Just like performing arts, the entertainment electronics industry can be fickle. Getting your next product out the door and into the hands of artists and practitioners fast is as critical to success as making it look and sound amazing. Add to that the need to make it intuitive for artists to use, lightweight and tough for the rigors of the road, and affordable. Oh, and don’t forget those boutique germanium transistors or old-stock military tubes you need for the pre-amp. How are you going to source those?

Source Rare Components

Sometimes your product’s marketing edge is found in those obscure hard-to-find components from years gone by. Old fashioned radio valves, nixie display tubes, germanium audio transistors, or special hi-fidelity op-amps can all be difficult to source. Sure, you could use an internet search engine, but this can be incredibly time consuming and ultimately futile. The Internet is full of empty promises. You need tools for finding the parts you need, with results that are real. Even more, you need to be able to add those results to your bill of materials so you can pounce on that purchase and get those no-longer-manufactured JFETs before your competitors do!

Secure the supply chain
While you may have a few obscure parts to find, 90% or more of your designs most likely use more commonly available parts, and for those you need to get the best possible price and availability. 

  • Use Supplier Search to get the latest pricing and availability information from popular part vendors including DigiKey, Mouser, Newark (element14), Allied, Arrow and more. 
    Learn More about Supplier Search
  • Using the Octopart extension, you can find even the rarest available components. With a database of more than a million parts and thousands of vendors, finding a solution has never been easier. 
    Learn More about the Octopart Extension
  • Link the component supplier solutions directly to parts in your schematic, or even in your managed Vault (Now Altium Concord Pro) based components. Whenever you place them in a design, the latest supplier pricing and availability will be provided. 
    Learn More about Supplier Links and Part Choices
  • Create highly accurate costing reports using supply chain solutions directly from the design to your bill of materials. 
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Design Great Looking Products

For the entertainment industry, the look and feel of an electronic product is usually just as important as audiovisual quality. After all, you’re just as often selling to artists as technicians. But the days of rectangular flat-world-society electronics are well and truly behind us. You need to collaborate with innovative industrial and ergonomically minded mechanical designers to get the product to look and feel right in the hands of the user. The shape, size, and weight all matter whether it’s an electronic instrument, audio production & recording gear, or lighting equipment. Combine these challenges with the need to use roadworthy XLRs, IEC power inlets, 6.35mm jacks, AES/EBU, MIDI DIN and a host of other legacy connectors, and you have a really tough task getting things to fit right and look cool.

Make the form and fit work
We’re not in a 2D world anymore. Electronics design for entertainment applications demands Native 3D PCB capabilities, and close interoperability between ECAD and MCAD domains.

Make Many Channels

Whether you’re designing a MIDI control surface, developing an architectural class-D audio power amp, or the latest cool moving head LED lighting fixture, there can be a lot of repetitive error-prone work going on if you don’t have the right tools for hierarchical multi-channel design. It makes sense when you have several channels of audio, video, digital IO, stepper motor drivers, LED matrices, or connectors. Why use copy and paste when you’ll only end up having to rename nets, clean up reference designators and painstakingly undo errors which get replicated across all channels from the initial copy? 

Automated Multi-Channel Design Reuse
With our multi-channel and reuse capabilities, you can save heaps of time by designing the source channel circuit once and repeating both in the schematic and PCB layout. Our multi-channel methods mean you can make changes to the source and replicate those to destination channels so you don’t have error-prone messes to clean up. And wouldn’t it be really cool if you could vary component values and other parameters for each channel?

Reduce Production Costs and Get to Market

The entertainment industry places demands like no other on price due to the low to medium production volumes required. It’s getting more and more difficult to maintain profitability, and you’re left with two choices: try to make your product so low cost that every practitioner can afford it, or make it a truly boutique product that only “discerning” customers will value at a low volume with a higher price tag. Either way, high production costs dramatically increase risk, and must be minimized. 

Design for quality and Minimized costs
Once you’ve got the main design perfected, ironed out all the bugs, got the look and feel right, and honed fabrication and assembly to a fine edge, you want a return on all that time and NRE cost. It makes sense to maximize the design’s market penetration by re-badging the product and using variants of it.

  • True Variants enabled in both schematic and PCB design mean you can design for reuse, creating a parameterized design flow, and allowing the same PCB and mechanical design to be used across unlimited product varieties; just the thing for stomp box effects, lighting fixtures, mixing consoles, and stage equipment.
    Learn More about Variants
  • Managed Sheets mean getting the basic circuit elements done once, done right, and then reusing them for rapid design and predictable purchasing and assembly tooling. 
    Learn More about Managed Sheets
  • Set target BoM costs and track your progress during the design. 
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  • Even the little things that make our schematic and PCB editors natural and stress-free will greatly improve your productivity. Things like intuitive mouse gestures, common shortcuts between schematic and PCB, cross-select, cross-probing, smart-paste, and Windows® desktop interoperability will have you feeling right at home. 
    Learn More about Our Natural, Stress-free Environment