Dan Dugan Sound Design Launches 50th Anniversary Celebration

Dan Dugan Sound Design is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018 and has launched a year-long celebration. Company founder Dan Dugan, CEO of Dan Dugan Sound Design, Inc. will be at the company’s display booth for several trade shows this year (including ISE, NAB, InfoComm, AES and others) to greet attendees and conduct his “killer demo” of legendary Dugan automatic microphone mixing technologies.

Dan Dugan began his sound designing career while working at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where he designed the first multi-scene theatrical sound console along with other equipment. While at ACT, the production stage manager coined the title Sound Designer “to describe what Dan Dugan does.” He became independent shortly thereafter.

Dugan took on the challenge of designing sound reinforcement systems for regional productions of the musical Hair. He thought that there had to be a better way to handle 36 live mics on stage than twisting knobs on a rack of mixers. After six years of experimenting, he found a solution. His invention, the automatic microphone mixer, radically improved the quality of sound operation in installed sound, conferences and broadcasting. No longer did audio mixers have to sweat fading up the next talker while keeping system gain under the feedback point; instead, they were free to focus on the quality of the mix.

An automixer controls a group of live microphones, turning up mics when someone is talking and turning down mics that aren’t being used. The real-time voice-activated process invented by Dugan maintains overall system gain and ensures everyone is being heard at the right time. The technologies invented by Dan Dugan are widely recognized for their “transparent” gain-sharing operation. Overall system gain is held at the level of one microphone, regardless of who is talking, how loudly (or softly) they are talking or how many people are trying to talk at once. Operation is simple: microphones are connected, system gain is set, and the automixer takes care of the rest. The result is clear, understandable audio without upcutting talkers or shifts in background noise.

Over the years, Dugan products have been updated to conform to changing industry standards. Modern DSP technologies have been adopted, as well as current modes of I/O including ADAT, MADI and Dante. Control of “Dugans” has also progressed with the years, with remote control via PC and iPad apps and a physical control surface option.

Dugan products are used in education, corporate, live theater, television and government settings worldwide. In addition to manufacturing his own products, which connect to standard audio consoles via insert points, Dan Dugan licenses his algorithms to other manufacturers. Yamaha has now adopted Dugan technology in all of their digital mixing consoles and installed sound processors, and Dugan automixing is available in products from Waves, Sound Devices, and Protech Audio. Dugan also manufactures a plug-in automixer card for selected Avid products.

When not in his lab in San Francisco, Dan Dugan is an avid recordist for the Nature Sounds Society, often capturing realistic surround recordings in Yosemite National Park. He also has a lively interest in philosophy (particularly skepticism), the philosophy of science, and current controversies about scientific paradigms and alternative medicine. In the Professional Audio world, Dugan has made public challenges to fraudulent and overly extravagant claims for high-end hi-fi products.

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Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..