Symetrix Celebrates 30 Years

October 14, 2011

The Symetrix family of processors (top to bottom): AirTools 6200 (2005), Symetrix 628 (1997), Symetrix 528E (1993), Symetrix 601 (1992), Symetrix 528 (1983).

Mountlake Terrace, WA - Mar 26, 2007 - Symetrix traces its roots to the ideas of company founder Dane Butcher in the early 1970s, while he worked on the East and West Coasts as a recording engineer. Recording tools piqued his imagination, and he turned his product ideas into reality when he took a job working for Greg Mackie at Tapco and learned to design electronics. In 1976--six months after taking the job at Tapco--Butcher started Symetrix in the Belltown area of Seattle, WA, less-formally known as Skid Row. Butcher and his first employee, James Husted, supplemented their modest Symetrix income with repair work and studio maintenance around town.

A surplus electronic components company was located across the street, and with its parts Butcher manufactured the first Symetrix product, the SG-1 signal gate, and the company's subsequent compressors, limiters and phasers. After about two years, the small Symetrix team was able to cast off their odd jobs and devote themselves fully to the company.

In the nearly three decades that followed, Symetrix products grew in sophistication. The first Symetrix products were aimed at the studio and live markets. As needs were identified in other markets, products were created. This is how the 528 voice processor was developed.

Butcher explains, "By the early 1980s we'd had some success in broadcast making telephone interfaces for talk shows. We wanted to do more, and so we thought pretty deeply about what was already there and, more importantly, what wasn't.”

With that, Butcher turned his attention to the front end. He put together a good mic pre, a compressor/limiter optimized for broadcast, a downward expander, a de-esser and a three-band parametric EQ. The elements already existed in other products. What started as a cocktail napkin sketch grew into one of the company''s most successful products: the 528 voice processor. The 528E is the current model.

Symetrix later introduced additional brands to better identify their products with specific markets, which is how Lucid, Air Tools and Symnet were created.