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At Richmond Sound Design . . .
Mission Statement
A Short History

About Richmond Sound Design Ltd.

Show Control, Virtual Sound System Core Audio Engine & Theatre Sound Design Software

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 your tough performance problems.

Mission Statement

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 our team.

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 Model 816 consoles were matrix-equipped and included our patented AUTO-PAN™ programmable crossfaders - revolutionary features at the time. Our early mixers can often be found on eBay - a testament to their reliability and functionality.

In 1977 the company introduced the VCA-4 mixer module 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 installations worldwide.

In 1986 we created COMMAND/CUE™ , 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 Vegas.

In 1991 the company unveiled Stage Manager™ show control software for a whole new level of presentation ability. Stage Manager pioneered the use of MIDI Show Control (MSC) 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 MIDIShowCD™ , the world's first software for synchronizing multiple CD drives. MlDlShowCD 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 prestigious Sound Product of the Year Award for 1998. 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 ShowMan™ software for Windows NT [and 2K/XP], providing the power and capability of both Stage Manager and MIDIShowCD on an industry standard platform. ShowMan signifies real compatibility and true live show interaction.

In 1999 we presented Joanne Dow's E-Show™ Control Network. 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 systems.

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 AudioBox Model AB1616 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 prestigious 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 AudioBox Model AB64 with up to 64 digital audio playback and recording channels, 64x64 DSP audio matrix, 64 analog and/or CobraNet audio inputs and outputs and, of course, a full function Show Controller onboard - all in a compact, modular format.

In 2007, we introduced Loren Wilton's amazing new SoundMan™-Server Virtual Sound System (VSS) Audio Engine API software for ISVs which essentially makes every 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 incorporating SoundMan-Server, SoundMan-Designer , 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 cueing system.

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 markets."
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!

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