Show Control, Virtual Sound
System Core Audio Engine & Theatre Sound Design Software
"PERFORMANCE FOR THE LONG RUN"
WHERE TOP QUALITY MEETS THE BOTTOM LINE SINCE 1972
At Richmond Sound Design we're committed to providing you with
the finest and most capable performance tools. RSD products
interface with all control philosophies and propel the world's
most prestigious show events. RSD designers are at the
forefront of new ideas in audio, lighting, and show control, and
take a leading role in developing industry standards.
Forged by the demands of live performance, you'll find solutions
from Richmond Sound Design equal to the toughest presentation
tasks, whether in theatre, exhibits, theme parks, education, retail,
industrial, commercial, corporate staging, or concerts.
In this age of products designed primarily for appearance, Richmond
Sound Design still cares about flexibility, function, and power -
to give you solutions to
tough performance problems.
We provide the most efficient and cost effective programmable
sound and show control solutions in the world.
We are respected and innovative industry leaders.
We care about our customers.
We fulfill dreams and aspirations by creating exceptionally
capable software and programming environments.
We enjoy knowing our customers personally and including them on
We are committed to integrity, social responsibility and the
environment. We drive Tesla 100% electric vehicles and use renewable
electricity to heat and cook.
A Short History
Richmond Sound Design Ltd.
was founded in 1972 by Charlie Richmond as a
manufacturer of theatrical sound consoles. Since then, we've
originated many sound and theatre industry advancements. For
example, the first
consoles were matrix-equipped and included our
programmable crossfaders - revolutionary features at the time. Our early mixers
often be found on eBay
- a testament to their reliability and functionality.
In 1977 the company introduced the
for dedicated audio control in complex routing applications.
Thousands of VCA-4's are still at work in paging systems at
convention centres, hotels, hospitals, airports, and industrial
In 1986 we created
, the first
computerised audio control system. At the same time a router/switcher, automated
virtual console, and panoramic sound controller, COMMAND/CUE
CONCURRENT, in the opinion of top sound designers, was for many
years the world's most capable surround sound tool. This was first used in
'Into the Woods' for its pre-broadway premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San
Diego, and subsequently on Lily Tomlin's 'Into the Woods' tour and became the
industry standard for live theme park stunt shows around the world and Las
In 1991 the company unveiled
show control software for a whole new level of presentation
pioneered the use of
to manage a variety of intelligent media controllers:
lighting, sound, lasers, staging and more. This became the show control
standard for Broadway, cruise ships and themed installations everywhere.
1994 saw the release of
world's first software for synchronizing multiple CD drives.
provided multichannel audio and multi source
effects at a fraction of the cost of alternative systems,
using common and reliable CD's.
In 1997, the new
AudioBox™ Theatre Sound Design & Show Control System
from HFI combined an onboard eight channel digital sound
source with a flexible 16 X 16 DSP matrix. After years of
research, almost any form of sound manipulation could finally
be done in real time, completely in the digital domain, with
one box. The AudioBox was presented TCI Magazine's
Sound Product of the Year Award
Software support on all platforms allowed multichannel audio to be
equalized, delayed, manipulated and distributed in ways previously
only dreamed of.
In 1998 we introduced Loren Wilton's
software for Windows NT [and 2K/XP], providing the power and capability of
on an industry
signifies real compatibility
and true live show interaction.
In 1999 we presented Joanne Dow's
E-Show was the most significant show control concept yet,
comprised of industry standard computing hardware and industrial
standard interface cards all networked using world standard
TCP/IP network protocols. Now any IT department can effectively
assemble and support the world's most powerful show control
E-Show was presented Entertainment Design Magazine's prestigious
1999 EDDY Award
in the Show Control category. The Award
states: "Charlie's done it again. The E-Show Network is based on
industry-standard Windows NT computers interconnected via a
TCP/IP-based network; normally ethernet, but essentially any
TCP/IP-compatible network, even the Internet, can be used. The
system features RSD's Virtual PLC Hardware, comprised of
industry-standard industrial PCI/ISA computer cards, and is
driven by ShowMan(TM) software. E-Show also supports direct
ethernet connection with ethernet-capable industrial control
devices, thereby eliminating the need for host computers at
remote terminals. 'This is a great step in the right direction,
putting show control on a standard ethernet network,' says one of
the judges. 'No more serial lines, MIDI lines, etc.'"
In 2000, we introduced HFI's
including 16 digital audio playback channels onboard
with automatic input switching between live and playback on the
first eight channels. On September 16 in Los Angeles, the
Ride Vehicle version of the AudioBox was awarded the
THEA Award 2000
for Outstanding Achievement in
the area of 'Breakthrough Technology' by the Themed Entertainment
Association. The Award states "Having been judged to represent
the highest standards of excellence and creative achievement in
the arts and sciences of the Themed Entertainment Industry."
In 2005, we started shipping HFI's
with up to 64 digital audio playback and recording channels, 64x64 DSP
matrix, 64 analog and/or CobraNet audio inputs and outputs and, of course, a
full function Show Controller onboard - all in a compact, modular
In 2007, we introduced Loren Wilton's amazing new
Virtual Sound System (VSS) Audio Engine API software for ISVs which essentially
conventional commercial and professional sound system obsolete.
SoundMan-Server is the greenest audio solution because it reduces your sound
system carbon footprint by up to 95%.
In August, RSD
became an IBM Business Partner and SoundMan-Server a certified IBM Store
Integration Framework (SIF) Application Solution
In 2007, we were proud to release the first commercial product
, software which fully emulates and runs all AudioBox shows and
audio files at a fraction of the cost. Also in 2007, The Universal
Studios Hollywood WaterWorld show was the first to be upgraded to
SoundMan-Server, along with the latest versions of ShowMan and E-Show.
Since then, SoundMan-Server, often in combination with ShowMan and E-Show, has
won many contracts and has been incorporated into a vast number of significant
end user software applications created by
almost 40 third party developers who use its powerful audio engine for a vast
number of capabilities and processes, replacing and augmenting dedicated audio
hardware in hundreds of new network based audio applications.
In 2009, SoundMan-Assistant was introduced which replicates the
functionality of the AudioBox AB64 for a fraction of the price and works
perfectly with ABShowMaker and SoundMan-Designer software.
In 2012, many SoundMan-Server computers are available with a wide variety of
I/O options allowing up to 512 live audio inputs and outputs within a single
rack mount computer form factor.
In 2013 SoundMan-Server became the audio engine of choice for
Show Cue Systems
for its live and playback theatrical matrix and playback
In 2017, we started working with commercial manufacturers of themed ride
systems to develop industry standard software based media controllers.
In 2018, we passed the milestone of delivering more than 2.2 million fully
licensed virtual sound control channels and an untold number of free versions
being used all over the world. Please see our News page for more details.
In May 2019 Kevin Hilton wrote us and said "Right now I am working on a feature
for Audio Visual magazine that is intended to be an introduction to immersive
audio. I'd like to get some more details on the work that Richmond Sound Design
is doing with this technology for the live event and museum/presentation
Mandie Creed kindly replied, saying "My name is Mandie Creed at Communications
Electronic Design in Louisville, KY. We design and install systems in museums
all over the country. And every one of the installations has a SoundMan-Server
license that is utilized with our custom Audio Server/DSP solution via
programming through an AMX controller. We use this software for controlling the
audio in a lot of open spaces that are typically difficult to control audio in
by using a visitor sensoring system and the SoundMan-Server software."
Her very thorough responses to his specific questions are below:
Q: What are the applications for immersive audio in live events, theme parks,
presentations, museums etc?
A: In our museums, we use the software in multiple ways. Sensors around the
exhibit areas allow us to adjust audio levels and/or playback audio files as
visitors enter a specific area. It is also a great application to do mixes of
audio files as visitors move throughout a space, and allows us to layer
multiple audio tracks and route them throughout an area to any speaker. Another
great application is live audio mixing for producers in theaters as a lot of
producers and sound designers like to hear the audio in the space through the
DSP/amplifier signal path that will be used. It cuts down on multiple
iterations of final tracks and with live crosspoint routing we can take any
output of a session and put it into any speaker in a theater.
Q: What are the main audio formats for these areas?
A: We have 2 specific formats for audio through the SoundMan-Server application
- one is inputs from video servers via a MOTU/RME interface, the other is with
16-bit, 48k .wav files that live on the drive of the server
Q: Is object based audio now the norm and the most efficient way of immersing
an audience in audio or do channel-based systems still have a part to play?
A: In the theaters we do, channel based audio is still the norm. And actually
once audio is set in a museum, typically it doesn't change. SoundMan-Server has
been such a great platform for us because the sky is the limit on where the
audio can be routed, which allows wither channel or object based audio. Whether
its just that the producer put the wrong track on the wrong channel in the mix,
or dynamic routing and audio levels with visitor interaction, we have not found
a more efficient application or piece of hardware that is so versatile.
Q: What is involved in the production/post-production process to prepare
material for live immersive audio playback?
A: We give the producers 2 choices - live sound mixing onsite, or mixing
offsite and routing/EQ audio through SoundMan-Server settings onsite. In each
instance, levels are always adjusted and set for Low, Medium, and High presets
for the user to recall depending on the daily visitor capacity. Our goal is to
make the system stable and easy for the end-user to use.
And now in 2020 we celebrate licensing over 2.5 million audio
channels of SoundMan-Server!