This photo montage highlights
some of Ashly Audio’s products
over the past 35 years.Webster, NY (July 13, 2009)–Ashly Audio is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Central to the history of Ashly Audio is Billy Thompson, the engineer who, in 1974, inspired the five owner/operators of a struggling live sound company to redirect their talents toward the production of live sound equipment.
According to the company, it was Thompson’s passion for designing and building processors and amplifiers that helped to cement Ashly’s reputation in both the fixed installation and live sound markets. And it was Thompson’s prescience that moved Ashly into the digital revolution, where its current array of network-ready products provide solutions for the modern integrator.
Ashly started by building custom consoles for friends in live sound. As no two were ever the same, it was a somewhat precarious way to run a business. Then in 1976, Ashly introduced the rack-mount SC-66 stereo parametric equalizer, and soon after, the GQ series, forerunner to Ashly’s contemporary line of GQX and MQX graphic equalizers.
Thompson reflected, “Instead of starting with preconceived ideas, I approached a problem and puttered with it until it sounded right.” Sometimes that made for long development times, as with the SC-50 compressor/limiter. He continued, “The SC-50 took three years of head-scratching, but it was worth it. It is an amazingly musical compressor and is still sought after by collectors.”
As the sun set on the 1970s, Thompson again turned his attention to power amplifiers. But by the early 1980s, MOS-FET transistor technology had matured and it seemed like an ideal alternative to standard transistor technology. Excited by the possibilities, Thompson designed the Ashly series of FET amps. In the mid 1980s, he started tinkering with digital processors. The company introduced the Protea series of digital signal processors in the late 1990s.
But Ashly recognized that the digital revolution is about much more than fancy filtering algorithms. Networking and control of audio systems form an increasingly essential component of modern installations. In the age of connectivity, every component must work together and be instantly accessible from either local or global command locations. That’s why Ashly now offers “network-enabled” amplifiers and processors that interconnect with the rest of the digital world via standard 10/100 Ethernet.
Dave Parse, current president of Ashly Audio, said, “Our people are driven by the passion to produce the best possible product that we can. Our percent to total failure rate is miniscule, likely the best in industry, but when something does go wrong, we make sure it gets fixed immediately. No one takes care of their customers better than Ashly.”