It’s good to check in with Dave Malekpour, founder and president of Professional Audio Design in Boston, every couple of years. He’s an equipment dealer, yes, and while he sells a lot of gear regionally, and he does sell plenty of black boxes, his primary focus for the past 20 years has been on the high-end studio market, particularly the core of Room Design, Monitors and Consoles.
While Malekpour is a born salesman and has learned to speak the language of Engineered Solutions fluently, he’s really just a guy who likes to build and equip studios. “I come from being a guitar player and an engineer,” he says, “then got
into this world of studio design, console refurbishment, equipment integration and custom speaker systems in the mid-’80s. The speaker business has been part of what I have focused on since the company’s inception.
“I remember the company was just getting going, and I was in London and heard some Dynaudio Acoustics M1s and thought, ‘Wow! I need to get some of these to try out for clients!’” he continues. “I spoke with Andy Munro, who owned Dynaudio Acoustics and designed the speakers, and that led to us becoming the U.S. distributor from late 1993 until about 2000. Through working with Andy, I got a great understanding of how speakers and rooms were intimately connected. We later designed custom systems for NRG in L.A., leading to creation of the successful C4A still installed there, as well as custom speakers for many other studios. Then I began building custom Augspurger systems around 2000 because of client requests, and it’s been a growing part of our business ever since. Now we manufacture Augspurger mains, and it’s one of the things we consider part of the PAD fabric.”
Though PAD sells and installs monitor systems from Genelec, Quested, Dynaudio, ADAM and others, recent sales of Augspurger systems have been noteworthy: South Beach Studios added a second Augspurger 215 system with 18-inch subs for studio A, Tom Lord Alge’s room; Dr. Dre added two Augspurger Active DSP mains—one for Record One, the other for his home; Strange Music in Kansas City, the home of rapper Tech9, installed two systems in their new facility; Ginger Studio in Melbourne, Australia, purchased newly designed Augspurger GA215/18 tower, finished in Dozer Pearl Metallic paint; TC Zhou put in Augspurger GA215-A3 three-way mains in his new Beijing studio; and Georgia Dream in Tbilisi, in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, installed new GA215VS-A3 three-ways.
It’s interesting to note that while PAD has an active facility design business, the company works regularly with top acousticians and designers around the world. To help facilitate the connections even further, the company recently hired noted designer/acoustician Michael Blackmer, son of David Blackmer (dbx, Earthworks) to oversee all design and installation projects.
Blackmer has been busy lately with systems design and integration in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, for SAE Institute. Expected to open next month, the school will include three control rooms, with associated studios and iso booths. The equipment pack- age includes a 48-channel AMS Neve Genesys console, Avid S5MC 32-fader console, and a live sound lab with Avid Venue SC48 and a 4-way QSC P.A. system.
Despite a penchant for big monitors, large consoles and system packages, Malekpour knows that he must also continually stay current. He sells a lot of Pro Tools systems and Avid console/controllers, and PAD recently furthered its relationship with the company by creating a preowned Avid channel for customers worldwide, whereby anyone who wants to trade in their Avid console (or any other console, for that matter) for a new Avid S6 can work the deal through Boston.
In his career, Malekpour has introduced such manufacturers as Aurora Audio, Shep Audio, Inward Connections, Cartec and others to the U.S. market. His most recent project has been building the Sontronics microphone brand here in the States through his Pro Audio Distribution channel.
“I met the owner of Sontronics, Trevor Coley, a couple of years ago at NAMM and asked him to send me some of their mics,” Malekpour explains. “He sent me the Apollo stereo active ribbon mic, and I was so impressed by its sound—its unique color and character—that I wanted to be involved. As it turns out, they make 20 different models, each with a specific use in mind. I would put the Saturn up against any large-diaphragm FET mic out there. It is silky smooth, very natural-sounding, and perfect for maintaining the top end in this age of digital recording. And they’re affordable!”
“I think PAD’s expertise has a value to both customers and high-end manufacturers,” he continues. “We are a regional, yet worldwide, dealer, and while other companies might be focusing focusing on boxes and volume, we are focusing on projects, engineered solutions and helping clients use their budgets wisely to insure the project results in the vision they have. We don’t want to help them cobble something together and hope it works. We want our clients to be successful.”
Written by Tom Kenny, Published in MIX magazine, December 2013