A WORD TO BEGIN
Duco de Rijk
MD and founder
D&R Electronica B.V. has been operating for 50 years now. which is an ideal time to stop for a moment and take a look back at the past, as well as towards the future. D&R was founded in March 1972 by (D)uco de Rijk and (&) (R)onnie Goene.
Their aim was to design and manufacture mixing consoles for the music industry that were both affordable and of high quality. Since then, the company has gone far beyond its pioneering phase, weathered various economic storms and has expanded into a concept in the professional audio world. Our export business worldwide to every country you can think of has brought with it a steady growth in turnover and widespread distribution among buyers.
Initially, D&R was a trend-setter in PA mixers. After that, we went into the studio recording sector and surround film sound mixers.The enormous worldwide increase in radio and television broadcasters results in an increasing demand for D&R products. The last 20 years D&R is mainly involved in Broadcast related products, such as the Webstation, AXUM, Airlite-USB, Airmate-USB, AIRENCE-USB, Airlab-DT, Lyra. Also our (GSM) Hybrids are very popular.
ty concept within the audio industry.
Duco de Rijk, the managing director and founder of D&R has a track record in music (a no1 hit record HAIR with a group called ZEN, when he was very young) and he was responsible for the design of all earlier analog designs of the mixing consoles and its cosmetics. When the demand for digital products became more evident about 15 years ago, the R&D team was expanded with experienced senior digital hard and software designers who helped the founder as designer to achieve his goals. These days Duco de Rijk is general manager of the company and still personally involved in mixing console design in many aspects.
HISTORY & BACKGROUNDS
CHANGE OF DIRECTION
HI TECH CAD DESIGNS
In 1972, Duco de Rijk and Ronnie Goene, who were members of the popular band Zen at the time, with one golden Number 1 hit 'Hair', built their first tube mixing console. It was a revolutionary product for the time. Many well-known pop groups such as Kayak, The Cats and Alquin opted for D&R mixers because of their affordability, the warm sound they produce and their virtually unlimited headroom.
In the mid-1970s, Ronnie Goené left the company to concentrate full-time on dentistry, while Duco de Rijk continued with the business.
At the same time, D&R produced the very first quadraphonic mixer for the Cats' recording studio. It was a first i its time. The big feature on this mixer was the use of ICs instead of radio tubes. This made it possible to build more complex products. In the middle of 1975, D&R developed the first compressor/limiter. This product is still very much a collector's item.
In the meantime, D&R's turnover grew by a factor of 9. The growth of the business attracted the international market. In 1976, D&R took the plunge into this exciting market by taking a stand at the 'Frankfurter Messe'. In 1977, D&R designed and produced many signal processors, which they added to their range of mixer consoles. One year later, D&R launched the first affordable large-format studio mixer, the ST1 600 series. This mixer was a major success because it used an 'in-line format' that was totally unknown in Europe at the time. By the end of the 1970s, turnover had doubled, as had the number of employees. Exports were also growing steadily.
In 1979, D&R and its 15 staff moved to a new location in the west of Amsterdam. They now had a floor space of 450 sq.m. The company further developed the 'inline format' of the ST1600 and 1000 series mixers into a range of successful designs, In 1981, they also introduced the 400 series. A year later, in 1982, D&R rented a number of nearby areas to cope with the expansion of production area requirements and to accommodate more product development. In 1983, D&R launched the 300 and 700 series on the market as the small, affordable mixing consoles for recording studios just starting out and for location recording. In 1985 D&R moved to a large building located in Weesp, about 4 km from Amsterdam. This building was large enough to handle the continuous growth of the D&R.
In 1984, D&R launched the larger in-line mixing consoles, such as the 2000 and 4000 series. They were very successful. In the meantime, the electronics company was exporting to 30 countries around the world. Staff grew to 35 and required premises that were larger, newer and more modern. So D&R moved in 1985 to the North industrial estate in Weesp, where there was a unit available of 1,400 sq.m. The signal processor program, which included compressors, noise gates, filters and a variety of other handy studio item, was added to an ever-growing turnover. In the years between 1987 and 1991 inclusive, D&R expanded its range with products such as the successful Dayner mixer, the new Stylyx live recording mixer, the Disteq mixer, the professional broadcast mixers Aided and Aircom, as well as the Avalon multitrack recording mixer.
In 1992, D&R founded the import company, AudioMate. This operation rounded out the D&R package, and in so doing provided product for the 'underside' of the market while creating the possibility of catering for total projects. The first imported product was a Taiwanese product which met D&R's high quality requirements. In 1993, the Weesp-based company brought out the Vision PA recording mixer on to the market. This was a timeless product that is still part of todays company range. The years that followed saw the design and production of various sorts of mixer of a very high quality. A few examples are the Axion live sound mixer, the Clubmix and the Portamix.
1996 was an important year for D&R. Many of its smaller products were encountering stiff competition from cheap mass-produced products. D&R's answer to this was to change direction. This resulted in the introduction of the Cinemix and Airmix. From that time onwards, D&R has concentrated on the profitable, but not price-cutting, niche market of audio postproduction for videos and films.
From 1997, D&R decided to start approaching different, new markets. The strategy worked, because the market responded very positively to the arrival of the hi-tech Cinemix. Also the move towards broadcast with the Airmate, a small, low-cost broadcast mixer, has also been received very well by the market. This extremely successful product is still part of the port folio of the company.
This 1998, D&R's 25 years jubilee sees the beginning of deliveries of the ultimate film post-production mixer, the 'Octagon'. This mixer is the result of outstanding response of users to the successful Cinemix mixer. All of D&R's knowledge and experience in audio postproduction has been packed into this large-scale audio mixer. Response from the market and interest from the media has been overwhelming and D&R expects a significant proportion of its turnover to come from this new top-of-the-range product. In brief: a 25-year history characterized by growth, quality, innovation and a dash of daring. All this had made D&R stronger than ever. The electronics firm from Weesp in northern Holland is more than ready for the hi-tech challenge of the 21st century.
The last 20 years D&R has put much effort into broadcast related products. Due to the success of the Airmate broadcast console in 1998, a range of other broadcast consoles as the Aircom, Airteq and Airmix established the D&R name in the broadcast world nationally and internationally. New broadcast products with more and more digital technology built in saw the daylight.
We could see the arrival of the extremely successful digitally controlled analog Airlab console of which over 1000 units are in world wide use. An even further digitally controlled analog console the AirMax saw the daylight recently. We see this modular mixer as the ultimate combination of analog and digital technology. D&R's digital involvement in broadcast came to reality by building the modular SIRIUS digital broadcast production/On-Air mixing console in 2001. Directly followed by the digital Scorpius console and Web based Lyra digital console. The next step in digital consoles is the AXUM console which will be launched in autumn 2007. This is the ultimate digital modular platform in which all collected design experience and field response is brought together. This extremely versatile concept will be the concept on which all future designs will be based upon. Investment in the AXUM will never result in loss of money due to loss of features or older technology. The modular concept goes way back to the heart of the system, the DSP that is also modular, as are all the various control surfaces that are available for this system. We at D&R are very enthusiastic about all the design parameters that has been determined way in advance of the AXUM launch on the IBC show in 2007. We are working around the clock in high speed mode to design and manufacture the ultimate digital broadcast console that can meet any today's and tomorrow's tender.
D&R Electronica, based in Weesp, is a leading hi-tech company worldwide specializing in the design and production of quality, made-to-measure audio mixing consoles for a variety of applications. D&R's package of products ranges from small discotheque mixers for high-end installations to large-scale film post-production mixers, with over a hundred inputs. Ninety five per cent of the company's products find their way to other countries. D&R is striking for its flat organization structure. This makes the company able to respond directly, efficiently and decisively to customer wishes. Finally, D&R's open and informal working atmosphere make the distance between management and staff very small, which in turn helps maintain a high level of involvement and enthusiasm. The huge knowledge on mixing console design is adequatly filed for today's and future references both for end users and our design department.
D&R uses CAD systems for its designs, operated by an experienced staff of 4 research and development specialists. Their aim is to introduce a minimum of 2 substantial new products per year. Because all of D&R's product development is carried out in-house, all of the necessary know-how is available to produce made-to-measure products. Using a checklist of options in terms of functionality, product specifications and pricing levels, a concept design is presented to the key users and key dealers. D&R assesses response to this preliminary concept and then makes its decision regarding the final product concept.
Extensive testing is performed on all hardware and software designs before products are allowed to go into production.
Our Senior designers are responsible for the output of the R&D department in close cooperation with Duco de Rijk
Their personal involvement in Broadcast in his free time makes him an excellent designer for constructing designs that have a very high practical value in daily use.
Both designers are system and hardware designer making a logical integration of both qualities.
Their enormous experience in digital design has brought D&R successful designs such as the SIRIUS, Scorpius and LYRA console. The AXUM console will be the culmination of 10 years of experience in digital design.
A team of software writers is daily involved in writing software. They have designed a modular approach to writing audio software that makes it possible to gradually upgrade a products software without having to totally rewrite the software with the risk of introducing bugs. Most of our software is upgradeable in the field simply via Internet. A number of other designers are also involved in hardware design and pcb layout.
The second major activity at D&R, of course, is the manufacture of mixing consoles and Printed Circuit Board assembly. (see picture)
To do this, the company applies the very strictest quality standards to the materials and components it uses.
The whole production process takes place in Weesp, with the exception of delivery of the chassis and other metal parts.
The PCBs designed by D&R are delivered, and then assembled at the plant and tested for specifications.
SMD board designs are also manufactured in house using Essemtec pick and place machines.
This in house manufacturing process of all system parts makes D&R very flexible and D&R can respond very quick to customer demand.
All components are purchased from well known and reliable suppliers such as Texas Instrument, ALPS, Motorola and many others.
All incoming components are tested and inspected for irregularities and if so rejected when not meeting D&R's quality standards.
A warehouse that is well heated and free from dust stores all components for today's and past products.
Service parts are kept in stock a minimum of 10 years after the launch of a new product. We still supply replacement parts for mixers made in 1973!
The company also produces its OEM products for other well-known manufacturers in the audio industry. D&R derives these OEM products from its own successfully tried and tested designs. This means that D&R can produce an original product, complete with the manufacturer's logo, quickly and efficiently.
Products are assembled by experienced workers in a controlled environment.
We have specialist for specific product groups, making assembling a very well known job for them. Manufacturing suggestions are due to the flat companies management structure easily passed on to out R&D department.
Specialized tools and well documented instructions are a customers assurance that his or her products will come out of the D&R factory in a perfect condition and manufactured exactly as specified in the design.
Specs are met and a long and enjoy full use of the products is guaranteed.
50 years' knowledge and experience in mixing consoles is the strength of D&R which is constantly innovating in hi-tech products and technologies. D&R also documents all of its product knowledge and specifications. Purchasing a D&R top quality product guarantees virtually lifelong service in terms of available components.
Quality is a very high priority at D&R. All products are tested using a test protocol that is very strict. The company's purchasing policy is also based on quality products.
D&R also conducts random tests on all incoming goods for quality and functionality. Using an exhaustive checklist, D&R does everything it can to track down any possible faults at every stage of the manufacturing process.
A series of on-going checks are carried out both during production and the test phase, as well as just before shipping. Interim testing of the PCB's using 'in circuit testers', is a further guarantee of defect-free printed circuit boards.
D&R is very much aware of the fact that there would be no D&R without its customers. As a result, most of the company's designers play an active role in all sorts of professional studio activities so that they can keep up to date with their knowledge, as well as remain customer and market-oriented.
So it is no wonder that D&R products fit in perfectly with being used every day. This results in highly practical solutions that are very straightforward to operate. D&R is happy to work with a customer to find solutions for specific requirements. The company also uses trade fairs and seminars, and sends questionnaires out to end-users. This is an excellent way of remaining totally up to date with the latest developments in the studio market.
Service and maintenance on most D&R products is simple. This is because the products are designed to be fully modular. Virtually any technician can change a module or PCB. Of course, D&R also provides technical support. Using its own technical department and the telephone helpdesk at the test department, customers can be helped or supported quickly and professionally. D&R also supports its customers with comprehensive manuals and an up-to-date website. Naturally, D&R also has the time for personal contact. D&R can also supply 90 per cent of all components used in its products over the past 50 years.
D&R can look ahead to a rosy future. Our package of products is clearly aimed at various niches in the market. We will also continue to develop market segments in which our specific knowledge can be put to the best possible use - such as the booming Broadcast market. D&R's technical knowledge and experience in this area are ideally suited for this. D&R is also going full steam ahead along digital lines. The launch of a new fully digital modular "platform type" broadcast mixer is not far off -a product that takes D&R even more into the digital broadcast market. D&R has product ideas by the ton. The company will also continue to look for opportunities regarding new products and new market segments.
Few think of technology companies as being green, but D&R have taken great strides to reduce their impact on the environment.
D&R has made great efforts in reducing energy consumption, allows many of its employs to telecommute, and lighting in the company is a 100% implementation of LED tubes in every area of the factory building. Wave and hand soldering is of course lead free.
We hope to have given you an insight in this unique Dutch company that has managed to put a footprint on the globe in terms of designing and manufacturing very high quality and affordable audio mixing consoles and signal processors for the past 50 years.
We like to thank you for reading this Company Profile.