SSL SOLD TO 3I, PLC Solid State Logic-one of the world's leading manufacturers of consoles for music, film and broadcast-has been sold by Carlton Communications

SSL SOLD TO 3I, PLCSolid State Logic-one of the world's leading manufacturers of consoles for music, film and broadcast-has been sold by Carlton Communications to 3i, plc (Investors in Industry), a British investment concern. After 3i's due diligence, the news came to SSL headquarters in Begbroke, England, on the day before the Christmas holiday. SSL just celebrated its 30th anniversary.

"We're extremely happy and pleased," says John Andrews, SSL marketing director. "And there's a tremendous sense of relief."

Carlton announced midyear its plans to divest itself of non-core businesses and gave SSL the opportunity to find a buyer. SSL then went after the same type of comfortable home it had with Carlton. "At this crazy time when tech companies are coming to expect 100% growth, we feel very lucky to have found a realistic investor," Andrews adds.

Rick Plushner, SSL uS president, will now report to the SSL uK board of directors. He says: "No management changes are anticipated. Over the past two-and-a-half years, SSL uS has enjoyed stellar performance and growth in all of our product lines. As far as we're concerned, it is business as usual."

The deal was reported at u43.5 million (approximately $70 million uSD). In November, Carlton underwent a u7.8 billion merger with united News and Media plc, in an apparent effort to concentrate on its core interests in broadcast.

SPARS Forms Mastering GroupRealizing that the issues surrounding new release formats and Internet audio have a profound effect on mastering engineers, the Society of Professional Recording Services has formed a Mastering Group within the organization. Mastering facilities have long been SPARS members, but the new group will be more focused on disseminating information specific to mastering engineers and serving as an interface between manufacturers and facilities.

Separate meetings will be held at SPARS Biz/Tech conferences and at the Fall AES convention in Los Angeles, and the group will have access to the SPARS listserve, as well as direct links from the organization's Web site ( to member facilities. Some early members of the new organization include Masterfonics Mastering, Airshow Mastering, Digital Domain, Bob Ohlsson Audio, Colossal Mastering and 3D Audio Inc. Glenn Meadows of Masterfonics will serve as spokesman for the group. For more information, e-mail or call 800/771-7727.

CRL Buys OrbanCircuit Research Labs, Tempe, Ariz., has signed a letter of intent with Harman International Industries to acquire Orban. The $15 million transaction was expected to close at the end of January 2000 and was expected to be financed by debt.

Based in San Leandro, Calif., Orban is a leading manufacturer of audio processing gear for radio and TV stations worldwide. Circuit Research Labs manufactures audio processing, transmission encoding and noise reduction equipment for the worldwide radio, television and professional audio markets. Circuit Research Labs will retain the Orban brand and employees, including founder and chief engineer Bob Orban.

Audio at MacworldMore than 400 exhibitors and 70,000 attendees packed into San Francisco's Moscone Center last month for Macworld Expo 2000. The show, which took place from January 4-8, featured nine special-interest areas, including the first Music and Audio Pavilion, where developers such as TC Works, Digidesign, Mark of the unicorn, Emagic and Rocket Network showcased Mac tools for audio production and music and audio networking. Accompanying seminars included forums on music on the Web, remixing, hard disk recording and software synthesis.

Although most audio manufacturers at Macworld were there to maintain their industry presence, saving announcements for this month's NAMM show, there were a few debuts: Yamaha was showing new products that feature its mLAN "music networking" technology, which is based around IEEE 1394. For information on this protocol, visit And Swissonic was showing the Swissonic uSB Studio D, a uSB-compatible rackmount unit that offers mic, line and Hi-Z inputs, S/PDIF I/O, a uSB Interface (compatible with Windows 98/2000 and Mac OS 9) for recording/playback to and from a computer, and a recording output for tape-plus a monitor output for amplifier/active monitoring with volume.

Other big news at the show: Apple's unveiling of its OS X operating system (available this summer-for more information, visit, demonstrated during the keynote speech by Steve Jobs.

In the Eddy Awards, which honor the best new products of 1999, Emagic's WaveBurner 1.0 won for the best audio-CD-recording software on the Mac. Steinberg's Cubase VST 4.1 and MacSourcery's BarbaBatch 3.0 were also honored. One of the "Best of Show" awards, selected by the editors of Macworld, was given to Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Live! Platinum PCI card, which marks Creative's entry into the Macintosh market.

Yorkville Acquires ARTYorkville Sound (Pickering, Ontario), manufacturer of a wide range of equipment primarily for the touring and live sound industries, has purchased Applied Research & Technology, a company perhaps best known for its tube dynamics products in the live sound and music recording markets.

ART will continue operations in Rochester, N.Y., according to company president Phil Betette, who adds that no management or personnel changes are expected.

TEC AWARDS SITE CHOSENThe Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio announced that the 16th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards will return to the Regal Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on September 23, 2000. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Karen Dunn at 925/939-6149 or e-mail:

Scholarship Applications AvailableApplications are now available for the 2000 TEC Awards Scholarship Grant. For an application form, write to TEC Awards, 1547 Palos Verdes Mall No. 294, Walnut Creek, CA 94596, or e-mail:

Mix L.A. Open Announces DateThe Fifth Annual Mix L.A. Open is scheduled for Monday, June 19, at the Malibu Country Club. Space is limited, so make your reservations early. For information about sponsorships or entry fees, contact Karen Dunn at 925/939-6149 or e-mail: