AllDSP: a European pro-audio brand in its own right6 July 2012
After three years as a ‘pure’ OEM manufacturer, AllDSP is rather excitedly poised on the verge of a new era. Speaking to PSNEurope two months before the CP and PLP series network and loudspeaker management products are due to begin shipping, managing director Jeroen van Waterschoot (pictured) is suitably enthused about the prospect, but stresses that his expectations are “realistically modest! We want to ensure that AllDSP is regarded as a high-performance brand, and that calls for careful and steady progression”.
In truth, “steady progression” has been at the core of van Waterschoot’s philosophy all the way along. Born and raised in Holland, his AV career proper commenced with a lengthy spell at Philips, where he was involved in the development of the first commercially available multi-channel SACD player, the SACD1000, and related prototypes. Subsequently, he went to work in product management for Bosch, before family reasons prompted a relocation to Germany in 2004.
“It was an interesting period and one in which I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do,” he says of this transitional phase. “For a while I got quite involved with the rental business, but it soon became clear that this was not what I was going to do for the rest of my life. However, around this time I was also starting to pay a lot of attention to what was happening in audio DSP, and it dawned on me that there was a lot of potential there.”
After abandoning an initial technology on the grounds that it was “OK for mid-market applications but not entirely sufficient for those at the higher-end”, van Waterschoot started afresh with a new DSP platform in October 2009 – the point at which the AllDSP story really begins. The resulting platform, the AM684, “is able to cater for lower performance loudspeakers right up to those at the high-end. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only OEM DSP developer who can accommodate such a range.”
Although the process of fine-tuning is open-ended, AM684 is increasingly a default choice for some of the world’s leading loudspeaker manufacturers. Not that van Waterschoot can necessarily reveal who they are – anonymity being one of the more problematic aspects of being an OEM. But he can reveal that Funktion One and EM Acoustics are long-term clients, and as for the others, “let’s just say that if you passed through Hall 8 at Prolight + Sound this year, you would have encountered at least 30 of our customers.”
In any case, AllDSP’s profile in its own right is about to receive a significant boost with the introduction of two own-brand product series featuring the aforementioned processing technology. The three CP series devices (CP88, CP26, CP24) are aimed towards general rental applications and a host of installation scenarios, including bars, clubs, convention centres and house of worship. The higher-end PLP428 and PLP226 solutions, meanwhile, have been devised for more demanding rental and install applications, and combine the core CP specification with AVB (Audio/Video Bridging) streaming capability.
Networking, it is clear, looms large in van Waterschoot’s current thinking. Although he acknowledges that rival technologies have their admirers, he believes that the momentum behind AVB is now “undeniable. Plenty of major technology providers are migrating towards it and, in addition, it has appeal to both pro and consumer audio groups. I think we will see more and more movement in favour of low-cost implementations over the next 2-3 years. It’s only a matter of time.”
One might say the same thing about AllDSP’s arrival as a European pro-audio brand in its own right. The recent doubling in size of the company’s manufacturing facility in Hamm confirms the seriousness of its long-term intentions, while core staff numbers are set to increase from 10 to 14 during the next few months. But, for van Waterschoot, pragmatism must remain at the heart of the AllDSP modus operandi.
“We want to progress in small, manageable steps,” he confirms. “The first priority is to get the product out there and make sure that people have positive associations with the brand. Second priority is to establish a distribution network, and we will begin looking for individual country distribution as soon as we have the products in stock. We do want to make an impact, but we’re determined to take our time and do everything properly.”