Allen & Heath

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Allen & Heath
Type Subsidiary
Industry Electronics
Headquarters Penryn, Cornwall, England
Products Headphones
Mixing consoles
Parent Electra Partners
Website www.allen-heath.com
Allen & Heath GS3000 in the control room

Allen & Heath (also known as AH or A&H) is a company based in Penryn, Cornwall, England, specialising in the manufacture of audio mixing consoles. Allen & Heath also makes sound management systems for industrial installations and DJ mixers for nightclubs. Allen & Heath is now part of Electra Partners.

History[edit]

Founded in 1969,[1] the company became more widely known after involvement by Andy Bereza, Ivor Taylor, and Andrew Stirling.[2]

In the early 1970s Allen & Heath built a custom quadraphonic mixing console for the band Pink Floyd, the MOD1, which was used by Alan Parsons to mix their live performances. The MOD1 can be seen in their movie "Live at Pompeii".[3]

Allen & Heath was acquired by Harman International in 1991. By 2001 the manufacturer's turnover has increased tenfold.[4]

In July 2001 there was a management buyout of the company with investment coming from 3i and Bank of Scotland. The board consisted of the four then current directors, plus two non-executive directors from its investment partners.[4]

In March 2006 Close Growth Capital brought 3i's share for £9m in a secondary buyout. The company then employed 180 people with a turnover of £15 million.[5]

In April 2008, A&H was sold to D&M Holdings Inc who made an unsolicited offer. They made the bid as they wanted a successful professional audio brand to complement their portfolio of sound related activities. A&H's profit was up 40% compared to 2006.[6]

In June 2013, D&M Holdings sold Allen & Heath to private equity firm, Electra Partners. £43 million of equity and debt was provided by Electra Private Equity PLC and Allen & Heath's management.

Innovations[edit]

Allen & Heath was the first manufacture to mount pots and switches on the input channel circuit board. These were the first modular mixers where sub-systems could be replaced as a unit. Allen & Heath was the first company to make a small mixer, a 6 channel, 2 output transistorised mixer called the MiniMixer. The Allen & Heath Syncron A mixer was the first to use op-amps. The Allen & Heath CMC console was the first console to use a microprocessor to integrate MIDI capabilities with a mixer. The GL2 console combined Front of House (FOH) and stage monitor functionality into a single mixer, what is called a "dual function" mixer.[7]

Products[edit]

Allen & Heath's analogue pro audio mixer product line starts from a compact 12 channel size up to well-equipped 48-channel frames for professional concert use. The larger VCA based ML series mixers have the option to expand the mixer using a sidecar system. Therefore it is possible, with two 24-input sidecars and a 48-channel mixer (either the ML5000 or the ML4000) to produce a 96-channel mixer with various configurations of stereo channels.

Allen & Heath also manufacture the iLive digital mixer series which has met with favourable reviews[8] in the live sound industry. The iLive systems are based around a control surface and a separate mix engine which has multiple CAT5 cable outputs each of which offers high speed digital data transfer. This allows just one cable to be run from the rack on stage to the FOH iLive, rather than a multicore, and one cable to the iLive controlling monitor mixes. The iLive is useful both as a FOH and a monitor desk as it has very high quality built in effects and up to 30 aux outputs.

Aimed at the DJ market, A&H's Xone line of mixers is held in high esteem by the DJ community due to the emphasis on high quality audio and build quality.[citation needed] The Xone 92 is, arguably, Allen & Heath's most recognisable DJ mixer;[citation needed] it is embraced by Richie Hawtin and other renowned DJs.[citation needed]

One of the Xone mixer's main attributes is the high quality analogue VCF filters that enable a DJ to bring in just the low frequency or high frequency portion of a new sound source.

The ZED series has also recently been released; representing comparatively high value as both live and studio desks due to features such as stereo USB returns and two-part mic preamplifiers. The ZED series sits between the MixWizard and the GL series in the Allen & Heath product range.

The ZED-R16 mixer is essentially a 16 channel mixer with an internal 18 channel sound card (in and out) connected via FireWire to the host computer. It can function as a stand-alone analogue mixer, a combined analogue/digital or as an analogue plug-in to a computer based mixer. The console also features MIDI on the faders and some extra MIDI controls on a Surface. The console is able to be daisy-chained with another ZED-R16 to give 32 recording channels. It features many options for studio signal routing and alternative speakers.

In January 2012 A&H announced their new cost-effective GLD mixer range. This is based upon the already successful digital iLive series. The core of this new series is the GLD-80 which provides 48 processing channels, 8 stereo FX returns (fed by iLive's FX emulations), 30 configurable buses, 20 mix processing channels and DSP power handling the processing.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]