Engineer Len Davis left the BBC in 1966 and set up his own company, Glensound Services. Fifty years later, it is known as Glensound.
For many commentators, ‘the Glensound’ is the generic term for the box into which they plug headphones and microphones. For voiceover artists, or an engineer that grew up in the era of ISDN, Glensound is the box that connects to the outside world. And if you are the prime minister, Glensound is the company that mixes and distributes your speech to world broadcasters.
The first Glensound branded design – a distribution amplifier – was created in 1969 for Prince Charles’ Investiture. Innovation continued as Glensound invented the world’s first unitised mixer in 1971 and the first assignable mixer in 1980.
Four years later, the BBC needed a different way to handle commentary for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. A commentary solution was suggested that separated the commentary box from the audio I/O interface and connected them via a single coaxial cable that carried power and multi-channel audio. The two-part commentary unit was born.
In 1994 a relationship with the UK parliament began that would see Glensound develop systems for managing microphone mixing, feedback control, audio distribution, and further intelligent systems as part of the Commons, Lords and the Committee Rooms.
Len Davis semi-retired in 2005 and his son, Gavin Davis, who had been with the company since 1986, took over as managing director; a role that continues today. “Glensound is so fondly remembered by so many engineers, and by me too as I grew up alongside it,” says Gavin Davies(pictured).
“We remain a specialist solutions provider with simple, solid designs which innovate. I take the responsibility for the reputation Glensound has with broadcasters very seriously, and I certainly aim to make sure the products designed now will still be thought of fondly over the next 50 years.”