When I first got into the recording end of the music business MCI was a much-used console brand, especially on the East Coast. I can’t say that they sounded as good as the Neves and APIs of that era, but they were affordable and professional. MCI audio designer Dave Harrison broke from MCI in 1975 to start his own company with an advanced design that MCI owner Jeep Harned wasn’t interested in, and the company has gone on to sell more than 1,500 consoles worldwide. Last week it was announced that Harrison was acquired by Sold State Logic.
Harrison consoles over the years have been used to craft hits by Michael Jackson, Queen, AC/DC, Kansas and Frank Zappa (among many others), but perhaps the company made a bigger impact on the film world. Its PP-1 film console became a standard on Hollywood dubbing stages, followed by the Series 10 and the current MPC.
Recently Harrison has been building software emulations of its widely-used analog 32C console desk into its MIxBus 32C DAW, along with its AVA plugins and MPC channel strip.
It can be argued that the early SSL desks were based on the basic Harrison designs, but the SSLs took its features (like built-in compressors, mix buss compressor, and Total Recall) to a whole new level. But that’s not why the Harrison acquisition is a good fit.
SSL’s parent company Audiotonix owns Allen & Heath, Sound Devices, Calrec, Digico, Klang Technologies and Slate Digital (among others). These are all fine, high-pedigree audio companies, but only Harrison brings a full-fledged DAW to the mix.
It’s possible that SSL only wants Harrison for its market share, which would be a shame, especially if this legendary brand fades away. On the other hand, it could mean a higher visibility for its fine products, which would be a win for everyone involved.
Congrats all around for what seems to be an unusually good fit.