LOUD Audio, LLC is a professional audio company based in the United States, operating in the U.S., Canada, and China. Originally known as Mackie Designs, Inc., the name was changed to Loud Technologies in 2003 to differentiate the larger company from their founding subsidiary, mixing console manufacturer Mackie. Between 2003 and 2018, LOUD Technologies owned or distributed several music instrument and pro audio product brands. Transom Capital acquired the company in October 2017, renaming it LOUD Audio, LLC and divesting most brands to focus more exclusively on their core Mackie business.
|Founded||1988 (as Mackie Designs, Inc.)|
|Brian McClain(Chairman & CFO)|
Number of employees
Greg Mackie founded Mackie Designs, Inc. in 1988, following the success of his first two professional audio equipment companies, TAPCO and AudioControl. Focused on the goal of producing a reasonably-priced high-quality mixer, he produced the company's first product, the LM-1602, in his three bedroom condominium in Edmonds, Washington.
Mackie Designs, Inc. experienced tremendous growth over the next four years, with sales growing from $3.8 million to over $64 million. This success began with moving production to a proper factory for their second product, the CR-1604 mixer. The CR-1604's feature set, performance, and competitive price was an ideal fit for a wide range of applications, resulting in hundreds of thousands of units sold over the course of the next five years, and accounting for over 48% of Mackie's overall revenues at that time.
The company's ongoing growth of more than 100 percent annually necessitated relocating and expanding manufacturing every year. By 1994, the company had grown into a 30,000 square-foot factory. The following year, as they celebrated the sale of the 100,000th Mackie mixer, the company moved into an even larger 90,000 square-foot factory and invested in automated assembly machines to achieve high productivity and quality with lower overall production costs. With just 8 products (all mixers), Mackie Designs, Inc. completed an initial public stock offering
Diversification and acquisitionsEdit
At the July 1996 NAMM Show, Mackie Designs product introductions marked its first entry into power amps, and active studio monitors, while also expanding into higher-end, large-format mixing consoles. The following year marked the introduction of the Digital 8-Bus Recording Console - the company's first digital product, and the Human User Interface (HUI) control surface, co-developed with Digidesign for Pro Tools.
From 1998-2000 the company began expanding beyond the Mackie brand, acquiring Radio Cine Forniture S.p.A. (RCF) in 1998 and leveraging RCF technologies to develop Mackie's first powered loudspeaker, the SRM450, the following year. In 2000 the company acquired well-established commercial sound reinforcement system manufacturer Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW). By 2001, speakers accounted for 55% of the company's total revenues.
In 2001, the company entered the professional audio production market with the purchase of Sydec, and created the Mackie Broadcast Professional line of products.
2003 Equity investment and rebrandingEdit
In February 2003 after declining sales and 7 consecutive quarters of per-share losses, Sun Capital Partners acquired 65% of the company, which was subsequently delisted from NASDAQ. Greg Mackie left the board, remaining in a consulting role. Six months later, in July 2003, the company issued layoff warnings to 200 manufacturing employees and plans to outsource manufacturing of key products.
More acquisitions and divestmentsEdit
In December, 2003, LOUD divested itself from its Italian operations, including RCF.
In March 2005, LOUD acquired St. Louis Music, including Ampeg, Crate Amplifiers, Alvarez Guitars, and Knilling orchestral string instruments, and continued St Louis Music operations as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary. In March 2007, LOUD acquired Martin Audio.
In November 2008, U.S. Band and Orchestra Supplies Inc. acquired St. Louis Music (SLM) and Knilling from LOUD, with LOUD retained ownership of Alvarez, Ampeg, and Crate. The following year, SLM entered into an agreement with LOUD to exclusively sell and market Alvarez Guitars.
2017 ownership change and renewed focusEdit
In October 2017, Transom Capital Group acquired all LOUD Technologies brands and rebranded the company as LOUD Audio, LLC. The following year, LOUD completed three divestments to focus exclusively on its core Mackie business, selling Ampeg to Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. in May, Martin Audio to Lloyds Development Capital in July, and EAW to the RCF Group in September of that year.
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