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The 29th Tonmeistertagung in Cologne:

A huge success with a compelling program, exciting exhibition and fascinated visitors*

A hugely successful 29th Tonmeistertagung ended on Sunday, November 20, 2016. It was characterized by an extraordinary convention program, a large and exciting exhibition, and enormous interest from the many visitors. From traditional Tonmeisters to PA experts, scientists to trainees and producers to audio assistants the entire audio industry met to network and share their professional experience.



The exhibition was spread on three floors with a total of 2 400 square metres, more than 130 exhibitors and 200 brands.

The VDT used the convention as an opportunity to open itself up to new audiences. For the first time, event technicians focusing on audio were explicitly invited along with media designers. The industry is changing and broadening, and as a professional association VDT has been following this trend for years, said Carlos Albrecht, President of the VDT, commenting on the developments. It was also worthwhile for young talent in the industry, which enjoyed the Trainee Forum, the Live Mixing Workshop that's been a fixture of the Tonmeistertagung for years, the TMT Academy and the Education Forum.



Tonmeister Academy is an established platform for young professionals, trainees, students and all professionals who want to learn from international experts. Pre-eminent leaders of the business revealed their tips and tricks for good and successful productions.
The photo shows Carsten Kmmel (to the left) and Dieter Falk (to the right) in the Academy workshop TA-03 about Sound „reinforcement of big orchestras“.


Tonmeistertagung offered many sessions for young talents, from the trainee and student to young professionals.

A broad convention program

Drawing on Invited Sessions, where luminaries of the industry organized comprehensive contributions in their field of expertise, the convention program achieved an even greater variety than in recent years. The 14 Invited Sessions (from a total of 28 Themed Sessions) ranged from 3D Recording to The Future of Broadcasting and Speech Intelligibility in Broadcast.



11 Roundtable discussions in total invited the audience to participate directly in the congress program. Internationally renown experts in the panels were discussion the hot topics of professional audio.
This photo shows the panelists of the Roundtable discussion GS-04 leaded by Henning Birkenhake hdpk Berlin). From left to the right: Timothy Auld (Truva Music), Benedikt Schller, Gtz-Michael Rieth (Eastside Mastering Studios), Henning Birkenhake (hdpk Berlin), Peter Walsh, Ludwig Maier (GKG Mastering), Hans-Martin Buff (Recording Engineer and Music Producer).

In addition to the diversity of subjects, current topics were spotlighted. This time, the large hall on the ground floor was dedicated to the topics Musical / Stage, which addressed issues such as scene automation and managing large radio installations including intercom. Connected to this topic, latest trends in sound reinforcement technologies focused on PA experts and saw discussion of technologies such as beam steering and subwoofer array technologies.



The large hall on the ground floor was dedicated to the topics Musical / Stage, which addressed issues such as scene automation and managing large radio installations including intercom. Connected to this topic, latest trends in sound reinforcement technologies focused on PA experts. The live mixing workshop LMW on the first day invited a young audience with focus on PA and event technology. The LMW was organized by d&b audiotechnik, Sennheiser and Yamaha in cooperation with Neumann&Mller and the German pro audio magazine Production Partner.

Several sessions were devoted to the artistic arrangement of recordings and productions. VDT could secure speakers of international renown, both in classical music and in pop, rock and jazz.



One important part of Tonmeistertagung handles with the art of recording, with aesthetic questions. In the Talk Back series, extraordinary recordings are discussed. Which strategies are best for which kind of recording? Are there any best practices?
The photo shows Dorothee Schabert (SWR) in her Talb Back TB-04. In the center of the audience, you can see Malgorzata Albinska-Frank who was in charge of planning the Talk Back series and who leaded them.

Virtual Reality and 3D Audio

Recording and reproduction technologies as well as their artistic realization for 3D audio and Virtual Reality or 360 video likewise received plenty of attention. This area of interest has emerged from its niche and will soon spill over into consumer equipment. A number of smartphone makers have already announced binaural reproduction, and both the automotive industry and computer game developers are extremely active in the field.
Several sessions highlighted new trends in developing, recording and producing 3D audio and virtual reality. The IRT Themed Day, which colleagues from the broadcasting industry particularly appreciated, further emphasized the importance of these topics: It was dedicated entirely to Virtual Reality.


Elaborate reproduction equipment


One of the major topics of this years congress was 3D audio. The VDT team had equipped one workshop room with about 200 seats with a 3D sound reinforcement supporting all formats (Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos, Ambisonics, other formats). It was complemented by 120 headphones for binaural reproduction..

One of the lecture halls was fitted with its own flexible three-dimensional sound reinforcement system that enabled all major reproduction standards, from Ambisonics to Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos and several special formats. VDT also procured a signal distribution system for binaural signals and 120 headphones for the hall. „The technical equipment required was enormous this time round, more even than for the last Tonmeistertagung“, summarized Jörn Nettingsmeier (VDT board member), who was responsible for the technical equipment and operating the halls during the Tonmeistertagung. It was a worthwhile effort in the hall, providing as it did a rare and exquisitely implemented opportunity to compare immersive audio and binaural headphone reproduction at the highest of standards.



120 headphones for the audience allowed binaural reproduction in one of the five lecture and workshop rooms. Some presenters compared binaural audio with a reproduction through the 3D sound reinforcement system a rare opportunity which was rendered possible thanks to the excellent technical equipment in the room. The photo shows Tom Parnell (BBC) in his workshop BT-04 about „BBC Proms in Binaural Sound“.

The program ended on Sunday with a compelling session on cinematic audio lead by Martin Steyer, which likewise aligned to 3D audio. During Saturday night, the technicians crew converted the 3D sound reinforcement system in lecture hall R3 into a standard-compliant Dolby Atmos cinema sound system.


Video blogging about the Tonmeistertagung

The brand new Vimeo channel showed new vlogs virtually every half hour during prime time. The vlogs were produced by a dedicated editorial and production team of media designer trainees directed by the ARD.ZDF media academy.



The program covered many technical topics and artistic aspects. VDT could secure speakers of international renown, both in classical music and in pop, rock and jazz. You can see just how many it had something for every visitor, from trainees to experienced professionals in the convention program and in the brand new Vimeo channel . During prime time, new vlogs were added virtually every half hour, which were produced by a dedicated editorial and production team of media designer trainees directed by the ARD.ZDF media academy.

Having grown once more, the exhibition touched on the latest audio equipment. You can find a list of exhibitors and contact details on our website.



The exhibition scored with more than 130 exhibitors and 200 brands on three floors with 2 400 square meters. The close combination of exhibition and congress was a guarantee for short distances and an effective show and again satisfied the visitors. The exhibitors, on the other hand, were happy about the audience of interested and good informed visitors.

Carlos Albrecht and the entire team at VDT is delighted about the successful convention. „Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this event!“

The next Tonmeistertagung the 30th TMT, which will be an anniversary event is scheduled for November 2018, and will once again take place in the Convention Centrum Nord at the „Messe Köln“ exhibition grounds in Cologne.


All Facts on the 29th Tonmeistertagung:


17th to 20th of November 2016, Congress-Centrum Nord, Cologne

Exhibition: 2 400 square metres with more than 130 exhibitors and 200 brands

Program: A 130-hour program comprised of 174 contributions (including 40 workshops, 11 roundtables, 20 posters, 8 Talk Backs and 7 academy contributions) in five lecture halls, as well as 7 excursions

Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/1155130

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