AES Show Partner P&E Wing Presents “Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management”

Migrating to digital file-based audio has brought on a host of challenges in the organization and management of the burgeoning elements used to produce modern musical magic. “Once upon a time, engineers and their assistants just had to keep track of various reels of multi-track analog tapes, containing up to about 48 tracks per song, that were stored in easily labeled boxes,” begins the P&E Wing’s description of its AES Show Fall 2020 Audio Engineering Convention Special Event – open to all interested – “Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management,” to be held online Thursday, October 22, at 3 p.m. EST. “Those boxes also included track sheets which used a common language to explain what was on each track,” the description continues. “Of course, that’s ancient history. Now, the number of tracks is pretty much unlimited, many sessions have no assistants, and engineers use their own proprietary ways of file labeling and management. Often, chaos ensues.” The value of organized assets is being further illuminated as artists and labels increasingly look to repurpose legacy assets for new formats like Dolby Atmos and to capitalize on unreleased materials. The panel will address the issues and recommend solutions.

The all-star engineer panel for the event consists of Jeff Balding, Chris Dennis, Quentin Gilkey and Ebonie Smith, joined by Moderator and P&E Wing Sr. Managing Director Maureen Droney. Courtesy of the P&E Wing, the AES Show 2020 Partner Showcase Zoom event will be open to the audio public.

The P&E Wing is actively involved in developing constantly updated guidelines for the management and delivery of music assets with file management and nomenclature a key component that promotes efficient collaboration and asset archiving. Many of the panelists are active in developing these guidelines.


Jeff Balding has brought his unique blend of commercial instincts and authenticity to a broad array of genres and has earned numerous GRAMMY nominations in addition to a multi-platinum professional profile. He has worked with icons across multiple genres including the Eagles, Maren Morris, Taylor Swift, Don Henley, Shania Twain, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, BeBe Winans and Megadeth.

Chris Dennis is a multi-platinum engineer based out of Los Angeles, CA. After moving to California in 2015, he worked his way up through the legendary recording studios NightBird and Record Plant before eventually going freelance and working with Roddy Ricch in 2019. Dennis is now Ricch's full-time audio engineer for everything live and studio.

With a background in classical and jazz piano, Quentin “Q” Gilkey began his music career on the performance side. After studying engineering at the Conservatory of Recording Arts in Phoenix, Arizona, he interned at Ocean Studios in Los Angeles before landing as an engineer at Paramount Recording Studios. In 2010, Dr. Dre began working out of Paramount’s sister studio, Encore, with Q as an assistant engineer. Q soon began engineering for writers and producers at Dr. Dre’s record label, Aftermath Entertainment. In 2014, Q was promoted to lead engineer and has worked alongside Dr. Dre for the past eight years with all of the acclaimed artists on the producer’s roster, including Kendrick Lamar, The Game, Eminem and Anderson .Paak.

Ebonie Smith is an award-winning music producer, audio engineer and singer-songwriter based in New York City. She is also founder and president of Gender Amplified, Inc., an organization that celebrates and supports women and girls in music production and audio engineering. Smith received a GRAMMY Certificate and RIAA-certified platinum plaque for work as an assistant engineer on Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and another GRAMMY Certificate as assistant engineer on Sturgill Simpson's award-winning album A Sailor's Guide to Earth. She engineered on the GRAMMY-nominated album Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe and the GRAMMY-winning album Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B. She currently works as engineer, producer and studio coordinator for Atlantic Records.

Event moderator Maureen Droney is the Sr. Managing Director of the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing. A former recording engineer herself, Droney has worked on GRAMMY-winning recordings for artists including Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Santana – as well as on numerous other projects, including two Billboard Number One Dance songs. She has a degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from California State University, San Francisco, and has taught seminars on the theory and practice of recording for companies including ABC and CBS Television. She has also worked in both artist and studio management, was the longtime Los Angeles editor for Mix magazine, and has published three books related to recording. Her most recent, co-written with its subject, is Al Schmitt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music, chronicling the life and career of the most awarded recording engineer in history.

Visit AESShow.com to find out more about this and other AES Show Special Events and Technical Program sessions, the AES Show Partner Showcase, and much more happening as the AES Show 2020 expands across October as Audio Engineering Month. Showcase registration is free for AES Members, while non-members can register for just $25, or for free with a VIP promo code from one of the AES Show Partners (special thanks go to AES Show Fall 2020 Convention Platinum Partners Amazon Devices, Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Genelec, NTP Technology (DAD, Penta), and The Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing). For everything AES Show 2020 has to offer, including the comprehensive Technical Program, All Access Registration starts at just $149 for AES Members and $99 for AES Student Members.

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