BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Aviate Audio was founded by University at Buffalo grads Shane Nolan and Ryan Jaquin. The pair were in UB’s electrical engineering MBA program and graduated in 2018.
Aviate designed the Multiverse pedal to connect users to “a growing library of effects from a variety of independent developers.”
Nolan said the idea came from limitations he and Jaquin faced when selecting their own guitar gear.
“We’re both longtime students of the instrument and passionate, as engineers, about the gear that we use,” he said. “We were looking sort of creatively about the future of guitar effects, knowing that digital technology is playing a huge role and going to become even more important in this space going forward.”
The concept began in 2018, when the pair were still students.
“We rethought the whole paradigm for audio effects and came up with this Multiverse concept, where people can all share their sounds on a single platform that gives us all this access to tools, not only that we create ourselves, but tools that other people and other companies can make,” Nolan said. “We used that concept and built out a business plan, which sort of led to a whole other string of events that eventually became the founding of our company.”
Jaquin said what most digital experiences lack is the fun of the analog pedalboard experience of seeing the artwork and branding on each individual digital pedal. He said the Multiverse remedies this by allowing developers to upload their own branding to the digital marketplace, so users can still have the analog feel on the platform.
“Each brand has their own artwork that’s associated with the pedal and their own unique sound and culture, and that is all lost with the current digital tools,” he said. “(With the Multiverse), the user can take advantage of that kind of analog experience, where they get to curate their own collection of effects from a bunch of different brands that they love and still get all the convenience of digital, being able to download them to the pedal instantly.”
Nolan noted the flexibility digital offers, as more and more people use digital effects and processing to get the sound they’re looking for. He said the Multiverse was created to take take fuller advantage of the limitless possibilities digital offers than other products on the market. He said that it’s about having variety, while preserving the creativity of the individual artists.
“The biggest thing is the third-party developer aspect of it,” Jaquin said. “We provide the platform, the hardware and the software tools, that really allow anybody to create their own digital effects from scratch, and then they can submit them to us and we curate them in an online marketplace.”
He said that by allowing different companies to participate, Aviate Audio is “unlimited” in what they can provide in an “ever-growing marketplace” of brands.
“That’s why we call it the Multiverse, because it’s vast and all these brands can participate,” Jaquin said.
He added that the product provides a nice bridge between studio recordings and live show experiences, as it allows producers and recording artists to open up their product line to guitar players, and allows guitar players to use those effects for live gigs without having to use a pedal to approximate the effect they used in the studio.
Nolan said the best thing the company’s been able to do is meet with developers to allow them to try the pedal out.
“(We) show them the product, get it in their hands so they can try it out,” he said. “They see the examples of what’s been done with it and think, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting, I have my own ideas, so maybe I could develop those ideas and get them on a pedal for the first time.'”
The founders called the Multiverse a long-term development project, but were happy to be able to debut it. Now, the company is looking for developers to help grow the library of effects. They talked about how those in Western New York can get involved in particular.
“If you’re in our community and you’re interested in music or music effects or programming or audio at all, we want to meet you and connect with our community and the people who are passionate about those things in our area,” Jaquin said.
Aviate Audio’s first endeavor, the Airpatch, was designed to wirelessly control effects pedals with a controller to loop a combination of effects with the press of a button. To learn more about the company, click here.
Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.