Sometimes a particular event, though seemingly inconsequential, can impact many people. That’s the crux of Biamp’s history: it began with a song. We have all heard “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen, but the way the song shaped Biamp impacts our company in an amazing way.
In 1959, The Kingsmen formed in a Portland garage. The band spent several years playing local events and venues. At a gig in Seaside, Oregon, the band noticed attendees repeatedly selecting Rockin’ Robin Roberts’ version of “Louie Louie” on the jukebox. The band decided to give the people what they wanted, and learned the song. After that, “Louie Louie” was a regular in The Kingsmen’s rotation. In 1963, two original members left the band, and Norm Sundholm was brought onboard. The band recorded its version of “Louie Louie,” and the song became a massive hit. In that moment, Biamp history was made.
The success of “Louie Louie” inspired a national tour. However, Norm soon learned that his bass amp lacked sufficient power for large arenas. He and his brother Conrad designed a high-powered concert bass amplifier, and formed Sunn Musical Equipment. The amplifiers filled a void in the concert space and became wildly popular among such high-profile performers as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane.
OUR PRODUCTS ARE INTERESTING, BUT OUR PEOPLE MAKE THEM SHINE
Norm left Sunn after four years. Conrad remained with the company until 1971, when he sold Sunn to Hartzell Manufacturing. Conrad had professional audio in his blood, and once his non-compete agreement with Hartzell expired in 1976, he co-founded Biamp with Dick McCloud. In 1982, Biamp introduced the 19 Series Amplifier – once again filling a gap in the market and giving people what they needed. Two years later, Leupold & Stevens purchased Biamp.
Biamp’s management team (Ralph Lockhart, Bob Doty, Ralph Tennant and Jerry Payette) later bought the company back from Leupold & Stevens, and introduced the MixPak Powered Mixer. The MixPak was the first product to involve an industrial designer, and was a departure from the single rack space and dual rack space mounted units of the past, which represented a huge development shift. The management team also realized that while Biamp made powerful, quality equipment that met market needs, people were the company’s greatest asset. People were the heart and soul of the business; people were the reason the products worked so well. It was this philosophy – regardless of product and industry trends – that moved the company forward.
There were more product releases over the years, including Advantage System One, The ADVANTAGE series, RAKMAX mixer, and the LEGEND in-line recording console. Soon, additional concepts began to reinforce the people-first philosophy. Biamp introduced one of the industry’s first five-year warranties, with the knowledge that the products were good, but if something went wrong, we would make it right. Biamp took a significant step with The Advantage series, which was the first product designed for the installed audio market. With this product, Biamp began its shift from the music industry to installed professional audio.
In 2002, Biamp introduced Audia, which has functioned as the heart of thousands of AV systems worldwide for more than a decade. Many original Audia units are still in use all over the globe, providing ongoing value and service to our customers through powerful hardware and intelligent software.
2002 also brought the launch of the Biamp Education Experience, which began as a traveling program. As interest grew, Biamp established an onsite learning center that offered a more robust class schedule. Each week, we provide training classes for integrators and distributors from all over the world. Our customers give us a new perspective on the industry, and we love hosting them. The personal interaction is unbeatable. In 2014, Biamp launched its first online certification training course for TesiraFORTÉ. Within four months, this program produced almost 600 TesiraFORTÉ-certified people from 55 countries. We love offering our customers a variety of ways to connect and learn more about our products.
OUR CUSTOMERS GIVE US A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE INDUSTRY, AND WE LOVE HOSTING THEM. THE PERSONAL INTERACTION IS UNBEATABLE.
When Biamp’s Nexia product line (Nexia SP, Nexia CS, and Nexia PM) launched in 2004, it was hailed as one of the coolest products of the year. Nexia was designed with a network-friendly, open architecture to create economical solutions. Nexia is easy to configure and install, and gives smaller projects superior sound at a budget-friendly price. Biamp also introduced Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) technology the same year.
Biamp purchased Creative Audio in Brisbane, Australia, in 2008, to gain access to superior paging market knowledge. Creative Audio was developing a networked paging product that would eventually evolve into the Vocia family.
In 2012, Biamp introduced Tesira, its flagship Digital Signal Processing (DSP) platform. Tesira took our legacy for customizable, configurable, medium-scale platforms and extended it to large, extra large, and super-scale platforms. By using Audio Video Bridging (AVB), Tesira’s networking capabilities are easily among the most flexible, scalable, and affordable on the market.
2014 was a big year for Biamp. TesiraFORTÉ, with USB connectivity and optional AVB, as well as multiple combinations of inputs and outputs, launched at ISE. Transporting audio over USB makes TesiraFORTÉ a powerful solution for a number of common business challenges. TesiraFORTÉ gained rapid adoption in the market; customers simply love it.
Throughout Biamp’s history, we have distinguished ourselves by designing and manufacturing products in-house. In fact, from concept to completion, Biamp engineers develop every new product. This means an engineer who designs a new piece of hardware can simply walk to a different area of the building and watch that item roll off the assembly line. By designing and manufacturing products internally, we maintain a higher level of quality control and can make any necessary changes or upgrades more efficiently.
THE MANAGEMENT TEAM HAS ALWAYS KNOWN THAT PEOPLE ARE THE COMPANY’S GREATEST ASSET. PEOPLE ARE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE BUSINESS; PEOPLE ARE THE REASON THE PRODUCTS WORK SO WELL.
The most compelling thing about Biamp is the ability to speak with the people who design the products, observe the brainstorming and prototyping taking place, and walk out onto the manufacturing floor to watch products being built and shipped to customers. Then, when customers come in for training, we can hear their thoughts on our products first-hand. It’s not just about the factory and equipment, we also make sure our customers are supported. If you’ve ever called our Applications Engineers for support, you know how smart and helpful they are. Technology is nothing without the hearts and minds of good people supporting it.
From the beginning, Biamp has put people first. Our most important asset is not our products, or our manufacturing processes, or equipment. It’s our people. That is our core belief, that’s how we treat our employees and our customers, and that’s why so many members of the Biamp family have been here for years. Biamp began as a small group, and has expanded to more than 250 people located all over the world. At Biamp, honesty and integrity remain the foundation of our business. From humble beginnings as a 1950s garage band covering “Louie Louie” to engage the crowd, to its ongoing development of innovative products that meet integrators’ and end users’ needs, Biamp has focused on one thing: people.