Fishman partnered with the large, Norwood, Massachusetts-based semiconductor company based on the fact that they use the Analog Devices Blackfin DSP in the pioneering digital acoustic imaging technology used in the Aura Imaging Processor.
The idea according to David Fournier, Fishman Director of Product Development, was for Aura Imaging to be a central focus of Analog Devices’ “Digital Living Room” ––a meeting room designed to reinforce the company’s influence in the $171 Billion consumer electronics industry.
“The theme for ADI was ‘Everywhere,’ Fournier points out. “Most people expect to find a DSP in a cell phone, mp3 player, Internet radio, HD receiver or Blu-ray/HD DVD player, but not inside a finely crafted acoustic guitar. By reinforcing this idea, developers would hopefully be inspired to think about other places in which to develop a DSP-based system.”
In the middle of ADI’s digital living room stood a Fishman Ellipse Aura-equipped Martin OMC28E attracting little more attention than still life art on the wall. It initially seemed to be more of a lifestyle statement. Media people and potential clients were guided through over a dozen mini-exhibit––including a completely wireless, live motion capture demo––before ending up seated on a couch surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of high-end AV products. While most may have been relieved to sit down, they were just as ready to move on and take in as much of this show in as possible since CES is flooded with these kinds of products.
That’s when Fishman was introduced with a demonstration of how the Ellipse Aura with integrated ADI BlackFin processor was discretely positioned inside the instrument. Clinician Corey Congilio then played the guitar to show how Fishman’s undersaddle pickup allowed it to compete on stage and in the home recording environment.
Then company founder and president Larry Fishman and Fournier explained the technology on board the Martin guitar followed by Coniglio A/Bing the sound the attendees had just heard with the realistic studio-quality sound from Aura Acoustic Imaging. At this point, “tired eyes popped open and listeners became very interested,” reports Fournier. “Every demo met with a different, yet excited response and what started out as a short, mildly interested demo turned into what consumer electronics media called the ‘most exciting technology of the show.’ So much so that the Fishman demo became the most popular story on EE Times website.
“The CES crowd could hear the difference and quickly understand the benefits of why we’d apply a technology like Aura to the acoustic guitar,” concludes Fournier. “I’d estimate that with over 40% of the demos we gave, there were several closet acoustic players who knew C.F. Martin’s reputation and were impressed that they were the first adopters. In fact, there were guitarists everywhere at the show.
“Bottom line, these are certainly customers in whom we’re interested in providing products that not only enhance their practice time, but make them want to create their own music with the level of sound quality they only dreamed would be possible with a recording contract.”
In addition to Fishman’s venture into the consumer electronics market, another category-creating product from company, the AFX Acoustic Effects Pedals offering Reverb, Chorus and Delay effects specifically tailored for acoustic guitars was introduced at the recent Winter NAMM Show. These use the same printed-circuit board as Aura with the Blackfin DSP programmed to perform the functions required for these more typical guitar effects.