Mountlake Terrace, WA (May 23, 2007)–Symetrix is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The seeds of Symetrix were sown in the imagination of founder Dane Butcher in the early 1970s, while he worked on the East and West coasts as a recording engineer.
Symetrix founder Dane ButcherImmersed in the world of jazz fusion, Butcher worked with members of Return to Forever and helped engineer the world’s first gold instrumental album, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters. The tools of the recording engineer captivated his imagination, and Butcher recognized an opportunity. Where others saw empty rack spaces, Butcher had a vision of high-performance, signal-processing equipment that was, as contradictory as it seemed at the time, affordable.
With only a degree in music from the University of Washington, Butcher took a job working for Greg Mackie at Tapco and learned to design electronics with the ferocity of the truly inspired. In 1976, and only six months after taking the job at Tapco, Butcher started Symetrix in an artist’s loft and former garment factory in the Belltown area of Seattle, WA, less formally known as Skid Row.
A surplus electronic components company was located across the street, and with its parts Butcher manufactured the very first Symetrix product, the SG-1 signal gate, and the company’s subsequent compressors, limiters and phasers. After about two years, the small Symetrix team was able to cast off their odd jobs and devote themselves fully to the company.
In the nearly three decades that followed, Symetrix grew tremendously, not so much in physical size, but in the technological sophistication of its products and in the markets it serves. Consistent with Butcher’s early experience as a recording engineer, Symetrix’s first products were aimed at the studio and live PA markets and enjoyed considerable success there. As the years went on, Butcher and his team developed a knack for finding and fulfilling unmet needs in related markets. One of their early and enduring hits was the 528 voice processor.
According to Butcher, of the company’s four brands (Symetrix, SymNet, Lucid and AirTools), SymNet-the DSP system for contractors–is experiencing the most rapid growth at the moment. “That said, over the last several years, all our brands have been doing very well. And what are our burgeoning markets? Same as for everybody these days–Asia.”
Butcher points out that some of the company’s strengths going forward are, “first and foremost, we invest aggressively in supporting our customers and taking the time to listen to the marketplace. At the same time, we invest aggressively in R&D. In our industry, new product development is not only fun and exciting, it’s a prudent business practice. We don’t spend time looking in the rearview mirror.”