PLAYdifferently makes instruments for performing and mixing music. We are founded from the belief that the tools used to mix and perform should be as creative and as unique as the artists who use them. So our name is also our maxim - we help artists to PLAYdifferently.
Our first product is the MODEL 1, a mixer engineered by Andy Rigby Jones - former lead designer at Allen & Heath where he spent 25 years, and co-designed by Richie Hawtin - musician, DJ and technology adventurer.
After two years of development and extensive road testing with many of the most hardworking artists, and in the world’s biggest clubs, MODEL 1 is built to an uncompromising level of quality i in collaboration with our manufacturing partners Allen & Heath, based in Cornwall, England.
Raised in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit, the birthplace of techno music, Rich began to DJ in underground clubs at the age of 17. He soon became famous for his Plus 8 Recordings label with John Acquaviva, and became one of the pioneers of Detroit techno's ‘Second Wave’ of artists. Rich went on to receive international acclaim as Plastikman on Daniel Miller’s iconic Mute / Novamute label and became established as one of the world’s most respected electronic music artists and renowned for his innovations in technology.
He was key to the development of Final Scratch and the paradigm shift of DJ-ing moving from analogue to digital and had key input in products from many of the leading manufactures in electronic music including Allen & Heath. Hawtin and Acquaviva were co-founders of Beatport - the digital retail platform which remains the central hub for global electronic music DJ’s and consumers.
Other landmarks include the RADR.dj app which allows for real-time broadcasting of all tracks played during a DJ set enabling collecting societies to finally pay the creators of music played in clubs, festival and live streams. He co-owns the technology company, Liine, which creates apps and innovative products for the electronic music ecosystem.
In 2012, Rich started the CNTRL educational platform, touring North American universities, striving to bring electronic music and education closer to young people. Hawtin also formed Plus 8 Equity with Acquaviva in 2014 – a technology-based fund designed to invest in groundbreaking music technology companies, with support from some of the world’s leading artists.
Hawtin's outstanding contribution to the world of music technology was rewarded in 2015, when he received an Honorary Doctorate of Music Technology from the University of Huddersfield.
Andy Rigby-Jones’ adventures in electronics began in his childhood when he was gifted the book “Teach yourself radio”, a classic introduction to radio theory filled with DIY projects. Admittedly, Andy never managed to get any of the circuits to work, and more often than not the reward to his painstaking hours of building was a spectacular cloud of acrid smoke. Regardless of their outcome, that book ignited something else, a passion for electronics that has continued in him to this day.
In the early 90s Andy joined Allen & Heath Limited, first in the mixer test section and then later graduating to the R&D department. Many happy and educational years followed, culminating with the development of the Xone DJ brand in 1999.
In 1999, Allen & Heath unveiled the prototype Xone:62 and Xone:464 mixers at the 107th AES convention in New York. It was here that Andy would meet many of his techno heroes, including Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin.
The next 14 years were spent busily expanding the Xone range, an incredibly exciting and productive time for Andy, however in 2014 he moved on from Allen and Heath to start his own design consultancy, Union Audio Limited.
In 2016, Andy has renewed his friendships with both Richie Hawtin and Allen & Heath as they collaborate on PLAYdifferently.
Allen & Heath
For over 45 years, Allen & Heath has been at the forefront of professional sound. Renowned internationally for its British-designed, high quality mixing consoles, the company has set many benchmarks in sound technology, developing industry standard products for the DJ, PA and House of Worship markets.
Drawing on a 38-year pedigree in pro audio equipment manufacturing, Allen & Heath entered the DJ equipment market in 1999. The launch of the Xone:464 and Xone:62 was game-changing. This was the first time a professional audio manufacturer dedicated its expertise and knowledge of top quality components, clever circuit design and manufacturing to the rapidly expanding DJ sector.
By consistently introducing cutting-edge technological innovation, A&H has established itselfnot only as the leaders, in the rapidly changing world of the professional DJ, but also, the pioneers. The consequence of this has been to create a 'seismic shift' in the market, DJ's now have access to professional-sounding, cutting-edge technology and high expectations of DJ technology manufacturers.
The Xone series mixers have become the de facto standard used by the world’s most influential clubs and DJs. Prominent users have included:
- Fabric and Ministry of Sound (London)
- Centro Fly (New York)
- Space (Miami)
- Paradiso (Amsterdam)
- Cocoon (Frankfurt)
- Womb (Tokyo)
- John Digweed
- Pete Tong
- Andy C
- Paul van Dyk