When Boston-based musician and accomplished audio engineer Dave Malekpour founded Pro Audio Design Inc. (PAD) in 1993, little did he know the way in which it would help shape the way professional recording facilities approached their studio design projects.
Born out of a passion for seamless architectural studio design and acoustic excellence, PAD has just celebrated its 28th birthday with a record financial year, despite the effect Covid-19 has had globally on retailers and the wider music industry.
Getting down to business
Malekpour developed a deep appreciation and love of music early in life, learning piano, guitar, and drums from the age of 5. In his teens, he experimented with the recording process and built a small home studio to hone his craft through formal education.
“I wanted to attend Berklee to study Recording and Guitar, but like many parents, my Mom was worried that music wouldn’t provide me with a stable career,” recalls Malekpour.
After working in various jobs to make ends meet, Malekpour was offered the chance to assist in a commercial recording studio and jumped at the opportunity. “They had an SSL 4000 console and 2 x 2” 16 track machines, and that’s where I really fell in love with recording and pro audio gear.”
In March 1989, Malekpour founded Anything Audio, specifying audio systems for hospitality, event venues, and recording studios, his start to becoming the authority on full-service installation services.
Malekpour spent the subsequent three years refining the core business to focus on pro studio installation projects and equipment refurbishment, culminating in the launch of Pro Audio Design. This new and exciting venture combined Malekpour’s talent for selling audio gear with cutting-edge studio design, systems integration, and technical services, offering a holistic approach to creating world-class recording facilities.
Shaping the sound of Hip-Hop
Shortly after forming PAD, Malekpour traveled to the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London to host a demo for a new client. While there, he heard Dynaudio Acoustics M1 monitors for the first time and was blown away by the sound.
“It took me a few months to track Dynaudio down, but I persevered, and it led to PAD becoming the first distributor for Dynaudio in the US. We had a lot of success with them. I was focused on selling their bigger systems, which I loved working with,” notes Malekpour. Through this exciting partnership, Malekpour quickly developed a deep understanding of how speakers and rooms were intimately connected, and the business quickly evolved.
In 1997, a client in NYC Unique Recording approached Malekpour to source a particular set of George Augspurger-designed speakers he’d heard while working in LA. Malekpour discovered that in fact, the speakers his client heard were not manufactured by a Company but sold as DIY kits for self-build projects.
“I spotted an opportunity and built my first pair of these speakers for Unique Recording, and they were a hit!” recounts Malekpour. “Shortly after, Right Track wanted them, then we put them into Jay-Z’s studio Baseline. They wanted to upgrade the original speaker system, so I added some double 18 sub cabinets, which sounded intense and perfect for the Hip-Hop genre, which was booming around that time. I’d brought the DSP crossover I was using with Dynaudio to control the Augspurgers, and that also allowed me to really line up the low end and balance for both production and mixing, and that became the foundation for my understanding of how to make great-sounding systems.”
Malekpour’s Augspurger speakers quickly gained a reputation, and high-profile clients began to request these custom high-spec systems, including Just Blaze’s Baseline Studios, Quad Studios, and Jungle City. Owing to this surge in demand, Malekpour founded Augspurger Monitors in 2000. These innovative hand-made speaker systems are still a favorite of the world’s biggest artists and studios, with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Alicia Keys among them.
With Augspurger Monitors continuing to make waves, Malekpour continued to develop his knowledge of studio design, planning, and construction processes. He fine tuned his craft, working closely with prolific world-leading acousticians such as Andy Munro (Dynaudio) and John Storyk (WSDG).
Thereafter, Malekpour joined forces with highly skilled architect and designer Michael Bashkhangy, to form Malekpour Design Partner, crediting the unique design and musicality of their projects to his experiences as an engineer and artist.
“The vibe we create is designed for artists, producers, and engineers to feel at ease while getting highly accurate results,” states Malekpour.
This unique collaboration has created recording spaces for clients ranging from artists like Coldplay, Teddy Riley, The Weekend, and Snoop Dogg, to Mix engineers Dave Pensado, Rafa Sardina, Bob Horn, and Jaycen Joshua. And the list keeps on growing.
The Pro Audio Design Legacy
PAD has carved out a reputation as one of the leading studio design, integration, and pro audio retailers globally with its small yet highly experienced team committed to the highest quality technical services and client relationships.
“Our vendor partnerships are critical for the future of our business. Our partners know their success is our priority, and we will put their equipment in the hands of top artists, producers, and studios,” remarks Malekpour.
After a challenging year globally, Malekpour’s vision for the future is to remain agile and focused on complete studio projects, further driving forward PAD’s key internal family of brands, including his latest business project, Studio Float.
Still a small, independent company in a sea of large chains and box stores, PAD continues to grow and adapt in a rapidly changing world, with Malekpour at the helm.
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