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Author Topic: soundscape digital technology (1993?)  (Read 1154 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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    • | vintage audio production software + hardware info
soundscape digital technology (1993?)
« on: November 22, 2016, 04:34:35 PM »

Since Soundscape Digital Technology Limited first introduced the revolutionary SSHDR1 in August 1993, it has consistently provided the most complete, affordable and reliable solution for high quality digital audio recording and editing on the PC, and Soundscape has consistently set the milestones for audio editing in Windows :-

The first expandable multi-track DAW for Windows 3.1.
The first expandable multi-track DAW for Windows 95.
The first DAW for Windows with 3rd party DSP based plug-ins.
The first professional, expandable DAW for Windows NT and with full video support.
The first DAW for Windows with comprehensive hardware controller support.
The first professional, expandable DAW for Windows 2000.

Soundscape has the best track record in the business for producing reliable software and hardware, and for many years has proven a firm commitment to new and existing and users alike, with regular free of charge major software upgrades adding numerous editing features. The on-going investment in research and development and the support of some of the world's top companies in audio, video, radio and sequencing, will continue to produce many new exciting hardware and software options, and (we hope) more industry recognition awards like the SSAIRA Best Audio Recorder Award in 2000.

At Soundscape we believe that purchasing our products is also an investment in us, and this investment deserves to be returned. This is why we are investing more heavily in product design now, than at any time previously and we will continue our efforts to provide you with the best features possible. A Soundscape Digital Audio Workstation is one of the very few products that does not become quickly replaced by next year's 'new model' but instead continues to be enhanced, giving you new levels of performance. We would encourage you to talk with some of our existing users to find out how satisfied they are not just with the performance of the system, but also with our attitude to the crucial issue of after sales support.

The facts speak for themselves. A system purchased in 1993 still has fully up to date software features today (like 24 bit recording and full dynamic mix automation), and in fact, the current release of software is available free of charge for all Soundscape DAW users. Unlike most competing systems, the cost of ownership of a Soundscape DAW over this period has been virtually negligible.

A major advantage of the Soundscape approach with separate dedicated hardware, is that the PC is not required to perform any audio processing, playback, storage or synchronisation and becomes just a control 'front end' for the hardware. This means that for the Soundscape DAW it can be a very low specification PC and can be used simultaneously for other applications, such as MIDI sequencing, running a video editing system, browsing the internet, sending faxes, editing documents etc. without affecting the audio performance at all. Use with Laptop PCs is another unique aspect of the R.Ed hardware architecture, as this is just not possible with other competing DAWs, without adding an expensive PCI expansion unit.

The actual audio specification of R.Ed and iBox interface hardware easily exceeds that of 'soundcard' type systems (where the converters are inside the PC), as inside the R.Ed there is a 'clean' linear power supply just for the analogue circuitry, unaffected by digital noise from fans, hard drives or other high speed circuitry that is always present in a PC. In addition, signal levels (up to +24dBU) and connectors (XLR) are consistent with those normally expected of professional audio equipment.

Soundscape SSHDR1[edit]
Soundscape was formed in the UK when in early 1992, Chris Wright, the head designer and Technical Manager for Cheetah Marketing Ltd., with Belgian designer Johan Bonnaerens and Cheetah, together with Johan's employer Sydec NV agreed a plan to jointly design, manufacture and market a modular 4 track hard disk based Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

The SSHDR1 DAW became, if not the first, certainly one of the first products of this kind available and was showcased as an 8 track system at the NAMM and Musik Messe trade shows in 1993. Cheetah's parent company Cannon Street Investments was struggling during the UK recession and closed the company in March 1993, splitting off the computer peripherals division (which principally manufactured joysticks such as Bart Simpson, Batman and Alien licensed designs) to another company in the group. Chris Wright along with Sales Manager Nick Owen bought the assets of the Cheetah music products division, forming Soundscape Digital Technology Ltd., immediately took on two of the ex-Cheetah employees (Marcus Case - Production Manager and Kirstie Davies - Operations Manager) and started to market and manufacture the Soundscape SSHDR1, shipping the first batch of 100 units in August 1993.

Like Chris, who had started designing products for music (synthesizers, effects, samplers, keyboards, drum machines) in his spare time (his day job was as a Senior Electronics Designer in telecoms), Johan was also an avid rock guitar player and music fan and had started the design at home. An long experienced audio designer himself, Chris contributed in some of the key elements of the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) code such as how to efficiently implement real-time fade curves, and digital compressors and chase locking to timecode, and his experience of EMC shielding and testing techniques enabled rapid EMC approval to be gained. He later concentrated on developing the specifications for the Soundscape products as they moved into the demanding high end markets in broadcast and film sound. Johan concentrated mainly on the Windows software and another engineer took over the DSP code.

The system rapidly gained market success, shipping over 700 systems in the first year and garnered excellent reviews throughout the music and recording press in Europe, Australia and the USA, and featured on the front page of most major magazines. The system was renowned for its bulletproof stability, something that was the holy grail of computer based recording on PCs. This was due to its split design with separate Motorola 56000 DSP powered hardware that was controlled by Windows editing software. The hardware took the strain allowing a very light demand on the PC, so that other MIDI sequencers such as eMagic Logic, Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk and others could be used simultaneously. The boast was that even if the PC crashed, the system would continue recording, and this was demonstrated regularly. The result was that while most other computer based recording/editing systems were all studio based, Soundscape could also be used for live recording and could be relied upon for recording 100 piece orchestras with no risk. Integration of the SSHDR1 hardware within eMagic Logic Audio and Cakewalk was developed by both companies using the Soundscape API.