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Avids Euphonix Buy Sets Industry Abuzz

by Mel Lambert. Las Vegas (April 21, 2910)--News announced at the recent NAB2010 Convention in Las Vegas that Avid was planning to purchase Euphonix generated substantial discussion and speculation among attendees and fellow exhibitors.

Kerry Rose, Applications Specialist, Pro Audio
Americas Sales demos Pro Tools|LE running
on a Mac laptop, controlled by Euphonix
Artist Series controllers at Avid’s NAB Mel Lambert.

Las Vegas (April 21, 2910)–News announced at the recent NAB2010 Convention in Las Vegas that Avid was planning to purchase Euphonix generated substantial discussion and speculation among attendees and fellow exhibitors.

Avid says that the acquisition will result in a broader range of workstation control surfaces and consoles for broadcast, film/video post-production and music-recording facilities. The company will continue to offer both Euphonix control surfaces and its existing Command 8 and C|24 controllers, plus ICON recording/post and VENUE live-sound digital consoles. The financial terms of the agreement were not revealed.

“[The news] came as a big surprise,” says Tino Fibaek, Fairlight’s chief technical officer and operations director. “But, in many ways, the Euphonix acquisition makes prefect sense. Avid’s ICON Series DAW control surfaces, while popular in music recording, film and video post, do not appear to have been widely adopted by the on-air broadcast community. Which makes the Euphonix Max-Air [assignable] console an obvious good fit for the Avid product line. And in the entry-level audio- and video-control segments, the EuCon-savvy Artist Series represent viable solutions that currently Avid does not offer.”

“While Euphonix has a strong customer base,” concedes Calrec managing director, Roger Henderson, “we do not find System 5 to be directly competitive to our high-end Apollo consoles. On the one hand we are concerned, of course, that Avid is able to provide muscle to one of our competitors but, on the other hand, we wonder if very-large-format broadcast consoles form part of Avid’s long-term strategy.”

The acquisition “makes perfect sense,” says Andrew Wild, Euphonix VP of marketing. “Avid’s commitment to support the EuCon protocol will provide direct connectivity from our control surfaces to Pro Tools and Media Composer; this is a huge step forward.” Currently, Euphonix uses the slower and less sophisticated HUI protocol co-developed by Mackie and Digidesign to control Pro Tools workstations. “It’s the best thing that could have happened to [us] and our customers.” Avid will continue to work with third-party EuCon partners, including DAW manufacturers Apple, Steinberg, MOTU and Merging Technologies.

“We are embracing open platforms,” states Tony Cariddi, Avid’s marketing manager of professional, government and commercial segments. “There is increasing convergence in audio and video workflows; EuCon will be a great vehicle to facilitate these workflows by enabling control of video products from our audio control surfaces and vice versa, which is part of Avid’s long-term strategy. We do not foresee much overlap between our ICON Series and the Euphonix System 5 post/broadcast console, which will extend our competitive offerings; the Artist Series [of small control surfaces] will represent a natural addition to Avid’s product line, with its current acceptance among both audio and video users.”

In addition to continuing to support EuCon for existing Euphonix customers, Avid plans to further develop an open-standard protocol that expands compatibility between Euphonix control surfaces and a range of Avid and third-party audio and video applications, including Media Composer and Pro Tools. Currently, EuCon is made available free-of-charge to any third-party developer that wants provide enhanced control of a wide range of EuCon-complaint applications.

“This acquisition greatly expands our portfolio to offer customers a complementary set of workflow solutions [including] broadcasters,” concludes Avid chairman/CEO Gary Greenfield. “We remain committed to driving interoperability and modularity across Avid and third-party creative hardware/software solutions. As audio and video workflows continue to converge, we are positioned to deliver control surfaces that work across both audio and video applications, making the content creation process more cost-effective and efficient.” The Avid/Euphonix transaction is expected to be completed by the end of April. Avid has confirmed that Euphonix’ existing sales and marketing operations will remain in place for the foreseeable future and that all current sales and support channels are to be maintained. While the close proximity of Avid’s West Coast HQ and Euphonix’ corporate offices have fueled speculation on economies of scale that may result from future integration of operations, no details are currently available.

Former magazine editor Mel Lambert currently heads up Media&Marketing, a full-service consulting service for pro-audio firms and facilities.