Modern live sound production began with the development of reliable, high power PA amplification, capable of good sound reproduction that could be mass produced and marketed affordably. Back in 1976 a company called RSD (Recording Studio Design) based in England, was among the first to design and build such amplifiers. Not only did they challenge the engineering and performance specifications of the very few available, hugely expensive, imported US designs that could put out no more than a few hundred watts per channel, they were indeed affordable – very affordable. RSD’s goal was to bring the pure sound quality of the recording studio to the concert stage. They developed the RSD 800B, an 800 watts per channel amplifier that they could not build enough of. They were snapped up in huge numbers to power extravagant concept shows and arena tours for mega groups such as Pink Floyd. Then came the explosion of Punk music in the late 1970’s, bringing with it, the gigging revolution, PA hire grew into an industry and all the companies used the RSD 800B. Just as importantly these amplifiers were extremely affordable, meaning that even the smallest bands setting out on their road to stardom could gig with a great sounding PA system that would easily fit in the back of the tour van.
RSD continued to develop ground breaking products, introducing the first compact monitor console and one of the first 8-bus home recording mixing desks, designed to operate with the new breed of eight-track tape machines. It was this mixing desk, the ‘Studiomaster 16-8’ that heralded the change of company name from RSD to Studiomaster and the move to a new factory based in the town of Luton, UK where it remained for many years. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, the new R&D department produced a string of innovative product developments, continually making available, features and technologies previously preserved by the big recording studios, to bands and songwriters of all levels. Among these developments were the first four bus mixers, designed as sub mixers for the new breed of keyboard bands, with their racks of synths, sequencers and drum machines and as a main mixer for many home recordists.
The invention of the powered mixer was the next big success story that became the ‘signature’ Studiomaster product class. The ‘Studiomaster 8-2’ merged the two things the company did best, creating a compact, portable, professional mixing desk with integrated power amplification. Effectively a PA system in just one box, with separate left, right and monitor channel amplification. The powered mixer was a gift to gigging musicians, small venues and rehearsal studios the world over, due to its size, functionality and affordability. This, along with more industry firsts such as MIDI automation home recording desks and preset operable digital effects processors, the company continued its growth and mass market domination of the music technology industry.
Today, Studiomaster is not only a recognized sound industry legend, it also still remains a UK pro-audio engineering company. Now under the ownership of the Soundking group, located in Ningbo, China, among the largest musical equipment and professional audio manufacturers in China. It has access to worldwide distribution, investment and mass production facilities, while retaining its product development, engineering, strategic management, marketing, distribution and service departments all at the new headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK.
Just as it was back in 1976, what sets Studiomaster apart in the modern musical equipment industry is innovation and the drive to offer premium quality products at the most competitive affordable prices.