Helios Professional Audio Limited
Dick Swettenham was the founder of the original Helios Electronics company and also the new Helios Professional Audio Limited. The new name was adopted because the original company name was not available.
Some twenty years after the closure of the original company, Dick resurrected the Helios brand with the intention of manufacturing new equipment. His particular favourite was the digitally controlled analogue console about which he had written. He was a director of this new company along with Crispin Horsfield, Peter Stothart and Nick Cann. The Helios Trade Mark is owned by Helios Professional Audio Limited.
Richard Wybault Swettenham 1927 - 2000
Dick Swettenham decided to be an audio engineer at the age of 15 when the BBC Symphony Orchestra broadcast from his high school hall. He applied to join the BBC at 16 but they lost the forms!
After National Service with the RAF, Dick went on to graduate from the Northern Polytechnic, London, in Telecommunications Engineering and Radio.
His professional audio career started at EMI Abbey Road Studios in 1951 where he spent five years as a maintenance engineer. After this he moved to Argo Record Company as Chief Engineer until he moved to Olympic Sound Studios in 1958 as Technical Director.
In 1969 he founded both Helios Electronics Limited and Richard Swettenham Associates — the latter being an audio engineering and acoustic consultancy.
Consultancy work continued after Helios Electronics was closed in 1979 and this included commissioning a mixing console at Russian Hill Studios, San Francisco and acoustic design work for Spafax Television's locations in Box and Bristol, UK.
In addition, he presented papers to the Audio Engineering Society, authored chapters for the standard training manual Sound Recording Practice and wrote magazine articles for the professional press.
He died on 9 April 2000 after fighting a losing battle with cancer.
Crispin has been involved in electronics from base-band to X-band for most of his working life. As a youth, he built radios and amplifiers, but it was living in Bath in the 70s where there was a lively music scene that he became involved with sound mixing and its associated hardware.
He first met Dick Swettenham in 1983 while working for him when he was upgrading a Decca desk at Peter Gabriel's home studio outside Bath. After that they worked together on a number of projects and spent a lot of time discussing digitally-controlled analogue audio systems.
After Dick’s passing in 2000, Crispin moved into website design, hosting and management while asking a more experienced console engineer than himself to complete Dick’s work, though unfortunately this didn’t work out. Crispin reduced his web business work in 2017 and re-engaged with Helios.
Peter is an electronics engineer with a strong business background. He spent 30 years as MD or CEO of industry-leading technology businesses in the worldwide television and film sector and has in depth experience of building award-winning product supply and support teams. Peter is also a musician with his own studio and live projects, and brings a performer’s ear to the team.
In 2017 we put out a call to see if any organisation would be willing to take on building vintage Helios equipment. We were subsequently approached by an assembly company in the UK who had built similar products for Tony Arnold. This means that we have access to a production facility with a lot of experience in building pro-audio equipment along with very competent design and test people.
Website design: Caz Limited.