AMT Electronics Company History
The year of 1982. The Soviet Union is shut down from the rest of the world because of the Iron Curtain and was living by its own rules and laws taking pride in its independence and self-sufficiency. It's hard to believe that the most of people living under the conditions of complete informational and cultural isolation don't even suspect there is completely different life standards, ways of thinking and communication in the rest of the world. They have no clue about what's going on in music, movies, painting and literature. Very few are aware of the existence of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Tolkien and King, Salvador Dahli and Picasso. The entire Soviet art is in chains of social realism - which is considered the only true style politically, the one which worships the achievements of the Communist Party and the advantages of the Soviet way of life.
It was in that period when Sergei Marichev, the employee of one of the Russian defense enterprises got interested in music. He dedicated all his free time to practicing with his music band. Like most Russian musicians of the time he experienced the lack of quality music equipment and sometimes its complete absence. Everything produced by the monopolized Soviet industry was hopelessly inferior to the western models. It was simply impossible to buy a decent musical instrument, an amplifier or a microphone. The priority for those few musicians who had a chance to travel abroad was to buy a good electric guitar or synthesizer, a drum kit or a studio multichannel recorder, which immediately became objects of their friends and colleagues’ envy. One day Sergey had a chance of trying MINI MOOG analog synthesizer made by Robert Moog, which was considered a legendary instrument. That MINI MOOG was borrowed from a friend for just a few days. Since Sergei was not only a musician but also an electronic engineer, he was really thrilled not only by the sound but mainly by its circuitry design.
SERGEY "The instrument was created by a genius! It was a must for me to have the same whatever the costs!"
It was simply impossible to buy a MINI MOOG in Russia. So what? He decided to build it himself!
Every Saturday evening and sometimes night for a year’ time Sergei spent in his laboratory. He was looking for the ways of adapting the instrument circuitry to existing Soviet components.
SERGEY "The things which were simple and obvious for western engineers were completely unacceptable for me. I didn't have any access to the radio components used in the original. I couldn't find reference tables which would help me to find the analogous components. Besides, most original components could not be replaced by the Soviet-made ones. So I spent a lot of time and trouble looking for circuitry variants which would give me the necessary results. All my experiments resulted in the synthesizer which of course was not the exact replica of MINI MOOG, but its sound was not worse. Afterwards, I managed to assemble three more of such synthesizers for my friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, not one of them is intact now. I wish I could switch it on again and listen how it sounds."
Soon there appeared the demand in quality guitar effects which also were impossible to find in Soviet music stores. The first one was Leslie effect pedal. This one was a must for every band in that time. Of course, one piece was not enough. Friends of mine and then the friends of my friends asked me to do more for them and so it started like this. Later there came the first flanger, fuzz and distortion.
SERGEY "Each time I had to reinvent the wheel all over again. I still had no information whatsoever. The only way to imagine how this or that effect worked was to listen to the guitar sounds on the records of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, SuperMax. By the way, to get those records was not that easy. I bought them on the black market or exchanged them with my friends, recorded them on reel- to-reel. "
And so it happened that by 1987, when the private entrepreneurship in Russia was born, Sergei Marichev gained the reputation of renowned engineer developing musical equipment. It was in that time when a small company called Asia was set up. Sergei ran the business along with other five enthusiasts - most of them musicians. The company manufactured guitar effects, March electronic drum kits which became very popular along the country, and drum midi converters.
SERGEY "The midi converter story is remarkable. MIDI data communications protocol was a novelty for us. It was impossible to find MIDI compatible devices as well as to find information about this. They were only rumors about drum midi converters produced abroad, but the potential market for these devices was huge. It happened that Valery Slagayev, one of the engineers of our team, had to analyze MIDI signals of one of the authentic synthesizers in order to simply understand the nature of the protocol. By the time when our midi converters was ready we had a chance to compare it with the one produced by one of the world leading manufacturers. It turned out that our device designed practically blindfolded surpassed the western analog in such aspects as polyphony, tactile sensitivity and playing dynamics!"
In 1991 the Company’s name was changed to Asia MT (A.sia M.usic T.echnology), and the production of the guitar effects became its main activity. From the technological point of view Asia MT’s products rose to a very high level. The original technical ideas and creative approach to solving various types of tasks resulted in production of the series of effects accessible to Russian musicians.
Whatever it was, the Company was successfully afloat and continued its penetration to the post-Soviet territory. In spite of all the problems new developments came out and the production capacity increased.
In 2001 the Company got its present name - AMT Electronics. The changes in the state economic policy finally reached this area. It became possible to receive access to the latest achievements in the radio components production. Now it was no problem to purchase every new and quality component in no time. This period was the beginning of a big breakthrough. The Company was among the first one in the country to introduce the techniques of SMD-mounting, which allowed for designing devices with the high extent of integration. The entire effect line was adapted to using the updated components. Some technologies used during the process of guitar effects design are unique and have no analogs in the world. It all resulted in commercial success. The merits of AMT Electronics’ products make it possible to compete with the leading world manufacturers of guitar equipment. For several years now the company has been taking part in such global events as Namm Show and Musikmesse Frankfurt resulting in finding foreign partners and friends. AMT Electronics guitar effects can be purchased practically all over the world.
There is another breakthrough going on in the area of new devices design. The company managed to hire a team of sophisticated electronic engineers, programmers, circuit technology specialists. The components manufacturers offer state-of-the-art parts. The world wide web granted round-the-clock and instant access to the latest information in many spheres of human activity. This search of the suppliers, partners and associates takes minutes and not years as before. If 10 years ago the only goal was to follow the leaders, now the situation looks completely different. Only in 2004 the Company developed several absolutely new devices based on the principle of combining analog and digital technologies. The traditional analog circuitry of the devices was supported by digital control and parameters storage function. This approach makes it possible to announce the coming of new devices – analog-digital guitar processors. The logical development of this idea was AMT MATRIX, displayed at Musikmesse-2005. This is a modular analog-digital processor which is absolute innovation to-day. The analog guitar effect here are located within PCMCAI-card and the device itself is a control unit equipped with card chamber, graphic display and parameters storage device.
AMT Electronics employs many musicians, the real enthusiasts. Sergei Marichev’s son, who joined the company after graduating from university of electronics engineering department, has been helping his father for several years. We are working for our successful future and getting recognition from more and more guitarists all over the world. This has become possible due to the application the latest technologies in development and production of guitar equipment, strictest multi-level quality control on all production levels and as a result perfect sounding, invariable reliable and durable AMT Electronics guitar effects.