Phil Dudderidge (born 6 February 1949 in Watford, England) is an English sound engineer. He is a notable figure in the professional audio industry, having worked as Led Zeppelin's first dedicated live soundman, and later co-founding Soundcraft Electronics before serving as Chairman of Focusrite Audio Engineering, Ltd.
|Oral History, Phil Dudderidge talks about the path that led to the development of Soundcraft. Interview date January 25, 2014, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Dudderidge attended Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Elstree, Hertfordshire, but dropped out of school at the age of 17. In 1967, he worked for the noted UK underground newspaper International Times delivering the paper and posters from Osiris Visions to outlets around London. While there, he met Osiris Visions owner and record producer / band manager Joe Boyd and ended up working as a roadie / chauffeur for Fairport Convention and the Incredible String Band. Dudderidge later worked with Pete Brown and The Battered Ornaments and Soft Machine.
In 1970, Charlie Watkins (of WEM PA fame) introduced Dudderidge to Led Zeppelin, beginning not only Dudderidge's first live sound engineer assignment, but also the notable position of Led Zeppelin's first dedicated live sound engineer (and "WEM expert"). This job lasted from March to May 1970, encompassing tour dates in both Europe and the U.S.
While house engineer for the Implosion concerts at the Roundhouse in London, Dudderidge worked with Hiwatt to develop professional sound reinforcement systems. He then partnered with Paul Dobson and Graham Blyth to form his first company, RSD, building custom PA systems for Roy Wood's Wizzard and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel amongst others, with custom-built mixing consoles derived from a Bill Kelsey original design. During the '70s, Blyth and Dudderidge with Roger Lindsay, owned Europa Concert Systems, a live sound company that catered to American bands touring Europe.
In 1973, Dudderidge and Blyth left RSD to form Soundcraft Electronics, Ltd., the company specializing in live sound and recording mixing consoles. Dudderidge's involvement with this company also led to his working with notable pro audio industry figures Betty Bennett (now CEO of Apogee Electronics Corporation), Wayne Freeman (of Trident USA, Fairlight, Amek, Otari, and most notably Marshall Electronics), and Shane Morris (designer of the ATI Paragon monitor console and later of PRS Guitars). 15 years later, in 1988, Soundcraft, firmly established as a leading console brand, was sold to Harman International Industries.
Dudderidge left Soundcraft in early 1989 and formed a new company, Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd. to continue to develop and manufacture Focusrite products after it acquired the assets of Rupert Neve's company, Focusrite Ltd., thus inheriting the Focusrite range designed prior to 1989. Focusrite acquired the assets of Novation Electronic Music Systems in 2004 and the Novation brand became integrated into the business. Focusrite established Focusrite Novation Inc. to represent its interests in the United States and manage marketing and Tier One reseller relationships. FNI is based in Los Angeles, CA. Focusrite UK also distributes third-party brands from Gibson Pro Audio, notably KRK Loudspeakers.
Focusrite Plc. which incorporates Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd and subsidiaries, floated on the London AIM market in December 2015. Dudderidge is currently Executive Chairman of Focusrite Plc.
Phil Dudderidge was born in 1949, the second son and fourth child of John Dudderidge OBE and Dr. Evelyn Dudderidge (née Hughes). He married Jennifer "Jenny" Hayes in 1973. The couple produced five sons and a daughter: Dr. Tim Dudderidge, Consultant Urologist; Tom Dudderidge, founder of Disruptive Ltd. (Gear4); Jamie Dudderidge (business manager); Simon Dudderidge (business telecoms sales executive); Jo Dudderidge, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with The Travelling Band and Joanna Dudderidge, photographer.
- Mini Autobiography of the Focusrite Chairman
- , Mixing Led Zeppelin then... and now, Performing Musician, June 2008
- Hiwatt.org, Company History
- Fred Goodman, "Keeping It All In Focus," Pro Sound News, Nov 2010, p. 74
- Roger Lindsay, TPI Magazine, Nov 2009
- MusiciansNews.com, "Soundcraft's Graham Blyth receives Fellowship Award"
- Pro Sound News, "Wayne Freeman 1947-2009"
- Chris Michie, "The Second British Invasion: UK Technology In The U.S. Live Sound Market," Mix Magazine, May 1999
- Company History, Rupert Neve Designs
- Focusrite forms US subsidiary
- Focusrite Plc - London Stock Exchange
- Focusrite Plc Board of Directors