Jon, Matt, and Jim in front of Park Ridge, IL office entrance; company name on sheet of paper on door - Aug. 1998
The name "Sound Devices" came to the company by accident - and possibly magic. The founders of the company started business in July 1998 without a name; the working name was JAM Electronics. The company could not establish anything official without a name. Weeks passed without an identity.
It was debilitating working without a name. Every few minutes a new name would spark interest, only to be shot down for one reason or another. Many parents have the same feeling trying to find a suitable name for a newborn child. It is remarkable how many companies exist. Just when you think you found "the" name, you discover that it is being used somewhere that could cause confusion.
While working in the original Park Ridge (Illinois) office, a box with the labeling "Sound Devices" was spotted high on a shelf of the shared office space. The box was filled with noise makers and audio toys belonging to the previous tenant. The name immediately stuck, and by the end of the day the company became Sound Devices. Sound Devices, LLC registered as a legal entity with the state of Wisconsin on July 22, 1998.
The first product Sound Devices developed was the MP-1 Portable Microphone Preamp intended for broadcast use. The MP-1 was introduced at NAB 1999 and was available for purchase at the time of the show. The development of the MP-1 was an important milestone as many elements designed into the MP-1 continue to live in later generation products, such as the battery tube, the high-performance Lundahl input transformers and durable powder-coated aluminum chassis.
The MM-1 Microphone Preamplifier and HX-3 Headphone Distribution Amplifier were previewed at NAB 2001, and later joined the developing product line of portable audio tools including the MP-1 and MP-2 Microphone Preamplifiers.
Computer Audio Interfaces - Sound Devices established an identity as a provider of innovative portable tools with the release of the USBPre (now discontinued), one of the earliest USB computer audio interfaces. The USBPre was previewed at NAB 2000. Updated in 2001 with the USBPre 1.5, it remained in the product line until it was replaced with the USBPre 2.
442 Field Mixer was previewed at NAB 2001- The 442 joins the growing Sound Devices Mixer Product Line. The mixer product line was later expanded when the 302 was released. The 442 and MixPre have since been replaced by the 552, the MixPre-D and the 664.
7-Series Digital Audio Recorders- Sound Devices announced entry into the non-linear field-recording category when it previewed non-working 7-Series Audio Recorder prototypes at NAB 2003. The 722 and 744T were completed and began shipping in late 2004 / early 2005. The 702, 702T and 788T models were later added to the 7-Series family. Accessories including the CL-1, CL-2, CL-8, CL-9 and CL-WiFi have expanded application uses of these recorders along with numerous feature enhancements through firmware updates.
At NAB 2011, Sound Devices expanded its product offerings designed for production with the introduction of their first portable video recorders, the PIX 220 and PIX 240. This was a natural progression for Sound Devices with their strong history of developing products for the evolving production world, and with the reputation of providing high-quality audio products for picture. Sound Devices naturally expanded their product offerings by providing durable picture products with Sound Devices audio. The PIX 260 Rack-Mount Video Recorder was previewed at NAB 2012.