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Sound Devices acquires Audio, wow!

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Just saw this on FB too. Even more competition for Zax when it comes to fully integrated bag setups, which is always good. It’ll be interesting to see the products that come down the pipe in the next few years! 

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Maybe, this is the first time in history of production sound industry, someone buys other company in that scale. Let's see what the future will bring! 

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46 minutes ago, LarryF said:

We make one little tiny recorder....

 

Hey I’d give you guys a shot if you made a larger recorder.  There’s still missing a good 3 channel mixer (1 pre 2 line) / 4 channel recorder which accounts for a good portion of my smaller jobs.  (Having an SR slot and nice digital IEM system built in would be a bonus).  I absolutely love sound devices as a company but I have a pretty stringent requirement in the gear that I use - for me, must have sunlight readable screen / meters, which means the last (major) sound devices product I purchased is a 442 and still use occasionally to this day.  Every time I look at a modern SD mixpre or 6 series unit, the outdoor unfriendly LCD screen eliminates them as a candidate.

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I am not entirely thrilled by these news. It was kind of cool that Sound Devices tried to create a standard for slot-in receivers with their Super-Slot protocol. They were an innocent by-stander, so to speak, a neutral party to all the wireless competition. That worked well for the standardization I think. But now they are the competition and so others may be less thrilled to build gear for a competitors product. 

Also, generally speaking, I believe it’s better for a company to concentrate on one type of product and be good at it. 

To that end, now that SD has already bought Audio, I hope that Lectro will NOT build a larger recorder. 

 

As a side note: what does this mean for the recording capabilities of the A10 transmitter? If I understood Larry correctly (elsewhere) they cannot sell a recording transmitter even outside the US, as they are a US company and bound by Zax‘s patent. Audio Ltd so far weren’t, outside the US. Does this change now? If yes, I may need to buy up all stock of A10‘s...

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16 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I am not entirely thrilled by these news. It was kind of cool that Sound Devices tried to create a standard for slot-in receivers with their Super-Slot protocol. They were an innocent by-stander, so to speak, a neutral party to all the wireless competition. That worked well for the standardization I think. But now they are the competition and so others may be less thrilled to build gear for a competitors product. 

Also, generally speaking, I believe it’s better for a company to concentrate on one type of product and be good at it.

...

I can understand the sentiment, but I do note there are a few forces at play here:

1) prices of good gear is dropping - partly to do with companies like Zoom, for example, introducing accessible professional level equipment, and a shift from traditional narrative filmmaking to the mass of television programming and non-traditional narrative productions.  (this shift has already mostly happened but is continuing and changing along with the times).

2) our expectations are rising - we want our equipment to do more, have remote control, to have back up recordings, IFB / utility sends, be smaller, be lighter, be as rugged as the gear before it was...

 

When I first started out I needed to buy the biggest mixer / recorder that I think I might have needed for a couple years out.  Now I want to have ready to go kits that are configured as 3 channel, 4-8 channel, and cart.  I don't want to have to reconfigure gear outside of plugging in slot receivers or modules, just grab and go, and don't feel the traditional sound bag is the ideal form factor either.  If I had any love at all for Zaxcom ENG recorders and they had built in QRX receiver modules, I would have been all in the Zaxcom camp.  If Sound Devices' merger allows them to make a recorder with integrated wireless features, I'll be all in on that product (in Hawaii I demand to be able to see the screen / meters in the worst case scenario near-equatorial sun - I do spend a lot of 12 hour days hiking rough terrain or spending all day on the beach).  Hell, if Lectro wants to give it a go and makes my 4-channel recorder with SR slot and Duet IEM, I'd buy that.  At the end of the day, close cooperation or owning the technology will help manufacturers achieve this goal of advanced integration, so I'm not necessarily for big mergers, but on the other hand can't help but to be excited to see what develops out of it.

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It sounds like from the announcement that Sound Devices and Audio Ltd will remain as 2 separate companies. They state that the headquarters for Audio will remain overseas along with their directors. I would imagine that allows them to still have recording transmitters.

 

However, I could also be completely wrong.

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11 hours ago, LarryF said:

We make one little tiny recorder....


Are you hinting a bigger one is coming? ;-)

 

7 hours ago, Constantin said:

I am not entirely thrilled by these news. It was kind of cool that Sound Devices tried to create a standard for slot-in receivers with their Super-Slot protocol. They were an innocent by-stander, so to speak, a neutral party to all the wireless competition. That worked well for the standardization I think. But now they are the competition and so others may be less thrilled to build gear for a competitors product. 


I agree, this is the biggest risk of this announcement (that I feel is otherwise good news for the overall industry? But not their competitors perhaps!). 

 

There is a danger companies will make a "standardization" play better with their own products than the competitors.

Perhaps Sound Devices could hand over the rights for Superslot to an independent body? That would go a long way to cementing Superslot as an industry standard. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Constantin said:

Also, generally speaking, I believe it’s better for a company to concentrate on one type of product and be good at it. 

 


I disagree, the future is a fusion of more and more tech together (just look at our smartphones! Combining dozens of functions that were independent of each other not that many years ago. Or within our own industry, the fusion of recorders are mixers rather than always buying separate pieces of hardware). And companies which have a broad range of talents will do this better.

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I was trying to translate that "move" from Sound Devices. It's a really smart strategic move.

Leave the "wireless" story in the corner for one minute.

 

Sound Devices they have two offices in EU. One in Berlin and one in UK.

My first question: Does that mean UK office will provide service support?

My second question: Does that mean UK office will become a distributor and the other partners will become resellers?

This is a good news for UK market. Sound Devices they don't sell only 633 or 688, but also video products (which is a bigger market).

 

In terms of wireless story: The guys at Sound Devices are not fools. Of course will continue to support other wireless brands. I am not expecting something new in professional territory for 2 or 3 years from now. They already have the new A10 line. Maybe, we will see a wireless system in prosumer territory; like MixPre-3 / MixPre-6 product line. The competition here is high; Sennheiser G4, Sony UWP-D etc.

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16 hours ago, Constantin said:

As a side note: what does this mean for the recording capabilities of the A10 transmitter? If I understood Larry correctly (elsewhere) they cannot sell a recording transmitter even outside the US, as they are a US company and bound by Zax‘s patent. Audio Ltd so far weren’t, outside the US. Does this change now? If yes, I may need to buy up all stock of A10‘s...

 

The Zaxcom pattent is only valid in the US and the A10 transmitters shipped there will have the feature disabled via firmware. Audio Ltd will still opperate as Audio Ltd on UK soil and be kept as a seperate entity. As the products we are shipping to our customers here in the UK have the record feature enabled I would assume that the pattent is still un-enforcable against them and Audio Ltd have not informed us otherwise for anywhere else in Europe either.

 

There is nothing stopping anyone flying abroad to buy them ouside of the US with the record feature though and bringing them back.

3 minutes ago, VAS said:

Sound Devices they have two offices in EU. One in Berlin and one in UK.

My first question: Does that mean UK office will provide service support?

My second question: Does that mean UK office will become a distributor and the other partners will become resellers?

This is a good news for UK market. Sound Devices they don't sell only 633 or 688, but also video products (which is a bigger market).

 

Shure Distribution used to be the distributor of Sound Devices but that has now been taken over by Audio Ltd, nothing else in regards to resellers has changed since.

 

As far as I am aware all UK Sound Devices repairs have to still be shipped to Germany for the service though but I am curious if they will now be providing services and repairs on Audio Ltd products.

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On 2/14/2018 at 2:51 AM, Mungo said:

They're becoming a little too mighty... 

 

Sound Devices seem to have gone away from expensive specialty products, with little profit margin, for a small market to a more profit-driven model of high end pro-sumer products.

 

While I am thrilled they have found a way to become more successful as a company, I don't really expect them to continue to service the high-end production sound recording market. It's very disappointing for me.

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2 hours ago, RPSharman said:

 

Sound Devices seem to have gone away from expensive specialty products, with little profit margin, for a small market to a more profit-driven model of high end pro-sumer products.

 

While I am thrilled they have found a way to become more successful as a company, I don't really expect them to continue to service the high-end production sound recording market. It's very disappointing for me.

I too am VERY disappointed  in general with the partnership..On top of that,  If that IS the case...  moving more consumer based...I am not happy at all...

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1 hour ago, RPSharman said:

 

Sound Devices seem to have gone away from expensive specialty products, with little profit margin, for a small market to a more profit-driven model of high end pro-sumer products.

 

While I am thrilled they have found a way to become more successful as a company, I don't really expect them to continue to service the high-end production sound recording market. It's very disappointing for me.

 

Speculation.

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On 2/13/2018 at 2:04 PM, Tom Visser said:

I can understand the sentiment, but I do note there are a few forces at play here:

1) prices of good gear is dropping - partly to do with companies like Zoom, for example, introducing accessible professional level equipment, and a shift from traditional narrative filmmaking to the mass of television programming and non-traditional narrative productions.  (this shift has already mostly happened but is continuing and changing along with the times).

2) our expectations are rising - we want our equipment to do more, have remote control, to have back up recordings, IFB / utility sends, be smaller, be lighter, be as rugged as the gear before it was...

 

When I first started out I needed to buy the biggest mixer / recorder that I think I might have needed for a couple years out.  Now I want to have ready to go kits that are configured as 3 channel, 4-8 channel, and cart.  I don't want to have to reconfigure gear outside of plugging in slot receivers or modules, just grab and go, and don't feel the traditional sound bag is the ideal form factor either.  If I had any love at all for Zaxcom ENG recorders and they had built in QRX receiver modules, I would have been all in the Zaxcom camp.  If Sound Devices' merger allows them to make a recorder with integrated wireless features, I'll be all in on that product (in Hawaii I demand to be able to see the screen / meters in the worst case scenario near-equatorial sun - I do spend a lot of 12 hour days hiking rough terrain or spending all day on the beach).  Hell, if Lectro wants to give it a go and makes my 4-channel recorder with SR slot and Duet IEM, I'd buy that.  At the end of the day, close cooperation or owning the technology will help manufacturers achieve this goal of advanced integration, so I'm not necessarily for big mergers, but on the other hand can't help but to be excited to see what develops out of it.

Zoom is making "professional level equipment" Ha, ha, ha, wee, Good one.

2 hours ago, Mirror said:

 

Speculation.

Mirror, And it is speculation that drives the market. 

Sincerely,  Martin

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2 minutes ago, MartinTheMixer said:

Zoom is making "professional level equipment"?

 

Let's not start here; again, this discussion. Please.

We have already discussed this over two years.

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Just now, VAS said:

 

Let's not start here; again, this discussion. Please.

We have already discussed this over two years.

Sorry, I will go fix my post. Thank you, Martin

2 minutes ago, MartinTheMixer said:

Sorry, I will go fix my post. Thank you, Martin

I have changed my  comment into the form of a statement instead of a question,  so as not to further the discussion about zoom products that the other member started.

Thank you, Martin

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4 hours ago, RPSharman said:

 

Sound Devices seem to have gone away from expensive specialty products, with little profit margin, for a small market to a more profit-driven model of high end pro-sumer products.

 

While I am thrilled they have found a way to become more successful as a company, I don't really expect them to continue to service the high-end production sound recording market. It's very disappointing for me.

 

I generally had the same worry about SD. However, the acquisition of Audio Ltd., while I’m not happy about it for other reasons, to me seems to point in another direction. They are a maker of high end wireless products with no real lower end system. They could go the Rode way of course and buy expensive tech only to re-package it into cheap(er) products. That would be awful. They could also build a high(er) end recorder with integrated wireless. I would hate it, but it‘d be new and interesting for some. 

 

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