Steve Christensen – Co-Founder
Steve Christensen has been an innovator in audio-related fields for over 25 years, coming up through the ranks via the telecom industry. He is also an active musician on a local level, currently playing guitar and bass in three different projects. This allows him to stay on the cutting edge of technology and to experience first-hand the myriad remaining difficulties in live performance.
After obtaining his BSEE from Penn State in 1982, Steve worked for a number of non-audio companies and learned how to be a design engineer. For fun he played guitar in a progressive band that relied heavily on technology for sounds. In 1985 Steve had an idea for a TDM-based audio and control connectivity scheme and he would often stay after-hours and make simulation runs to verify the viability of these ideas. Eventually he became a chip designer for a company that made high-capacity telecom switching equipment, and was able put these ideas into practice. His personal dream of TDM for audio was ready. In 1989, Steve moved to Digidesign where he evangelized and implemented what became the underlying TDM system architecture for ProTools. ProTools became the recording industry’s de facto standard Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), and as such was the principal driver of change during the complete change-over from analog tape decks, mixing consoles, and effects to their virtual digital equivalents. The TDM infrastructure was ProTools’ secret weapon; it allowed Digidesign to provide complete system-level solutions while its competitors could only offer individual products. It also enabled 3rd-party participation, which resulted in the creation of the tent-town of TDM plug-in vendors surrounding the Digidesign booth at conventions. Steve’s design of the custom chip that made it all run was also an insurmountable barrier-to-entry for would-be competitors.
After leaving Digidesign, Steve moved to Telex where he designed their digital matrix intercom system called RTS ADAM. Featuring a one-thousand-channel TDM backplane bus and custom chip that included the distributed matrix mixer, it was released in 1994 and has been the principal communications system for every Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996. It quickly became the market leader in the broadcast intercom segment and remains there to this day in its original form.
From 2002 to the present, Steve has been involved in various start-up companies, including one in which he designed a medium-scale digital beltpack intercom system.
Steve’s work in creating Amelia’s Compass fulfills a desire to go back to where his passions lay – to finally design and sell products directly to working musicians that ease the difficulties involved in staging live performances.
Liz Grove – Co-Founder
Liz has a background in both the performance and business side of the music industry. She received her degree in classical piano performance from Penn State University. She started her music business career in the mid-80’s working radio promotion at Chrysalis Records with artists such as Billy Idol, Jethro Tull and Sinead O’Connor. From there, she moved to KOCH Entertainment (now Entertainment One) in its first year of operation. As a principal in this start-up venture, she helped KOCH Entertainment become the leading independent music distributor through the 80’s and 90’s by offering an alternative to the traditional system of regional independent or national major label distribution. It was their use of technology (robotic order processing) and business strategy (consignment contracts with independent labels) that allowed them to gain a market share of what was otherwise a seemingly impenetrable industry. Liz oversaw the operations, distribution, logistics and business side of KOCH and brings this experience in technology and business strategy to Amelia’s Compass.
After 20 years in New York City, Liz returned to her home town of State College, PA where she is involved in the local music scene as a keyboardist in an all original rock project and a prog cover band. As an advocate for technology and an active performer – she uses a Macbook Pro and Mainstage in her keyboard rig- she knows first-hand the difficulties in marrying these two worlds. Using technology can be an intimidating and frustrating process. The creation of Amelia’s Compass provides a platform to change this by allowing technology to become an agent of creativity, power and innovation for the performing musician.