Armed with a common vision for a new approach to in-ear monitoring, the CEOs of Sensaphonics, Inc. and Think-A-Move, Ltd. have come together to form a new company, ASI Audio, Inc. With a goal of bringing back the joy of pure music to performing artists and their fans, they have created a new brand, ASI Audio x Sensaphonics, along with an innovate new IEM product that puts the power and control over the listening experience into the hands of listeners. Their concept is called Music Enhancement, and is being unveiled at the upcoming NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.
ASI Audio combines the complementary expertise and shared vision of its two principals. Sensaphonics founder and CEO, Dr. Michael Santucci, is an audiologist who has designed and manufactured innovative IEM products designed for safe listening while delivering superb sound quality. Think-A-Move CEO Jim Harris brings complementary expertise to the table, having developed headset products for a range of high-noise applications including first responders as well as NCAA, MGM Resorts and many other enterprise solutions. They quickly saw an opportunity to address one of the biggest opportunities in the music industry: the desire among both musicians and their fans to enjoy music safely, and direct control of the sound signature.
"Sensaphonics already had the basics of our product concept in place, " notes Jim Harris, CEO and President, ASI Audio. "Their patented Active Ambient technology provided the platform, and our expertise in app development and manufacturing enabled our combined engineering teams to create a more sophisticated and powerful product. The key to our shared vision of Music Enhancement is to deliver a customized listening environment that works equally well with or without a monitor mix. We're very excited to be bringing this new concept to market at the NAMM Show."
As a long-time advocate for hearing wellness in the music industry, audiologist and ASI Audio Chairman of the Board Michael Santucci has spent his career developing products to encourage healthy listening while still delivering the monitor mix with exceptional clarity and focus. He developed the 3D Active Ambient IEM system to deliver stage ambience with natural sound quality and directionality while retaining maximum isolation for the lowest possible noise floor.
"We've had great success with our 3D system, which is used on stage by artists like Steven Tyler, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, and hundreds more, " he notes. "But we know that many more musicians could benefit if we could bring down the price. We were also aware that many musicians have developed career-threatening hearing issues that could be addressed with tools like EQ and limiting. What we needed was a fresh approach to the in-ear concept that addresses all these issues in a way that no other company has even attempted. I'm proud to say that ASI Audio has achieved that goal."
The company's flagship product is called 3DME Music Enhancement, a universal-fit IEM system that captures ambient sound with a binaural microphone system embedded in the earphones, sending it to a beltpack mixer that enables custom 7-band EQ and limiting via the ASI Audio smartphone app.
Over the past year, ASI Audio has been demonstrating whitebox prototypes and beta versions of the 3DME to musicians, both amplified and acoustic. It was the orchestral musicians that had the strongest reaction to the system. For them, the system is used without a monitor mix, functioning as hearing protection with customized sound signature.
"Many of these artists develop hearing issues that literally threaten their livelihood, which is obviously very stressful, " notes Jim Harris. "By giving them the ability to use EQ to adjust the sound, they found they could hear themselves, and the orchestra around them, like they used to. We've had several who literally cried during the experience. That's when we knew we had something special."
ASI Audio's concept of Music Enhancement puts stage ambience, EQ, and limiting all under user control, delivering custom sound quality and natural ambience in 3D, making it useful across a wide range of applications, both on stage and off. The crash cymbals to one's left can be turned down; the boom of a bassy venue can be tamed; and portable device listeners gain situational awareness of the sounds around them – with volume control.
For Michael Santucci, 3DME embodies a vision that realizes the potential of in-ear monitors to deliver whatever listening experience is desired, both safely and at an accessible price. "My entire professional career has been based on averting hearing loss in the music industry," he notes. "ASI Audio has helped take that vision to a new level that transcends in-ear monitoring and delivers true Music Enhancement."
ASI Audio x Sensaphonics will be demonstrating 3DME Music Enhancement throughout the NAMM Show in Booth #12512 in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center, January 16-19, 2020.