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Sound Devices Joins Audiotonix Group


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Chessington October 14th, 2021 — Audiotonix, the group which comprises the Allen & Heath, Calrec, DiGiCo, DiGiGrid, Group One Limited, KLANG:technologies, and Solid State Logic entertainment technology brands, announces the acquisition of US-based Sound Devices LLC as part of its expanding group. The transaction, which was concluded today, further extends the Audiotonix professional solutions for audio production environments.

 

Whoah some big news here from Sound Devices today.

What did you think people?

 

Full read: https://www.sounddevices.com/sound-devices-joins-audiotonix-group/

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Wow, that seems like a big change.  I wonder if strategically they are thinking with this move they'll have more purchasing / manufacturing power?  Ever since the MixPre series was announced, seems like they've been making moves to increase market share beyond just the pro's and into the prosumer / lower end market too.  All conjecture, mind you...

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The SD guys built a really successful company, in terms of industry acceptance and the high regard professional sound people hold their products in.  It seems like most small companies eventually sell out to conglomerates, for many reasons we could all think of.  I'm pretty sure the SD guys made keeping their current level of quality, innovation and service part of the deal, and the other brands Audiotonix owns are pretty high-end.  What will now get made (and serviced) where we'll have to wait for them to tell us--I hope they keep as much of that as possible in the USA!  In any case I wish them well and Jon Tatooles Godspeed!

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I can't lie, I do have my concerns.  We've all seen it numerous times, when small(er) successful manufacturer gets bought up by conglomerates, things often change.   And not always for the better...

 

*Cough, cough, VITEC, cough, cough*  

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I hope sales and manufacturing stay in Reedsburg, WI. Great people there. They are not setup for visitors but they have allowed me in twice. Including for an emergency repair.

All my best to the SD employees. I hope you get to stay on.

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Curious to see what the acquisition will do for product development. The rest of the Audiotonix group has high end, installation big stuff, SD has high end, location 'small' stuff - how will all these IPs coexist, develop and merge? SD's own acquisition of Audio Ltd put new products into the market quite quickly.

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The fact that this Audiotonix group has no (apparent) experience in the Film industry makes it even more worrying.

I really do not understand these kind of move, but I guess SD has good reasons because they were not having business issue asaik ?

Along with PMC, wishing the best to SD employees!

 

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My sense is that this could be really good. Especially for parts and financing. If SD doesn't need to spend time on that sort of thing, they can spend more time developing products and supporting gear (or more darkly, just returning more profits to their new owners). And as SD continues to reach into music-industry retailers such as Sweetwater rather than "just" their original location-sound dealers such as Trew, Gotham, and Pinknoise, being a part of Audiotronix could help.

 

Here's something from the press release attributed to Matt Anderson of SD: "In a way, it will be ‘business as usual’ at Sound Devices, as we will carry on doing the same thing we’ve been doing for the past 23 years: focusing intensely on making the best sound products we can. However, the Audiotonix group brings us more strength in terms of access to capital, depth in manufacturing, knowledge in engineering, sourcing of parts, and expanding our sales and marketing expertise."

Audiotronix recently bought Austrian Audio. [That's wrong. Audiotronix distributes Austrian Audio, but doesn't own them. So the rest of this paragraph is less relevant, but perhaps not completely irrelevant. --jim] After AKG got bought by Harman, they dropped lots/all of AKG's Austrian employees. So those people started Austrian Audio. Their mics and headphones are supposed to be cool. And AFAIK, the original engineering and other core team members are still running that. I think they're now smaller than SD, I think, but the apparent "carry on" appoach it's a good sign. 

And Allen & Heath had their ill-fated reach into headphones a few years ago. I don't know if that was before or after Audiotronix bought them, but it's an experience in the company about the downside of stretching brands too far. That too will be a good lesson for SD.

Also the way Audiotronix's SSL has reached into the home/project studio is pretty cool, imo. And Allen & Heath has experience with the low and midrange boards (I regularly work on their Qu-series mixers and like them)... So maybe we'll see some more-affordable control surfaces for SD's 8-series and MixPre recorders. That'd be cool.

Also, not much we can do about it but wait and see. And hope for the best.

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There's two reasons I can think of to be acquired; Short on capital and need to be rescued; owners want to retire or cash-in on company value. I suspect the latter. Founders Matt Anderson and Jon Tatooles have been at it for some 23 years.

 

Best wishes to everyone at Sound Devices.

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5 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:



And Allen & Heath had their ill-fated reach into headphones a few years ago. I don't know if that was before or after Audiotronix bought them, but it's an experience in the company about the downside of stretching brands too far. That too will be a good lesson for SD.

Also, not much we can do about it but wait and see. And hope for the best.

 

They offered headphones when they were owned by D&M Holdings, which is consistent with the recent sprouting of OEM stuff under the Marantz name.

 

But I think A&H are pretty well focused now. Hey, this picture might have been prophetic!

 

 

CB92A484-BF4A-4C4E-A97A-FCB3D23F172E.jpeg

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1 minute ago, borjam said:

 

They offered headphones when they were owned by D&M Holdings, which is consistent with the recent sprouting of OEM stuff under the Marantz name.

As much as I like my Marantz 2230 hifi and my recent Marantz home theater amp, they've really gone bonkers on licensing that name out.  There's a Marantz boom pole now even!

image.png

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1 hour ago, borjam said:

 

They offered headphones when they were owned by D&M Holdings, which is consistent with the recent sprouting of OEM stuff under the Marantz name.

 

But I think A&H are pretty well focused now. Hey, this picture might have been prophetic!

 

Thanks. My main/only interaction with A&H has been with their mixers. I'm on their Qu-series boards fairly regularly... for small FOH, they sound decent and are fairly workable (and no more quirky than similar mid/low-level boards).

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I think this could be a good thing, if they benefit from the other companies under the Audiotonix wing. Like SSL. They could build a really cool controller for the 8-series, for example. 
 

Still, I tend to worry when such a move happens, but then again when Transvideo bought Aaton they didn’t just rescue them, they really revived them, so it can work out well

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I just hope that they don’t continue to make location sound more of a consumer hobby like we saw with music recording in the early 2000s. A good way to destroy an industry for corporate profits. 

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15 hours ago, codyman said:

As much as I like my Marantz 2230 hifi and my recent Marantz home theater amp, they've really gone bonkers on licensing that name out.  There's a Marantz boom pole now even!

image.png

I actually have one. While not the best, it does get the job done!

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15 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

Thanks. My main/only interaction with A&H has been with their mixers. I'm on their Qu-series boards fairly regularly... for small FOH, they sound decent and are fairly workable (and no more quirky than similar mid/low-level boards).

 

The shot taken last week shows my trusty MixWizard3 14:4:2 in action :) 

 

And, by the way, I suffered a hard to debug quirk with it! An ailing Macbook Pro power supply was making an audio interface restart. The interface was connected to the mixer's direct outs in order to record, and the continuous restarting induced some interference through the direct outs which are not fully buffered ("impedance balanced"). It was crazy until I found out with the audience already sitting down!

 

Other than that I really like it and I think it is much better than the Mackie we have been using so far.

 

I don't see A&H, SSL or DiGiCO adding toasters to their line up so I imagine it will be fine!

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5 minutes ago, Dalton Patterson said:

I just got an SSL 2 USB-C. It's no 4k but it's got a 4k button! Sounds crispy for a $200 interface. I agree with Borjam this will probably not bring down the perceived value, and might bring some goodies!

Well they certainly run the spectrum over there now.  Some products $200, some products $106,000.

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On 10/16/2021 at 12:49 PM, JonG said:

I just hope that they don’t continue to make location sound more of a consumer hobby like we saw with music recording in the early 2000s. A good way to destroy an industry for corporate profits. 

 

Behringer cracked the Stradivarius secret and now they are flooding the market with $100 Behringarius violins.

 

Imagine how many briliant violinists you can find now! ;)

 

(I wasted a good April Fools Day joke!)

 

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