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PCRECORDING.COM - - Interview with Tim Ryan, President of M Audio/Midiman

1. Who are the principals at Midiman?

*** Myself as president. Michael Huckler is National Sales Manager. Michael Partridge is International Sales Manager. Ralf Kohlmeier is Manager of Midiman Germany.

Midiman is now called M Audio/Midiman. We founded our digital audio division over a year and a half ago and revenues from the M Audio side of the house now exceed sales on the Midiman side of the house. We anticipate that over the next year(s) Audio revenues will dwarf the Midi revenues. So although for now the Midiman name is much better known than the M Audio name, in the coming years we will be called M Audio.

2. What was the original idea/concept behind the Midiman company?

To bring better technology to musicians at better pricing. We understood many musicians do not have large amounts of excess money with which to buy the equipment they need. We feel improved technology becomes available each day at improved prices and it is our goal to turn this into great products and get them into the hands of musicians -- along with these cost savings and performance enhancements.

3. What is your approximate customer base?

Do you mean the number of customers with our products? We do about 5,000 sound card cables alone each month, and we have been doing this for years, so our base now has to have exceeded half a million customers.

4. The new Delta 1010 and Delta 66 are an evolution of your previous PCI based > cards. How are they unique from your competitor's cards?

One thing M Audio/Midiman has always done is to take a look at the market as a whole. Where a competitior would come out with 1 or 2 products we would come out with 5 or 10. Our approach to the digital audio market has been the same. We now have 3 Delta series products. Within 2 months there will be 2 more Delta products as well as an ADAT PCI product. Also, within 1 month we will start shipping our $150 retail 24/48 S/PDIF PCI card. With the Delta series we plan on supporting EVERYTHING including: Windows 95/98/2000/NT, ASIO, ASIO 2, EASI, BEOS, Linux, DS, Giga Sampler support, etc. So we want this family to emerge as the "default" high-quality work horses of the individual musician and the MI. We know this is ambitious and far more easily said than done, but this is what we will keep working toward over the next few months.

5. What products are in development by Midiman for the near future?

We can't be too specific here with our long range plans, but what we can say is that we will continue to peripheralize the digital audio market and develop and market a whole host of other little digital audio accessories. We also will expand our USB MIDI line of products.

6. Are you planning on introducing a direct competitor to the Echo Mona or the SeaSound Solo?

I think "no" about the Sea Sound Solo because it doesn't fit into the way we look at doing things. On the Echo Mona, I think are product line will take a big bite out of the potential market that this will sell into.

7. Has PCI based audio technology been taken as far as it can go?

No, not quite yet. There is still more that can be done but it will take partnering up with specific software, operating systems and hardware configurations to really get the most out of PCI. This "can" be done but we aren't sure that we can either find apporopriately interested partners, or if we could whether their is enough market for a top flight performer to make it financially viable.

8. What is the next big step-up in PC-based audio applications and hardware > that you see?

See above.

9. What is the tentative release date of drivers for Asio and BeOS?

Our ASIO driver is shipping NOW. BeOs is probably around 1st quarter of 2000. We hope to have the Mac ASIO and sound driver drivers done within a month.

10. Is Midiman going to release drivers to support the Linux or BeOS operating systems?

YES. See above. It is part of our current marketing and business plan.

11. I note on your website that your minimum requirements include specifications only for Pentium chips. Does Midiman support AMD or other CPU's? In that light, what is your opinion of the new Athlon chip?

YES. We work with AMD and Athlon. There is no CPU that we are aware of that we do not work with. We usually do not call out CPUs on our system requirements.

12. Why should a customer buy a Midiman product versus your competitors?

Because they perform better, the cost is lower, the support is better and especially with the new Delta line: we will have COMPLETE driver support. And besides this, most people love us after they get to know us.