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NLD: Dan Dugan Celebrates With Yamaha At ISE 2018

In 2018 Dan Dugan – inventor of the automatic microphone mixer – is celebrating his 50th year in business, his 75th birthday and his 35th year of his laboratory on Napoleon Street, San Francisco. Since 2011 Dan Dugan Sound Design technology has been a key component in Yamaha’s digital mixing systems, so the company invited him to a surprise celebration on its stand during ISE 2018.

Nowadays, inventors of key developments in the modern pro audio industry are recognised as pioneers, visionaries, even ‘living legends’. Significant anniversaries arrive with increasing frequency, but not many enjoy three at the same time!

Dan Dugan has spent his entire life involved with audio although, ironically, his first job in the production industry was as a lighting designer. It was when designing the audio for an early 1970s production of the musical Hair that he saw the need for an automated solution to control multiple microphones. Being both resourceful and determined, he set about inventing one. The rest, one could say, is history.

Throughout the early 2000s, there were increasing calls from Yamaha US customers for Dan’s automated mic mixing technology to be made available in the company’s digital consoles and DME series digital mixing engines. Positive discussions between Dan and Yamaha’s Marc Lopez, Matt Hasegawa and Hiroshi Hamamatsu resulted, in 2011, in the Dugan-MY16 automatic mixing controller card. This enabled a wide range of Yamaha digital mixing products to add up to 16 channels of automated microphone mixing.

With the launch of Yamaha’s CL series digital mixers, the company’s Masaaki ‘Mick’ Okabayashi and Dan discussed the possibility of incorporating the technology within the CL operating system itself. Finding it was possible to achieve using Yamaha DSP, Dan and the Yamaha development engineers worked closely to implement it.

Since then, the technology has been incorporated into Yamaha’s entire current range of digital mixing consoles – from the flagship RIVAGE PM10 system right through to the entry-level TF series – as well as the MTX/MRX series of matrix processors. This means that all of these products now feature cutting-edge, automated mic mixing as standard.

“Dan’s technology has made a massive difference to a wide range of productions – from theatre shows to corporate conferences, broadcast debates and many others. We are very pleased to be able to celebrate these three significant milestones with him at ISE 2018,” says Nils-Peter Keller, Senior Director Pro Audio & AV Group at Yamaha Music Europe GmbH.

“As a fellow pioneering audio company, it is both appropriate and gratifying that we have been able to work closely with Dan for a number of years, allowing Yamaha users to embrace the many benefits of his automated mic mixing technology.”

“Working with Yamaha has been wonderful because I’ve provided the idea, but they’ve provided a red hot team of engineers to realise it in their own DSP, which is pretty extraordinary,” adds Dan. “It’s been a very positive, delightful relationship and I hope it will last for a long time.”