Wheatstone Acquires PR&E Assets From GatesAir

Purchase includes audio consoles, networking systems, furniture lines

Broadcast-audio–systems manufacturer Wheatstone today announced that it has acquired the assets and intellectual property of Pacific Research & Engineering (PR&E) from GatesAir of Quincy, IL, formerly Harris Broadcast, for an undisclosed amount. The purchase includes audio consoles, a networking system, the furniture lines, all designs, trademarks, engineering files and tooling, effectively restoring the PR&E console brand under the Wheatstone umbrella.

PR&E is a well-known console manufacturer dating to the 1970s with more than $80 million in products and services sold globally.

Dee McVicker, a spokesperson for Wheatstone, told SVG that Harris’s console business was a good fit with Wheatstone’s own broadcast-audio–mixer line: “They have a lot of good products, and we saw this as a way to add to our arsenal of consoles.”

She said further that manufacture of the Harris consoles will be moved from plants in California and Ohio and consolidated at Wheatstone’s manufacturing facilities in Newbern, NC. The intention, she said, will be to integrate Wheatstone’s IP transport technology into the Harris consoles it manufactures. That shift will begin within weeks of the announcement.

According to McVicker, no decisions have been made about integrating Harris employees into Wheatstone, although she did note that the company values the acquired company’s engineering and other talent.

The acquisition, she added, is “an opportunity for the PR&E console brand to be reinvigorated.” Wheatstone had previously acquired Auditronics, an audio-console manufacturer whose desks were used in early multitrack music recording, in March 1999 and Audion Labs in October 2015. It currently manufactures a line of broadcast-studio products, including Audioarts Engineering and VoxPro brands and featuring Wheatstone IP audio networking; control surfaces; talent stations; audio processing for FM, AM, and streaming; software applications; and other products developed and designed specifically for broadcast.

McVicker explained that the installed base of Harris consoles also provides an opportunity to be retrofitted with IP capability.

Wheatstone CEO Gary Snow said, “We have a respect for the PR&E brand that goes way back. They were considered the Mercedes-Benz of consoles at one time, and, today, the name PR&E still stands for quality. Our intention is not only to restore the PR&E brand but to grow it and give existing as well as new customers the mobility to easily transition to IP networking.”


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