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  7. When the going gets tough, the tough get going: An interview with PSPaudioware co-founder Mateusz Wozniak

When the going gets tough, the tough get going: An interview with PSPaudioware co-founder Mateusz Wozniak


One of the earliest companies to enter the effects processing plugin market is PSPaudioware.com s.c. It was founded in 2000 in Warsaw Poland by longtime friends Antoni Ozynski´╗┐ and Mateusz Wozniak´╗┐. In fact PSP was the first pro audio software company started in a post-communist Poland.

Over the years they have developed a large family of high quality, great sounding audio processing products. They have not only modelled many hardware devices, but have also released some very creativity inspiring delay and filtering plugins like PSP N20 and PSP 608 MultiDelay.

Despite the many and profound distractions in Eastern Europe PSP has been forging ahead, and Mateusz was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions...

What is your background and what role has recording audio played in it?

I grew up in a musical family so I was surrounded by live and great recordings since my early childhood, a part of it was also spent in recording studios which was a huge part of my interest. I was interested in studio gear, the sound itself and the creation process and sound shaping, the entire process to the mix.

Antoni and I have been friends since our high school days. After high school Antoni studied and graduated in management and I tried various things before I ended up in computer science. It allowed me to combine my interests in studio technique and sound creation so during that time I started to write reverberation and saturation algorithms.

How did PSP get started? What made you excited about doing your own products?

Antoni and I decided to combine our talents and knowledge to establish PSPaudioware around 1999 and in 2000 we released the PSP StereoPack supported with the first free VST game - PSP Flight. PSP StereoPack, which is still selling, is a set of basic tools to deal with stereo tracks or to convert mono tracks into stereo ones. At the time there were only a few known companies in this field and we were able to get a lot of attention in this new market.

Being an early entrant in a new market is a huge advantage.

PSP VintageWarmer

Shortly after that release we worked hard to continue with the first release of the PSP MixPack which consisted of four plug-ins and two of them where prototypes for our redesigned PSP Saturator and PSP Impressor. The PSP MixPack was followed by the PSP VintageWarmer which became our first widely known plug-in.

What are the developments in music products technologies in recent years that you think are important?

It is quite a tough question for me. There is so much going on in technical aspects of music creation and recording. The biggest concern I have is how automated and AI technologies could potentially invade the creation and processing parts of any of the arts, including music industry. The simplest example could be an automatic online mastering service, a more advanced would be automix and the worst from our human point of view would be the creative process itself, using AI for composing the music by defined rules of the song or movie.

It is not easy for me to find a good direction of using advanced technologies. My view is that technology itself has no intention, no purpose. It just follows some assumptions and rules to fit the scheme while a real creative process, as I prefer to understand it, incorporates a search for something new, a breaking of the rules or concept, a learning of something new and bringing the artist's soul to the listener, which is hard to define as anything but human.

PSP has been around for quite a while. What has changed over the years? What is still the same?

On the technical side I think that a current advance of personal computers, laptops or even tablets make it possible to do really serious recording, processing and mixing, or even video processing without hardware acceleration. When we began it was the beginning of natively run real time plug-ins in the audio industry. Now, over 20 years later, it looks like the end of the necessity for DSP accelerators beside the real situations where it is necessary to maintain ultra low latency during tracking.

The other thing is how customers and the market are changing. We began when recording engineers, professional studios and big productions still existed, nowadays it looks like this kind of workflow only survives for the film music industry, and the most demanding music productions. Most of the music industry has switched completely to home recording and now most of our customers are musicians who have become self educated in recording and music production.

Are there any reactions from PSP product owners that have surprised you? What has been most satisfying about your accomplishments?

PSP 2445 EMT

Probably our biggest accomplishment is the PSP VintageWarmer but not the only one. We also succeeded with PSP 2445 EMT digital reverb and many great and unique compressors and of course PSP Saturator which we are really proud of. Through recent years we were also working hard as a team to release great plug-ins such as the PSP InfiniStrip under the guidance of Adam Taborowski and some others following soon.

PSP InfiniStrip

Probably the most surprising reactions from our users are when Antoni crawls through support emails, resolves authorization or other issues and finds an email which goes like: "I just wanted to write you to let you know how great it is having your plug-ins, I use your PSP Impressor and PSP 2445 in every mix". I think that people are usually not motivated to openly express their positive experience - especially in this distanced relationship we have through our web-store. This is something that helps Antoni and the rest of our team not to give up on the tedious part of our job.

What do you think are important changes in the way that music is recorded that have happened since the switch from tape recorders to computers?

Like with any other technological change there are positive and negative aspects of it. I grew up on the sound of the tape, I often listed to reel to reel recordings and it is something important to me in this medium.

Tape...

However, there is much more to it than just the sound of a tape. Entire recording process on a tape means a need for a studio, console and outboard gear. All this is expensive. Tape has a track limit and they cannot be edited in the way we are used to now. Rewinding the tape for a second take takes time which gives a moment of focus for a musician but also takes precious studio time. All this means a lot of respect between musicians and recording stuff but also a lot more imperfections in the final recording which actually often made it so valuable.

On the other hand computers let us do great recordings at home or in the field or in various spontaneous situations or do a lot of creative process which cannot be done in the past.

What is next for PSP?

Mateusz Wozniak (R) and the PSPaudioware team

Thanks to the hard work of the entire team including Adam Taborowski, Piotr Dmuchowski and our others friends we are porting many of our older plugins into our latest programming platform which allows us to easily keep all of them up to date and sharing the same set of features like the new preset bar, scalable high resolution graphics and multi format support plus Apple M1. We are also working hard on some new and highly demanded tools which we cannot yet share to you at this moment.

The current conflict in Europe must be very stressful for the people of Eastern Europe and Poland, has it had any impact on the way you are thinking about and developing your products? Is it business as usual, or constant distraction?

There are various layers of this situation. One is that the Eastern Europe countries, especially people of our age and older who have experienced the impact of Soviets on our lives, we have a kind of direct understanding how dangerous it is what is going on in Putin's Russia.

The amount of suffering in Ukraine, the stories we hear and the amount of people trying to escape the death by going into or through Poland and other neighbours is really shocking. Probably every one of us experience it in our unique way but for me it impacts the live and work.

In short words we are doing our best to work as usual, it is needed for our families and the team. It also helps us not to be trapped by the distraction. On the other had it is a tough time for the region and our future and it is present here.

How can the KVR community support the refugee situation in Poland?

Support and promote Ukrainian sound engineers, producers and musicians.


Outside of Ukraine itself no other country has felt the unintended repercussions of war more than Poland, which has provided shelter for more than 3,000,000 refugees fleeing the conflict. Here some additional links to help support Poland with their efforts to support Ukrainian refugees:

www.helpmusiciansukraine.com

soundbetter.com/s/ukraine

www.productionhub.com/.../ukraine


www.pspaudioware.net

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