New England Digital Corp. (1976 - 1992), based in White River Junction, Vermont, was best known for its signature product, the Synclavier System.

Originally developed as the "Dartmouth Digital Synthesizer" by Dartmouth College professor Jon Appleton, in association with NED founders Cameron W. Jones and Sydney A. Alonso, - and subsequently under the marketing guidance of Brad Naples who spotted the business potential of the design - the Synclavier became one of the most advanced electronic synthesis and recording tools of the day.

The system was nearly as famous for where it was not used, as it was for the list of premier studios in which it was: the extremely sophisticated synthesizer enjoyed the distinction of being banned from many famous concert halls, out of fear that it would obsolete the musicians themselves. For a while in the '80s there was even a common phrase going around 'Is it live or is it Synclavier?' particularly relating to certain perfomers and musicians who were found to be miming to an entire show performed by Synclavier.

The mature Synclavier was a modular, component-based system that included facilities for FM-based synthesis, digital sampling, hard-disk recording, and sophisticated computer-based sound editing. By the late 1980s, complete Synclavier systems were selling for upwards of $200,000, to famous musicians such as Sting, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, and to major studios the world over. The Synclavier was also employed by experimental musicians, such as Kraftwerk, Laurie Anderson and Frank Zappa who used it extensively in their music. It also found itself popular among the academic world for research and analysis of audio, and for more clandestine operations, such as speech analysis and manipulation by the intelligence services, submarine sonar and sound analysis by the Navy, flight simulators for Boeing, and even by NASA as the core of the digital camera system on board the Galileo Probe sent to study and photograph Jupiter and its moons. Still used to this day in major movies for sound design, along with TV, Commercials and Music composition and production.

Unfortunately for New England Digital, the Synclavier became a victim of the early 1990's economic downturn, the high prices (albeit justified as the Synclavier system components were almost entirely military and aviation spec), and the rapidly increasing capabilities of personal computers, MIDI-enabled synthesizers and low-cost digital samplers. In the span of two years, the company saw enormous sales evaporate, and in 1992 they closed their doors forever. Parts of the company were purchased by Fostex, which used the technical knowledge base of staff to build several hard-disk recording systems in the 1990s (like Fostex Foundation 2000 and 2000re). Simultaneously, a group of ex-employees and product owners collaborated to form The Synclavier Company, primarily as a maintenance organization for existing customers, but with an eye to adapting Synclavier software for stand-alone personal computer use, while in Europe the previously profitable but now motherless NED Europe is currently run by ex-head of European operations, Steve Hills, and is still trading to this day (2006) in London, England as Synclavier Europe

In 1998, under the company Demas, NED co-founder Cameron W. Jones (original and current owner of the Synclavier trademark and software) collaborated with ex-employee Brian S. George (owner of Demas, the company that purchased all of NED's hardware and technical assets) and original co-founding partner Sydney Alonso to develop an emulator designed to run Synclavier software for Apple Computer's Macintosh computer systems and hardware designed to share the core processing with the later generation of Apple computers giving enhanced features and greater speed to the system. Later software releases have been significantly updated by freelance programmer Todd Yvega, one of the world's foremost Synclavier composers and programmers.




© 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Synclavier European Services. All Rights Reserved. Synclavier™ is the proprietary trade mark of Cameron W. Jones

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