COMPANIES TO WATCH
|Recent additions to ESI Audiotechnik’s diverse product lineup include the MoCo Fully Passive Monitor Controller (left), the planet 22x Professional Dante Audio Interface (right), and the uniK 05+ Professional Active Reference 5" Studio Monitor (background).
ESI AUDIO TECHNIK
Technological innovator specializes in affordable high-quality audio recording solutions.
GERMANY'S ESI AUDIOTECHNIK GmbH specializes in entry-level to professional USB audio interfaces, Dante-based network audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, active studio monitors, and related accessories. All products are marketed with the ESI brand, though ESI technology and expertise are used and licensed by a significant number of other suppliers.
An innovator in the computer recording sector, ESI distinguishes itself by focusing on exceptional product functionality. Years ago it was the first supplier to offer a 5" active studio monitor for bedroom studios, essentially creating a new product category. Later it pioneered the use of Kevlar cone speakers in home studio active monitors, a feature since adopted nearly industry-wide.
More recently, while some audio companies abandoned MIDI, ESI recognized the need for new and more powerful MIDI products. Its M8U eX 16-port USB 3.0 MIDI interface with USB hub features the popular ESI MIDI Auto Detection Technology, through which each of 16 ports can be used and automatically identified as a MIDI input or a MIDI output. Smaller models such as the M4U eX with eight ports are also available. Another example, ESI’s U108 PRE 24-bit USB Audio Interface, stands alone in the market with ten microphone preamps and eight outputs.
ESI’s latest major product launch, planet 22x, is designed to be a cost-effective two-input/two-output Dante audio interface. Though optimized for the studio market and home, semi-pro, and professional users, the planet 22x is also suitable for live sound or installation. Working with Dante from Audinate, any computer in the network can connect to planet 22x and use it like a USB soundcard with the same software. Other Dante products in the same network can be similarly integrated.
Originally a software engineer, ESI CEO and Managing Director Claus Riethmüller began developing music audio software, including software synthesizers and hardware synthesizer controllers, in his teens. In 1998, he founded RIDI Multimedia, which distributed imported software and hardware recording products throughout Germany. In 2006, RIDI took over worldwide sales and marketing for ESI-branded recording equipment from Korean supplier Ego Sys, Inc. Four years later it acquired the business outright and became a fully independent manufacturer rechristened ESI Audiotechnik GmbH, with its own product development based in Germany.
ESI is headquartered in Leonberg, a high-tech and research hub near Stuttgart. The location facilitates affordable logistics as well as ready access to top engineering talent. ESI products are sold all over the world with support from its international distributor network.
Use of social media helps ESI to stay in touch with is customers and to report relevant news and activities. And every month on YouTube the company presents a new video clip featuring “Mr. ESI,” with amusing descriptions of ESI products and tips for their optimal use.
Looking ahead, ESI is poised to continue advancing network audio technology. “We hope to be one of the leading companies when it comes to network audio recording devices and electronic instruments,” says Riethmüller. “Our goal is to make the process of recording audio more efficient, and more cost-effective.”