A Slick Audio rack DAW with doors open to expose its hot-swap hard drives.
Audio/IT experts make DAWs with unrivalled
performance and warranty
We all want stuff to work. Our cars, our toasters, our washing machines. But for professionals and even serious amateurs in the world of audio recording, an unreliable digital audio workstation can risk missing a once-in-a-lifetime studio take or live performance. One new company is determined to raise the reliability bar for DAWs and related systems. www.slick.audio
Pennsylvania-based Slick Audio sells DAWs, DAW software, plug-ins, microphone pre-amps, signal processors, digital audio interfaces, mixers, and control surfaces to meet every need. Launched in mid-2014 and currently doing business in the U.S. and Canada, it represents the vision of founder Jim Slick, a lifetime musician with 30-plus years of experience in both pro audio and IT. In 2014 the company’s reliability-obsessed CEO reinforced his own rare skillset by appointing several former lead developers of the erstwhile DAW industry leader Rain Computers U.K. to the Slick engineering team.
“We create products properly from the IT perspective,” he says. “They’re not temperamental; they just run. [We offer] a uniquely solid, balanced blend of pro audio and IT expertise behind the design and quality of our products that puts us light years ahead of what other folks are doing.” No small claim, but he backs it up with a five-year warranty “right out of the box.” The industry standard is two years plus an optional year at additional cost.
Slick Audio is also the only company offering rack chassis with front-accessed hot-swap drives so the user doesn’t have to pull the chassis apart to swap out a hard drive. (Slick tower chassis drives are accessible from the side using thumb screws, also for easier removal.) Another “Slick” advantage is a proprietary technology called Super Quiet that keeps Slick DAWs nearly silent.
Slick’s higher-end machines offer hardware-based RAID (a data storage redundancy technology that prevents hard disk failure) that, unlike on most competing products, is on a separate card, not the motherboard. By offloading I/O processing, Jim explains, this approach avoids “audio signal bottlenecks and significant I/O slowdowns.” At the 2016 Winter NAMM Show, Slick Audio will unveil three new DAWs with unique form-factors that Jim says will “really shake up the industry.”
Slick Audio customers are “spread pretty evenly” across all target markets, including pro and project studios, live sound companies that capture performances, and individual bands and consumers. As a relatively new business, Slick has only just begun to develop its dealer network, but Jim is encouraged by the nascent interest. “We offer competitive margins,” he says, “but what retailers really love about us is that they don’t have to deal with the headaches of servicing our machines. With a five-year warranty, the end-user just sends the box back to us. The retailer can pretty much sell it and forget it. Bottom line, Slick Audio really is the Ultimate DAW!”
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