TSL Products acquired SoundField in September 2012, providing the much needed resources for the British company to expand into hardware and software processing solutions, considered vital for the broadcast market, in particular. At that time, the acquisition allowed TSL Products to complement its audio monitoring portfolio with solutions targeted mainly at broadcast production facilities - the focus of 5.1 surround production being the upmixing from stereo and the downmixing of surround signals to stereo in the most simple and practical way. Four years later, the industry is now evolving into new broadcast standards featuring ambisonic formats, while sound design and audio production is increasingly considering the evolution from channel-based formats to 360-degree surround and objected-based audio. Soundfield multi-capsule surround microphones and software controlled technology are recognized as the pioneering solution and the standard in the field.
Now, RØDE Founder and Managing Director Peter Freedman AM and TSL Products’ Managing Director Chris Exelby signed the agreement, sealing a deal that sees Freedman Electronics take control over the entire SoundField company, including the current product line as well as all IP associated with the iconic brand. The existing product line will continue, and all support and warranty for SoundField products will now be handled through the new entity. TSL Products will retain the upmix/downmix processing product range, which will be rebranded.
RØDE Microphones designs and manufactures all its high-quality microphones and related accessories for studio, live and location use in Sydney, Australia, from where they are exported to over 110 countries globally. The Freedman Electronics Group MD is ecstatic with the purchase. “I’m extremely excited we have added the SoundField product line to the Group,” Peter Freedman said today. “RØDE is a power player in studio and live microphones and the world’s market leader in on-camera mics, so adding a product line like SoundField – with its unique surround sound microphones and applications – to our portfolio is a real step for the Freedman Electronics Group.”
SoundField invented 360-degree surround sound – or ambisonic – audio capture technology in 1978, and remains the premier brand in the world. Today the range includes innovative ambisonic microphones, and systems/apps for broadcast, music and location recording. “The applications for cinema, home theatre, music, gaming and, crucially, the rapidly growing Virtual Reality medium are astounding. SoundField created the technologies that are now benchmark equipment for capturing responsive atmosphere and a stunning sonic world,” added Freedman. “Oculus Rift, Playstation, Google, Samsung, HTC, even Facebook are all exploring and expanding their immersive VR experiences. But, to quote George Lucas, ‘Sound is 50 per cent of the movie-going experience.’ SoundField and RØDE will lead the way with immersive audio capture.”
Chris Exelby, Managing Director, TSL Products, commented, “We’re proud to have brought the revolutionary SoundField microphone and processor range to its current prominence across many sectors, from live sports and broadcast events to music recording, and now to VR. It is fitting that SoundField has now found a new home with one of the world’s most innovative microphone manufacturers, where it can be developed still further, while we at TSL Products focus on our core broadcast business and invest further in the crucial R&D that will lead to the next generation of broadcast control, monitoring and power management solutions.”
TSL Products’ Product Director Pieter Schillebeeckx will be joining The Freedman Electronics Group as New Product Development (NPD) Director in January 2017. He has been working on the SoundField technologies for 16 years and is unarguably a world leader in pro audio product and R&D workflow.
“I’m looking forward to a terrific new challenge,” Schillebeeckx says. “RØDE is simply the envy of the audio industry and, with Peter Freedman’s vision on both product innovation and market strategy, this is a great opportunity to develop new technologies and be part of the ongoing audio revolution that RØDE is building. To be able to live and work in such a beautiful country as Australia is really a bonus.”
“I welcome Peter Schillebeeckx to the RØDE team,” says Freedman. “It’s very exciting that someone so steeped in the SoundField microphone technology and history is enhancing our brains trust.” Further details about the SoundField future at The Freedman Electronics Group will be announced soon.
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