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Rusty Waite: in good company

Swapping channel strips for chain hoists, Rusty Waite has taken on a major role with EAW. The console champion would like to introduce PSNEurope to his new progeny Anya, too

For his generous network of industry trustees, no international trade show feels complete without at least some time spent in the company of Rusty Waite (Russell to his mom), now embarking upon the latest chapter of his globetrotting career. As he settles into leading EAW’s sales drive into a new era of domestic production and high-end challenge, it’s time for some reflection on resettling on the East Coast, moving from console to speaker manufacture, his formative time in Europe and simply doing what he does best – keeping that network well tuned and convivially engaged. Have you noticed yet that there are no faders on a speaker cabinet? I’ve worked that out! Yes, it’s new territory for me – I was further up the processing chain before, with AMS Neve, Euphonix and Stagetec – and there’s a lot to take in. But over the past year I’ve been doing a lot of theatre sound design, and I know what I want to get out of loudspeakers in a performance arena. After I parted company with Stagetec I had time to share my daughter’s enthusiasm for musical theatre – she’s with the Peninsula Youth Theatre in Mountain View, California, which is a really professional set-up. As a sound engineer by trade I just had to get involved, bought a couple of small digital consoles and managed to raise the audio quality to another level. Looking back, I guess in a way it was building up towards this kind of position. How does it suit you? This role at EAW is global, and that’s what really attracted me. My time at Euphonix involved taking an American brand and building it into an international force, so this was something I could really sink my teeth into. In fact, I turned down a couple of big opportunities here because they were only US-focused. Developing EAW further as a power across EMEA and Asia too… I feel I can make a difference. And it’s an interesting time for the company… There’s so much happening. Being part of Loud Technologies gives us a major infrastructure to work with, but it’s still about me being a live engineer, a sound designer and an all-round audio guy. I’ve delved into the core technologies at EAW, and I have to say the current portfolio is as strong as it’s ever been. I thought the Anya range would blow me away ­– and it did – but what I didn’t realise was that the rest of the products would blow me away too. My connections with EAW go back to ’93, when it was being distributed by Siemens Austria. I was working for them at the time, based in Vienna, which brought me into contact with the EAW team and enabled me to understand exactly what the brand stood for.
What impresses me now, and what we’re all focused on, is bringing the majority of the manufacturing back into the US, at Whitinsville. All of the custom work is done here now: the era of EAW being a China-based manufacturer belongs to yesterday. The buzz is back and, although products like the QX series and Avalon have sometimes felt like the best-kept secrets in the business, when you actually get people in front them and listening they are consistently knocked out. My job is to get that message back out there. Read the full interview within the free iPad Edition of PSNEurope or via the online Digital Edition.