TC Group looks on £15m deal as sound investment

One of the world’s leading digital sound technology specialists plans to use its acquisition of UK audio equipment manufacturer TGI as a springboard to launch a new breed of ‘intelligent loudspeakers’.

TC Group of Denmark claimed speakers equipped with digital processing systems have the potential to transform the experience of home hi-fi buffs and live concert sound controllers alike.

The Danes will acquire Hampshire-based TGI, along with its stable of speaker brands including Tannoy and Martin Audio, via a £15m takeover. The deal should be complete by the end of this month.

TC Group is a major global player in the high-end digital processor systems and software used in professional recording studios. Chief executive Anders Fauerskov claimed it will soon be possible to transfer some of its technologies to mainstream audio applications.

‘Over the next few years digitisation will move into the loudspeakers, which have always been the weak link in any hi-fi set-up,’ said Fauerskov.

TC Group plans to integrate digital processing and amplification into the units themselves, creating ‘intelligent speakers’ which could be networked in a similar fashion to PCs from a central server.

Controllers of a large public audio system would be able to change the characteristics of individual cabinets via computer instead of having to move them or add filters or mufflers.

An airport public address system could turn itself up or down according to the level of background noise. And digital speakers could herald more compact hi-fi systems which allow a network of cabinets to operate around the house from a single point.

Speakers in a bedroom could respond to an infra-red remote control even though the hi-fi they are connected to is in the living room.

Fauerskov said TGI was attractive to TC Group because its speakers span the entire spectrum from domestic hi-fi to giant outdoor systems.

‘We have the digital and electronics technology, but TGI has the specialist acoustic background,’ said Fauerskov.

Fauerskov said the jobs of TGI’s 420 UK employees were safe, and its individual businesses would continue to operate as independent units.