Professional Sound Magazine features an exclusive profile on Xilica’s Chief Engineer, Donny Chow.
Special thanks to Professional Sound Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief, Andrew King, for including us in Professional Sound Magazine’s December issue.
Growing up, Donny Chow had a curious fascination with electronics – specifically, electronic musical instruments and sound systems. It was that evergrowing interest that eventually led him to leave his longtime home of Hong Kong, where he was born and raised, and travel to Canada to continue his secondary and then post-secondary studies.
After high school, Chow enrolled in the electronic engineering program at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON. During and following the completion of his studies, he witnessed first-hand the analog-to-digital domain revolution of the late ‘80s and ‘90s and kept pace with the non-stop technological innovations it spawned.
Having earned his degree at Western, Chow stayed in Canada and landed his first full-time job with Adamson Systems Engineering in Port Perry, ON. “That was my first taste of the pro audio industry,” recalls Chow. “I was a member of Adamson’s engineering team, pioneering the development of the company’s first DSP loudspeaker controller system.”
In 1993, Chow founded Arctic Design (the name being something of a tribute to his very seasonal new country of residence) and went into business for himself. Over the next decade, he and the company completed several performance-critical custom design projects for major award-winning Broadway productions like Show Boat and Sunset Boulevard in addition to a host of other theatrical and live event applications.
Then, drawing on his years of experience designing and developing new technologies, Chow founded Xilica Audio Design in 2002. He and his team have since been producing high-end networked audio DSP systems and control solutions for the pro audio and integration markets. Earlier this year, the company celebrated its 15th anniversary of operations and also partnered with Contact Distribution to boost the brand’s presence and profile in the Canadian market.
Currently, the team at Xilica is building on the success of its existing XP, XD, Uno and Neutrino series of DSP products with the next-generation Solaro series. “We’ve bumped up the channel counts, improved the Dante capabilities, and redesigned the modular cards methodology,” explains the company’s director and chief engineer.
Another product currently in the works is the Universal Media Controller, which enables users to easily configure and control AV systems – audio, lighting, projection, and more – via an IP/serial/IR interface. He excitedly adds that both new innovations feature completely redesigned touchscreens for user control.
Like many in the professional audio industry, Chow says his most significant ongoing challenge is keeping up with the ever-changing market and the technological innovations it spawns; however, coming up with new solutions to help Xilica’s expanding customer base makes it all worthwhile. “It’s the customers’ enthusiasm for our products and technologies that keeps us active and wanting to improve and continually achieve a higher standard,” he says.
When he’s not tinkering away with some of the most sophisticated technologies the audio industry has seen to date, the longtime musician enjoys playing and composing on the guitar and keyboard from his family home in the beautiful Whitchurch-Stoufville area of Ontario, just north of Toronto. He also enjoys being able to simply relax with his family, though he now has the opportunity to interact with his daughter, Andrea, during the business day since she now works at Xilica in its customer service department.
On that note, Chow says he loves the small and intimate nature of the professional audio industry – the fact that, often, coworkers, customers, and suppliers are also close friends. He also enjoys sharing his still-avid fascination with audio technologies with those friends, as he did when he presented a keynote on the mathematics behind fixed-point and floating-point architecture in DSP systems for the Toronto chapter of the AES in October.
Chow is looking forward to working closely with some of those aforementioned partners and friends in the New Year as Xilica launches its Solaro DSP platform and Universal Media Controller internationally.
As they have in previous years, the team will be exhibiting at the early-2018 ISE Show in Amsterdam, offering many in the industry their first look at these upcoming innovations.
“I hope that 2018 is indeed our blooming year,” Chow says in closing,
and as the company’s reputation continues to grow on a global scale with new products in the pipeline, there’s no reason it can’t be.
Written by Andrew King, Editor-in-Chief
Professional Sound Magazine
December 2017 Issue
Professional Sound Magazine is a Canadian magazine for audio industry professionals and serves the Canadian recording, live sound, broadcast, post-production, and audiovisual integration industries with up-to-date news, in-depth application stories, product reviews and showcases, and much more.
Download the full article here: Xilica_PSMProfile_Dec2017Issue