The Story

Officially, Rational Acoustics was founded in April of 2008, but our love affair with the Smaart software platform, system optimization and acoustic test and measurement spans back over 20 years.

In 1991, a Yale School of Drama graduate student named Jamie Anderson wrote his thesis on sound system optimization and subsequently, in 1992, went to work for Meyer Sound Labs specializing on work with their SIM (Source Independent Measurement) test & measurement computer system. There, not only did he find his calling as a system alignment practitioner and instructor, but he also found his wife Karen, who was working at Meyer Sound as Marketing Manager.

In 1995, a company called SIA Software in New York City developed an acoustic test and measurement software platform called Smaart (Sound Measurement Acoustic Analysis Real-Time Tool). One of the initial collaborators on this project at SIA was a creative evil-genius named Calvert Dayton.

In 1999, SIA Software Co. was purchased by loudspeaker manufacturing giant Eastern Acoustic Works, who then recruited Jamie (out on tour at the time with the Dave Matthews Band as their system engineer) to come on board as product manager for Smaart. Jamie and Calvert, along with Barb Stolakis (previously working in EAW’s service department) operated SIA Software and Smaart within EAW from 1999 to 2008, developing and releasing versions 3, 4, 5 and 6. During the same time period Karen was the Director of Marketing at EAW and was responsible for, among other things, the marketing and promotion of Smaart.

Finally in 2007 a young programmer named Adam Black, fresh off of a stint at AOL, joined EAW as the Smaart programmer for the final development cycle of Smaart v.6.

In April 2008, Jamie, Karen, Adam and Calvert took a collective deep-breath and struck out on their own as Rational Acoustics in order to dedicate themselves to the field of acoustic test and measurement and specifically to develop the next generation of measurement and optimization software. In March of 2009, after a year of teaching Smaart classes and providing system alignment services worldwide (all the while continuing to develop our software platform), Rational Acoustics came to an agreement with EAW to become the worldwide distributor for Smaart and to take over all sales, support and training functions for the brand. Shortly thereafter, we convinced Barb (now married and re-named Mattson) to come back to the Smaart fold and join us at Rational.

In November 2009 the sale of the entire Smaart brand from EAW to Rational Acoustics was completed and Smaart is now wholly owned, operated and developed by Rational Acoustics. All future versions of Smaart, as well as future Smaart accessory hardware pieces and software add-ons will be developed and released under the Rational Acoustics banner.

From modest roots as a small start-up software company, Rational has grown to become the preeminent provider of acoustic test and measurement software and training in the audio industry. Today, we have a network of dealers and distributors selling and supporting Smaart in over 25 countries. A team of some of the most respected audio educators around the world provides Smaart Training Classes in 7 different languages in 20 different countries across 5 continents. Over 7,000 audio professionals have chosen Smaart to help them become more knowledgeable and more effective in their jobs and countless sets of ears have benefitted from the results.

tz audio

Around the same time in the 90s, Karen and Jamie worked at Meyer Sound, Thomas Züllich was heading the Meyer Sound European Service center and distribution in Germany. After Thomas moved to Sweden in 2006 and later to Norway in 2009 he started working again with Karen and Jamie. In his role as marketing director at LydRommet in Oslo he supervised the Smaart distribution and education program for Scandinavia.

After working 4 years as acoustics consultant for COWI and Brecke & Strand he started his own firm.

Since 2009 tz audio has seen a constant growth and several hundred have taken part in Thomas´ courses.