Rycote was founded in 1969 by an engineer with a problem – how to make audio recordings on location uninterrupted by the sound of the wind. The innovative, straightforward approach to problem-solving that led to the creation of the first Rycote windshields – made by professionals, for professionals – still drives the company over 40 years later.
Today, the Rycote name is synonymous with microphone windshields the world over, and the company’s products, which now include windshield and microphone suspension systems, are used daily by news, TV, film and recording industry professionals from Hollywood to Harare. Despite this worldwide success, Rycote remains a family-led company, staffed by a dedicated team of a couple of dozen people. Its products are still entirely designed, made and hand-assembled at its headquarters in a quiet corner of Gloucestershire in the UK, making it that rarest of entities in 21st-century Britain – an on-going manufacturing success story.
By Professionals, For Professionals
Rycote’s founder John Gozzard was a film and television sound recordist, plagued by the sound of the wind on his location recordings, and profoundly dissatisfied with the rudimentary microphone windshields then available from other manufacturers. Having designed and built something better for his own use, he reasoned that if he found his new windshield useful, so would other engineers – and so Rycote was born.
Over the decades, Rycote has always produced precision designs to high standards which have taken advantage of emerging manufacturing techniques, technologies and materials. At the dawn of the company, the then-new lightweight plastics, an air cylinder salvaged from a skip and a domestic iron played a key role in the creation and assembly of the first Rycote products; more recently, the arrival of open-cell acoustic foams, carefully designed synthetic furs and virtually unbreakable, pliable thermoplastics has driven the development of new designs and success stories.
From the early 1990s, when John Gozzard retired, for the following decade and a half, Rycote expanded and flourished under the direction of its long-standing former Managing Director Vivienne Dyer. The company developed microphone windshields and suspension systems for a variety of applications, including broadcast, audio for video production, and studio recording, complementing the work of microphone manufacturers while always remaining independent. The achievements under Vivienne’s directorship were recognised in 2000 by a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Today, Rycote is still owned and run by Vivienne’s family; in 2010, her son and daughter-in-law Simon and Odette Davies acquired the company from her in a management buy-out. Meanwhile, the innovation continues; the same year, Rycote unveiled the Universal Studio Mount, an entirely new kind of non-elasticated suspension for high-quality studio recording microphones.