Maybe it was because the show was in San Francisco, a wide open city with a reputation for living la vida loca. Or maybe it was the powers-that-be at AES, who tilted the convention into more edgy territory than the standard My slew rate can beat your slew rate bill of fare. Or maybe it was the eclipse that set the stage for cosmic coolness the day before the show opened. Or maybe it was just time to party. Whatever the reason, AES 2004 at Moscone Center (theme: The Art of Audio) had the most traffic since 1998 FYI, the last time the show was held in San Francisco. Note to AES: I see a trend here. By now, the laundry lists of gear have circulated on the web, been discussed on the MusicPlayer.com forums, and trumpeted by manufacturers hoping to part you from some disposable income. So are we going to give you more of the same? No way. EQ takes you beyond the hype, and covers the trends that will influence the world of audio for the near future.