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23/10/2017

Sounding Good With Glensound

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Glensound Electronics Ltd was established in 1966 by BBC engineer Len Davis, who had left the BBC's Designs department to focus on his own successful PA company full time.

The BBC asked Len to design and manufacture a specialist audio broadcast unit for use at Prince Charles' investiture. This became the first of many custom-designed products Glensound has produced for the BBC and others. Custom designs and solutions have always been a major part of operations, joined now by key lines of award winning, tried and tested products in various areas of the audio broadcast industry. Currently employing 22 people, the company is small and agile enough to disseminate customer feedback quickly throughout the company, from Chief Designer to the newest apprentice. With annual sales in excess of $3 million, Glensound is at the forefront of innovative design and manufacture of quality audio broadcast equipment.

BFV: Whilst your market is largely broadcast, are your audio systems used in other markets?
Glensound: Historically, our core market was always broadcast. We have designed and manufactured a number of bespoke non-broadcast products but these have tended to be very specialised, the more notable ones being all the audio systems in the Lords' and Commons' chambers in Parliament and a special remote control power amplifier fitted in all HSBC UK branches. However, over the last few years, mainly due to our early adoption of Dante™ AoIP, our standard products are finding their way into theatres, churches, universities and stadiums where high quality audio interfaces are required.

Does Glensound offer any other services to its customers; for example, the equipment that would be best suited to their particular needs?
We are a very unusual manufacturer in the fact that we both design and manufacture our own products in our own factories in the UK. Having design and manufacturing expertise in-house allows us to provide both quality advice to customers and also allows us to offer a bespoke design and build service, where a customer can come to us with an audio problem to solve and we can turn this into a finished professional product for them. The other area that we are well known for in the broadcast industry is dry hire of our own equipment. We've built up over many years a very large stock of products to hire and are used to helping both small community radio stations and large corporate clients.

How much does customer feedback shape the company's design brief, such as updates or enhancements to products?
The simple answer is massively. We're brilliant at designing and manufacturing audio products but we rarely actually get to use them. Our customers who do use our products regularly have a much better understanding of what makes a great piece of equipment and what functions/niceties are required as their working environment evolves. Quite frankly, we'd be crazy (and out of a job) if we didn't listen to our customers.

At IBC this year, Glensound demonstrated more AES67 and Dante network solutions. Has the transition to IP and the talk of interoperability impacted the company in any way? Is there a growing demand for more of these solutions?
Definitely. We were an early adopter of Dante™ as we could immediately see the massive advantages of flexibility and ease of use provided by linear audio over standard networks in real time. All our design and development effort over the last three years has gone into network audio and we now have a wide product range of Dante™ and AES67 units. As far as interoperability goes, Dante™ seems to be winning the race. Audinate's (the company behind Dante™) licensing policy means that different manufacturers' products are genuinely interoperable with each other's which is a massive advantage for the end user. AES67, although admirable in its concept, hasn't yet found favour with our end users. We've supplied several thousand network audio devices over the last few years and to my knowledge only two out of the thousands of units that we've manufactured are being used in an AES67 environment, with the rest being used on Dante™ infrastructures. Audio engineers seem to have embraced network audio in a big way over the last few years, with network audio products now making up a large proportion of all our sales, and with customers seemingly happy to invest for the future we currently see no end to the continued fast paced adoption of Dante™. We plan to continue developing cutting edge products around the technology.

www.glensound.co.uk

This article is also available to read in the October edition of Broadcast Film & Video here, page 34.

(JP/LM)
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

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