Here are PSN‘s Top 10 most popular stories of all-time, as ranked by Google Analytics. PSN has merged with Mix over at Mixonline.com; find us there, and also check out the revamped Mix weekday newsletter (get your free subscription at https://bit.ly/3gVh4Gf).
Here are PSN‘s Top-5 most popular articles of 2021so far, as ranked by Google Analytics. PSN has merged with Mix over at Mixonline.com; find us there, and also check out the revamped Mix weekday newsletter (get your free subscription at https://bit.ly/3gVh4Gf).
4. The Lost Treasure of Joe Meek’s Tea Chest Tapes By Steve Harvey. Legendary UK producer Joe Meek left behind nearly 1,900 tapes when he committed suicide in the 1960s. After sitting in storage for 50-plus years, the ‘lost’ tapes are being digitized in a mammoth 18-month project, saving unheard early work by David Bowie, Ray Davies, Ritchie Blackmore, Marc Bolan, Steve Marriott, Gene Vincent and more.
PSN and Mix are merging. We are combining both iconic pro-audio news brands, bringing together the best features of each under the Mix name.
Starting in July, you’ll find all the great stuff you come here for—our Real-World Reviews, our trademark live sound coverage, industry analysis and more—over at mixonline.com.
To be clear, PRO SOUND NEWS is still bringing you the latest pro-audio coverage, just over at Mix. Same staff, same crucial news, different website and magazine.
PSN subscribers will start receiving Mix with its July, 2021 issue. Since we’re cramming two magazines into one, Mix will be growing in size, giving you even more to read and discover.
Also, starting July 6, the Mix SmartBrief email newsletter will increase to FIVE days a week to add all of PSN‘s coverage. Set up your free subscription now at https://bit.ly/3gVh4Gf so you can keep up on the latest pro audio news.
We’re looking forward to bringing you more of the great content you read PSN for, so we’ll see you in the pages of Mix!
Boston, MA (June 23, 2021)—Avid Technology had a solid first quarter in 2021, despite—and in some ways, due to—the pandemic. The company reported a net income of $4.4 million, a bounce forward after reporting a loss during the same quarter a year earlier; the company’s stock price more than tripled over the intervening 12 months.
“Our Q1 performance was really, really quite strong and the music space has been a large contributor to that,” Avid CEO/president Jeff Rosica told PSN in mid-May, pointing additionally to the late 2019 release of the S1 control surface and late 2020 release of its Carbon interface, as products that beat internal sales projections during the pandemic.
Avid’s first-quarter total revenue increased 9.2% year-over-year, powered in large part by recurring revenue components—which is to say subscriptions to software products like Pro Tools, Sibelius and Media Composer. Q1 saw subscription revenue of $24.9 million, marking a 78.2% year-over-year growth and a net increase of roughly 28,000 paid subscriptions during the quarter.
“Our confidence is growing because we see the end [of the pandemic]—the market’s recovering,” Rosica added. “On one end, you have ‘music at home’—the project studio at home [technology market] has just been going crazy the whole time. It was already strong and the pandemic seems to have only increased the energy there. I think audio post to starting to come back now and is getting pretty strong, and live sound, we’re just starting to see the embers of that start to light up and go, so it’s been pretty good.”
Q: What is your new position, and what does it entail?
A: As the vice president of marketing at Listen Technologies, I lead the marketing team in implementing and executing campaigns to support the Listen brand and relevance in the global marketplace. I also oversee internal and external communications and public relations to ensure a consistent brand persona and work closely with sales and other stakeholders to develop and implement strategic marketing plans to support revenue and business goals.
Q: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
A: I’ve held several marketing positions and learned firsthand the many skills needed for a successful marketing team. I’ve also had the privilege of working on both small and large teams, which has given me the opportunity to challenge myself to grow as a leader.
Q: What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?
A: One important initiative is to share our vision for creating better experiences. At Listen Technologies, we firmly believe that everyone deserves the same great listening experience, and our products help people connect in a variety of environments, including classrooms, medical settings, courtrooms, manufacturing facilities, entertainment venues, on tours and in houses of worship.
Q: What are your short- and long-term goals?
A: One of my short-term goals includes supporting our partners as they rebuild their businesses and look for new ways to use technology to foster safer and better communication. It’s also important to me to share the Listen story of creating better experiences to foster engagement and inclusion. Being included is essential to human connection, and our technology makes it possible for everyone to hear and engage—regardless of whether they have hearing loss, speak a different language, or are having a hard time hearing because of distance, background noise, poor acoustics or face coverings.
Q: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
A: One of the biggest challenges we face is the uncertainty of business as we know it. Finding unique ways to connect and engage with our partners will be instrumental in our success and theirs. We have a great team with great partners and I am sure we will continue to innovate not only our products but the way we do business. We also will continue to deliver outstanding customer experiences.
Chris Regan first entered the pro audio industry in 2004—coincidentally the same year that the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA) was formed. In time, Regan went on to co-found antenna and RF signal distribution accessory manufacturer RF Venue and lead the company as its president. Now his leadership abilities are being applied in a different way, as he began a two-year term as president of PAMA’s Board of Directors in January.
“I joined PAMA in 2018 and was so impressed by the membership and organization,” Regan recalls. “When the opportunity became available to lead the organization and educate more of the pro audio community about PAMA, I jumped on it.”
Regan inherited the role of president from Greg Beebe, director, Professional Audio at Sennheiser, who Regan credits for having “set PAMA on a strong growth track,” and aiding with his own acclimation into the organization. Today, he says, “PAMA is not only a place to learn what’s happening in the market and to network with peers in the industry, it’s also a platform that enables the industry to speak with a common voice on matters of importance for pro audio.”
Naturally, one of those matters of importance is the global pandemic and its effects on the industry. Regan acknowledged it has created “obvious disruptions for live events,” but also noted it has provided massive growth opportunities in market segments like USB microphones, home studio recording equipment, streaming and small outdoor PA systems.
While manufacturers in the organization come from different parts of the industry, they all can share and discuss common issues with other member companies. “We are all going through similar challenges during this pandemic, from supply chain disruptions to rapidly changing consumer demand,” he says. “Being able to discuss these trends with peer companies has been a great resource.”
PAMA hasn’t only looked inwards during the pandemic, however, as it has also reached out, devoting time and resources to help members of the live sound community. “The pandemic brought silence to clubs, halls, theaters, arenas and stadiums worldwide,” says Regan. “It’s not just the performers who are sidelined, but also the engineers and live event crews that make the performances possible. Fortunately, we were in a position to be able to use dedicated funds to help The Roadie Clinic and Crew Nation—two organizations that have been helping live sound professionals affected by the pandemic.”
The organization also contributed to the Audio Engineering Society’s (AES) pandemic-driven fundraising initiatives and has also been finding new ways to aid in the advancement of audio technology, innovation and education. “Most recently, PAMA has been hosting open online meetings featuring guest speakers from the pro-audio industry,” says Regan. “We have had some amazing presentations and Q&A sessions with experienced executives from Sweetwater and ATK Audiotek, as well as leading economists and market researchers presenting valuable insight and industry forecasts.”
Looking to help foster the next generation of industry leaders, PAMA has held student panel discussions on networking opportunities and job searching during a pandemic. Member companies can speak on these panels to introduce pro audio students to opportunities on the manufacturing side of the industry. “There are a lot of brilliant young audio engineers that might not consider roles in manufacturing,” says Regan, “so it’s PAMA’s job to educate them on what those roles look like, how they could benefit and the best ways to pursue those opportunities.”
Furthering its educational mission, PAMA, in partnership with Shure Incorporated, recently launched the Mark Brunner Professional Audio Scholarship to help students worldwide who are pursuing an education in professional audio. “Mark was a long-time Shure executive, PAMA founding member and leading voice in the audio community,” says Regan. “PAMA will be granting the first scholarship later this summer, so we’re thrilled to be honoring our friend Mark’s dedication to education and passion for teaching.”
Conversely, the member companies are also educating themselves: “We’ll be announcing soon PAMA-recommended neutral terminology guidelines collaboratively developed to promote inclusivity in our industry.”
All these efforts by PAMA highlight that while some member companies are fierce competitors in the market, there is great camaraderie within the organization, as well as a shared common goal to move pro audio forward. “The bottom line is we are all in this pro audio industry together,” says Regan, “and we need to work together to grow the market, establish best practices and more.”
Scotts Valley, CA (June 14, 2021)—Universal Audio has acquired the assets of modeling microphone manufacturer Townsend Labs Inc., best known for its TEC award-winning Sphere L22 Microphone System.
As part of the agreement, the Sphere L22 microphone will become a UA product; Townsend Labs founders Chris Townsend and Erik Papp will join the UA team, working to develop future microphone products under the UA brand. Townsend Labs was founded in 2015 by thirteen-year Avid alum and DSP architect Townsend, together with Papp, previously CEO of Summit Audio Inc. In July the following year, the company released its modeling system, Sphere.
It’s not the first time the two companies have been associated with each other—UA has partnered with Townsend Labs since 2017, most notably on the Ocean Way and Bill Putnam Microphone Model Collections for Sphere L22 on the UAD and Apollo platforms. UA will continue to support all of the Sphere L22 system’s current audio platforms, including UAD, AAX DSP, AAX Native, VST, and AU.
“The Sphere L22 microphone is the perfect platform for us,” said Bill Putnam, CEO of Universal Audio. “With UA’s expertise in modeling vintage audio gear, and Townsend’s industry-leading mic modeling technology, we’re poised to bring customers significant innovations in this fast-growing segment of the pro audio industry.”
Laguna Hills, CA (June 14, 2021)—As the live events and touring industry awakens from its slumber in fits and starts, one of the most pressing—and undefined—concerns facing production professionals at all levels is safety going forward. A new white paper, “Reopening Live Events Safely: An Industry View,” explores that topic and the varied approaches to ensuring the safety and well-being of industry workers.
The publication of the new white paper by industry insurance specialist Take1 follows a recent announcement that Take1, in partnership with Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions and the Event Safety Alliance, will provide free Event Safety Access Training to professionals returning to work after more than a year of being sidelined because of the Covid pandemic. As Take1 Insurance vice president and program director Scott Carroll put it, “Together with our partners, we are doing everything possible to help shake off the rust and get our industry back to work safely.”
Carroll noted, “Even as we start to recover, the workforce totaled 190,000 in February 2021. When will it return to pre-COVID numbers? Even with steady growth, not before 2022, if then. Many experienced workers will not be returning. They were forced to seek alternate employment and have moved on with their lives.”
With all this upheaval, the live events workforce, particularly technical workers, face enormous challenges.
1) The pool of experienced workers has shrunk dramatically. Many are financially stressed after a year of turmoil as well as professionally “rusty” and in need of refresher training as the industry gets back up to speed.
2) Many new workers are entering the pool without any training or experience, especially when it comes to safety on the jobsite. Their inexperience can create risk.
The new white paper discusses strategies to go back to work, while managing risk. While there are many strategies to consider, the most crucial is safety. The white paper features industry experts, including production professionals, underwriters, brokers, and safety specialists, to better understand what it will really take to get back to work safely.
Montreal, Canada (June 11, 2021)—Digital audio service company LANDR has acquired UK software developer Synchro Arts, which produces the VocAlign and Revoice Pro plug-ins.
While best-known for its AI-based mastering software, LANDR also offers a music distribution service, a samples marketplace, a plug-in store and a marketplace for hiring producers, engineers and promoters, as well as a video chat software that streams high quality audio from the DAW. Synchro Arts’s plug-ins will be added to LANDR’s product catalog, but will remain available at typical plug-in retailers. The products will eventually be available through LANDR’s plug-ins store as well, but no specificdate is currently available.
The Synchro Arts team, based in the UK, will be integrated into the global LANDR team, but will continue to be responsible for the development and evolution of the existing product lines, which LANDR has no plans to make changes to.
Founded in 1994, Synchro Arts produces its VocAlign plug-in, used worldwide, and its Academy Award-winning Revoice Pro software can likewise be found in professional music, TV and film studios globally.
“This deal is a natural fit,” said Pascal Pilon, CEO and co-founder of LANDR. “Vocal processing is a key piece of the music creation process, and with Synchro Arts, we have added world-class technology to our platform and world-class individuals to our team.”
“To be joining forces with the talented LANDR team opens up fantastic opportunities for us,” added Jeff Bloom, CEO and founder of Synchro Arts. “We are all very excited by their vision and interest in incorporating much more of the audio processing technology we’ve been developing over 26 years into new, jointly developed applications.”
While the VocAlign and Revoice products will continue to be developed and maintained on their own, LANDR also has other plans for the underlying technology. “We’re working on something really exciting that will bring the magic of what Synchro Arts has accomplished to a whole new audience,” said Pilon.
“Music has always been part of my life,” says Philippe Depallens, vice president and general manager of Ultimate Ears Pro. Music and the fundamental understanding of its importance—emotionally, culturally and economically—was always present in the small Swiss city where he grew up, as it was home to the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. Great artists from around the world would travel there to create intimate musical moments for rapturous audiences. Perhaps it was only appropriate then that years later, Depallens would champion Ultimate Ears Pro’s in-ear monitors (IEMs)—products intended to both help musicians create those live moments, and imbue even casual listeners with that same sense of aural intimacy.
Fascinated tinkering with audio gear at a young age, Depallens went on to apprentice in electrical engineering before eventually earning an engineering degree and heading overseas. “Moving to the U.S. right after school continued my exposure to the diversity and richness of a global perspective,” he feels. While he joined Logitech—itself a Swiss entity—in the 1990s, it wasn’t until the consumer electronics powerhouse acquired Ultimate Ears in 2008 that Depallens finally began working in pro audio.
“When I joined Ultimate Ears Pro, I was able to combine my passion for music, my engineering knowledge and everything that I had previously learned at Logitech about creating meaningful and impactful experiences around our products,” he says today. “This was well before the global headphone revolution was underway, and way before the dominance of true wireless. Actually, this was during the early stages of the smartphone, when everyone was predicting the imminent death of the PC. I volunteered to oversee the acquisition because I knew that I could retain Ultimate Ears’ pro-audio roots and heritage while helping commercialize the core in-ear technology that is now ubiquitous today.”
Since then, both Depallens and Ultimate Ears Pro have re-envisioned the company’s approach to custom IEMs; whereas once it focused almost exclusively on product specs, today, the brand takes a larger view of the customer experience, and has put considerable effort into simplifying and accelerating the customization process. Early on, that meant creating mobile demo stations that allowed users to discover their preferred sound signature. Later, the company pioneered 3D scanning and 3D printing for custom in-ears—a move that reduced lead times from weeks to days. All the while, Ultimate Ears Pro continued to evolve its product designs based on user feedback, aiming to make its in-ears as reliable and sweatproof as possible.
With Ultimate Ears Pro well-established in the live sound industry, Depallens looked to put that brand awareness to use. “We fostered very different types of partnerships to expand the market and to cater to the needs of more pro audio segments,” he recalls. “We were the first to partner with Capitol Studios to address the needs of recording engineers. Inevitably, we helped expand the idea that in-ears are for everyone, not just for top touring musicians.”
Of course, bringing a product to “everyone” means being accessible to them; in that regard, Depallens notes, “We are lucky to be based in Southern California, very close to our customers and partners; that helps us stay grounded and connected. We also have the luxury of being part of Logitech, a multinational team with a huge global footprint that provides access to technology, engineering capability and operational competencies around the globe. By combining these two aspects, we are able to organize around obsessing over the customer and their experiences, no matter where they are located.”
The latest result of the company’s fixation is its new UE FITS true wireless instant fit custom earbuds line for consumers, which Depallens cites as an example of the brand’s focus on continuous process improvement. Meanwhile, for pros, the company now offers a line of premium UE CSX custom-made earphones that include an at-home Fit Kit to capture the user’s earprint in a few minutes. Taking custom-fitting processes created for pro IEMs and adapting them to a consumer experience for the UE FITS and CSX lines is part of a larger remit to ultimately help raise the bar—and consumer expectations—for all listeners when it comes to in-ear audio experiences. “Just like how Mercedes invests in Formula One to push the limits of performance, safety and technological advancement for all cars, we see a very clear parallel in what we do for experiencing music,” says Depallens. “The developments pioneered onstage radiate out for all music lovers.”