Israeli sound technology makes waves in the music business

‘Unlike a lot of the other things that happen in electronics, speakers don’t get better as they get smaller. In fact, they get worse.’ – Waves VP Paul BundschuhGilad Keren and Meir Shaashua were friends with a shared grievance. Keren, …

‘Unlike a lot of the other things that happen in electronics, speakers don’t get better as they get smaller. In fact, they get worse.’ – Waves VP Paul BundschuhGilad Keren and Meir Shaashua were friends with a shared grievance. Keren, an accomplished Israeli sound engineer who had recorded and produced hits for major Israeli artists, was frustrated at the lack of quality tools for professional sound engineers which prevented him from getting the sound just right. Shaashua, an accomplished musician, was equally frustrated that the speakers that amplified his music never got the perfect tone, and the sound was often distorted.

The two friends, who met in 1982 in a recording studio, decided to do something about their shared frustrations and their belief that something could be done to make better quality professional and consumer sound tools. It took some time, but 10 years later, they launched their own company called Waves. Today this company is revolutionizing the way music listeners and music professionals hear sound.

“You almost can’t find a hit record or a major motion picture soundtrack that hasn’t used Waves,” said one industry insider. “Nowadays, recording, mixing, matching, post production, and more are all done in the digital realm using digital audio workstations. Waves provides the very best tools that the top engineers and producers turn to when they need to do their digital signal processing.”

Waves has developed audio mixing software programs that provide producers and sound engineers with all the tools necessary to mix and remaster audio. The company’s technology enables producers to achieve the highest quality sound in music CDs, films, video games, and numerous other media.

“In the early days, a lot of people thought software would be a toy compared to hardware. But now, our products often replace multiple hardware boxes,” Keren said in a statement to the media.

But don’t take his word for it, let one of the world’s most famous producers tell you.

“When it comes to sound, Waves is synonymous with excellence,” said legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin in a testimonial for the company. Martin used Waves tools to remix the latest Beatles mashup album, Love.

Martin’s son, Giles, also produces hit artists such as Elvis Costello, Celine Dion and INXS with Waves technology. “There are a lot of audio tools, but Waves [tools] are the ones I rely on everyday,” he admitted.

The Martins are just the tip of the iceberg though. Producers of artists and groups such as the Black Eyed Peas, Christiana Aguilera, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, INXS, David Bowie, U2, and The Rolling Stones, all use Waves, as did the sound designers of Shrek, American Beauty, Cirque de Soleil, Star Wars Episode III, and numerous Broadway plays.

But you don’t need to have a wall of gold records in order to take advantage of Waves’ technology. In addition to sound solutions for professionals, the company’s consumer electronics division, Maxx, gives better sound to everyday items ranging from laptop computers, to cell phones, computer software, and televisions. Using the same technology as the professional devices, and relying on the latest in algorithms that trick the ear – Maxx is able to provide a very big sound to very small speakers.

Maxx’s latest innovation is a set of audio tools for Windows Vista which is marketed to notebook PC manufacturers. As PC consumers upgrade their laptop computers to take advantage of the latest offerings of Vista, it’s likely that the audio tools they use will be from Waves, providing quality sound for small speakers.

“Waves allows the embedded loudspeaker in the product to sound much better. Because the loudspeaker is the audio limitation, the perceived sound to the customer improves dramatically,” said Waves VP Paul Bundschuh.

Maxx’s products can be found in Altec Lansing speakers, NEC computers, JVC televisions and Sony Vaio computers. They can even be found in your iPod docking station and in Sanyo cell phones. And as cell phones start serving also as MP3 players, the need for good sound in a small speaker becomes more important.

“[Maxx] allows you to get some decent bass sound out of a one inch speaker and allows it without increasing power consumption,” Bundschuh told ISRAEL21c. “We have more technologies, more solutions, and more applications that we are targeting. We are trying for a sea change, and are very much at the beginning of this process.”

According to Bundschuh, the secret of Waves’ success is its focus on psychoacoustics: the science of sound. As professional and consumer electronics get smaller and smaller, they begin to include tinier speakers as part of the system. This may be convenient, but is not necessarily quality-directed.

“Unlike a lot of the other things that happen in electronics, speakers don’t get better as they get smaller. In fact, they get worse,” said Bundschuh.

But by employing the concepts of psychoacoustics and using digital signal processing technology in semiconductors, Waves is taking a unique approach to its technology, based on how sound is perceived.

“By understanding how our ears perceive sound, we can use algorithms and technology. This is a major change in the audio world,” Bundschuh explained.

Now that’s good to hear.