“If you gave a maker the exact modules and building blocks he needed to design and build the pro audio system of his dreams, would he build it? This was the question that started it all.” states Frank Hund, founder and mastermind behind startup MakeProAudio. “We have drawn from our decades of experience in the professional audio industry to create a Lego-like ecosystem of hardware and software modules that will enable technically interested makers and musicians to build professional grade audio gear, as a real alternative to off-the-shelf gear”.
At Superbooth 2018 in Berlin, MakeProAudio will make their first public appearance, demonstrating a variety of pro audio solutions all built on their platform of hardware and software modules. “What we will demonstrate are merely examples of what is possible. If you want to do it differently, please go ahead and do it your way. We have the modules, you make the products.” explains Jorg Wille, MakeProAudio’s Senior Software Architect.
To make it easier for makers to get started, MakeProAudio provides “Kits” that contain all the circuit boards and mechanical parts required to build a product. “Everyone who owns a screwdriver can put our small kits together in less than an hour.” claims Markus Erdmann, Marketing Executive at MakeProAudio. The initial line-up of kits includes a Synthesis Kit, a Guitar Stomp box Kit, a Mixer and Effects Kit and a Motor Fader UI Kit.
To enable makers to develop their own systems, MakeProAudio uses the hugely popular Arduino standard and provides open source software which can be modified by millions of people who are familiar with the Arduino API. “We are opening up much of our platform with the goal of creating a community of developers who will continue to expand and grow the platform. It is obvious that no single company can innovate to the extent that a community can. Our vision is to enable a creative community of makers to innovate in our industry. We are very much looking forward to seeing what people will do once they realize what is possible.” states Frank Hund.
MakeProAudio is suggesting two different directions for makers to get engaged. Firstly, their “Make Music Gear” product line-up features small, affordable systems which put an Arduino in the center. “For the first time, Arduino developers can build true, professional grade audio devices. Our SHARC DSP based modules and sound libraries provide high-end sound quality, while the controlling Arduino is in the creative hands of the user. It’s a bit like strapping a race car on a bicycle – but it makes total sense.” explains Jorg Wille.
MakeProAudio’s other product direction is its “Make Pro Audio Gear”. In this class of “larger” systems, the Arduino takes a back seat, and a network distributed software platform takes control, enabling systems which can process up to hundreds of channels by combining audio I/O and processing resources on the network.
Headquartered new Cologne/Germany, MakeProAudio is preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign later this summer, and expects to ship a line of “Make Music Gear” kits before the end of this year. An initial set of modules from the “Make Pro Audio Gear” family of network distributed components is expected to ship within the first half of 2019.