my matured herring - while surtstrømning (the Swedish version), just the smell of that 20 meters away might make me vomit.

RazrLeaf's picture

Just a warning, but the laws around bringing meat and meat products in to the US are quite complicated.


Hi-Reality's picture

Hi Tyll,

Just went through AES Detailed Conference Program (in .pdf). There are too many highly interesting keynotes.

Here is my wishlist of topics and demos, would be lovely to read your impressions :

  • Paper Session 3: Binaural Technologies
  • Paper Session 5: Perceptual Evaluation
  • Demonstrations:

  • D-1 Smyth Research
  • D-3: TU Berlin
  • D-6 Sennheiser electronic
  • D-10 Rodrigo Diaz
  • Tyll: Enjoy Carlsberg and Tuborg beers of my neighbor country. Skål!!

    Regards, Babak
    Hi-Reality Project

    weinerd's picture

    "Danish" pastries are incidentally referred to as "Viennese" pastries in Denmark....

    JIGF's picture

    nice beard

    Onix's picture

    But I was wondering if I can have a phone call with you for a small interview in case the Iphone 7 comes out with no headphone out as per the rumours. I work for this place now:


    This is the prime source for financial news in Mexico and people are already going nuts for tomorrow's announcement and I think more than one will be a bit bewildered when they realize they can't use their expensive cans with their new phone. So, what do you say mate, are you game for an interview? I truly value your experience in the subject and would be happy to finally have a chance to talk to you.

    If you want more info about me, here's my linkedin profile:


    It's not up to date, by the way. Please, say yes. And thanks in advance.

    Carlos Martinez