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Ivor Drawmer (1943 - 2023)

Audio equipment designer passes away

Ivor Drawmer

Ivor Drawmer, audio electronics engineer and founder of British pro audio manufacturer Drawmer Electronics, has sadly passed away. Drawmer have released the following statement:

It is with enormous sadness that we announce that our founder Ivor Drawmer has passed away. Ivor had a lifelong passion for electronic design, and whilst best known for the DS201 noise gate, he leaves behind a rich legacy, the products he designed, the company he created and the many friends he made along the way. He'll be greatly missed by us all.

Ivor began his journey in the professional audio equipment world in 1981, after being encouraged by friends to build a small batch of stereo delay lines, a project which resulted in the formation of Drawmer. The following year, the company released the DS201 Dual Noise Gate, a revolutionary product that offered a much more comprehensive set of features than the simple gate designs of the time. Ivor said that he began work on the design after visiting studios and noticing how long engineers would spend on setting up gates and realising a better solution was needed. The use of high- and low-pass key filters alongside comprehensive envelope control and an ultra-fast attack time were unique features at the time, and the DS201 quickly became the go-to gating solution around the world. The device remains in production today, and has been subject to only a few minor design changes along the way.

In 1984, the company released the original version of the 1960, a dual-channel unit that combined two valve-based microphone preamps with a pair of soft-knee compressors, and also included an instrument input with a two-band EQ. The idea behind the design was to combine the warmth and character of valve-based designs with the reliability of newer, solid-state alternatives. It is said to have been the first self-contained ‘front end’ for recordists who only required one or two microphone input channels, providing those with smaller recording setups with a high-quality device that could be used in place of a console. It proved to be a popular design that still forms part of the company’s current product range, and has seen a dramatic increase in sales over recent years as more and more people seek out the character associated with early recording equipment designs.

In 1989 Ivor and his team developed a new proprietary gating circuitry. Described 'programme adaptive’, the circuitry was able to analyse the dynamic content of an incoming signal, and continuously adjust the attack, hold, ratio and release parameters automatically, offering much smoother-sounding gating that was possible with earlier designs. Shortly afterwards, he also designed a new limiter circuit which offered Zero Overshoot and Zero Response Time transparent limiting. Both technologies found their way into the DL421 Auto Compressor, and later the DL441 Quad Auto Compressor. Another innovation followed in 1992, with Drawmer employing their newly developed Dynamics Spectral Enhancement circuitry into a compressor and limiter. The result was the DL251 Spectral Compressor, which was well-received in the mixing, mastering and broadcast industries thanks to its ability to reintroduce the high-frequency energy lost during full-band compression.

The Drawmer product range continued to expand over the following years, with the success of the 1960 leading to the design and manufacture of the 1961 Vacuum Tube Equaliser, and the launch of the MX Series offering a more affordable alternative to the company’s flagship gates, compressors, limiters and de-essers. The company also expanded into the digital world, developing a range of master clock and clock distribution systems, as well as collaborating with companies such as Softube, Digidesign, Mackie and Soundscape on a range of audio plug-ins.

In recent years, Ivor’s extensive work in pro audio equipment design was recognised by the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Studios), who presented him with an Award for Lifetime Technical Achievement to the Audio Industry.

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