The Parnelli Board of Advisors has announced that Brock Adamson will receive the Parnelli Audio Innovator Award at the 18th annual ceremony on Jan. 25, 2019. Adamson founded Ontario-based loudspeaker manufacturer Adamson Systems Engineering in 1983.
“Brock has been a major exporter of loudspeaker technology for 35 years,” says Terry Lowe, Parnelli Awards Executive Producer and publisher of PLSN and Front of House magazines. “From Port Perry, Ontario, he’s kept his company on the leading edge of pro audio technology and market trends. Adamson produced the first line array designed and manufactured in North America, and he holds dozens of patents, making him one of the most influential speaker builders that our industry has ever had.”
Adamson was the son of an inventor and executive with what was then called the American Can company. While raised mostly in Vancouver, BC, his father’s work took the family elsewhere along the West Coast of the U.S. Mechanically inclined as a kid, he benefited from his dad having a shop in the house. As a teen, he converted motorcycles into choppers and eventually started building studio speakers. He moved from Vancouver to Toronto and founded Adamson Systems Engineering in 1983, and the company has evolved from a small operation into a leading supplier of cutting-edge products for the professional touring and installation markets.
Adamson’s continued pursuit for sonic perfection led to a number of patents in key loudspeaker technologies being published. From those patented principles emerged complex sound chambers, advanced drivers, and innovative rigging and cabinet designs that set new standards throughout the industry. Over the years, Adamson Systems has taken innovative approaches to solving problems in speaker technology. Adamson’s M225 was the first use of an acoustic waveguide in a commercial loudspeaker system. Other advances included the company’s Metrix and SpekTrix lines; the Y-Axis line array (with its Co-Linear Drive Module); the SD-21 21-inch Kevlar cone driver used in the T21 line-arrayable subwoofer cabinet, with its AIR rigging system; and the Energia E15 (and now E12) line arrays with their central steel/aluminum-framed E-Capsule mid/high section and Autolock rigging. Adamson built his company on a method of reproducing sound which, even at extremely high levels, would retain the integrity of the original waveform and preserve the subtleties of symmetry, coherency and intelligibility — nuances most often lost in translation.
Adamson was on the forefront of computer simulations in speaker development. “The Y-Axis was done using CAD/CAM [computer-aided design/computer aided manufacturing] and observations of boundary behavior,” he told FOH editor George Petersen in a 2013 interview. “The software that could enable us to do that in the 1990s was a large, large amount of money. I did have ANSYS [engineering simulation software] and we did do some simulation in ANSYS in relation to cone geometries. But by the time we came to re-develop with the E15, we had progressed into more advanced boundary element and finite element programs and began integrating these together to get the desired results. It’s tricky. It takes a lot of prototyping and these models are first printed in a 3-D printer, then molded in a higher density compound and then they’re tested in quantity. So much is possible today that you just couldn’t do 12 or 13 years ago when the Y-Axis was built, especially in terms of modeling simulation, measuring, printing and then measuring real models to compare their behavior to the simulation. We’re tightly coupled now between simulation and the result.”
In 1999, he developed the company’s first line array. “It was one of those brilliant moments in a company where everyone pitches in,” Adamson said. “From the time I cooked the ideas up on that project, we worked literally day and night and turned out the first product in 90 days. We had our production team working so late though the night that we ended up crashing at the warehouse. We took that to heart and it grew the company substantially.”
“As an audio guy and a fellow Canadian, I have used a lot of Brock’s products over the years, particularly his early speakers,” says Solotech’s Dean Roney and a member of the Parnelli Awards Board of Advisors. “Since the early 1980s, he’s been innovative and able to come up with great designs of speakers that were also tremendously reliable. I’ve always been impressed with his work and a fan of his products.”
Adamson will receive the Parnelli Audio Innovator Award at the 18th annual Parnelli Awards on Jan. 25, 2019 at the Hilton Anaheim located next to the Anaheim Convention Center during NAMM’s annual convention and as part of NAMM Live. For more information, go to www.parnelliawards.com.