2023 - Augspurger
Year: 2023


Augspurger® Monitors has completed the successful installation of the world’s inaugural Augspurger® Atmos system at Tonik Capital, a multi-studio complex based in Burbank, CA, spearheaded by producer/engineer Todd Tarverdian.

Back in 2011, Todd began his journey in the music industry from a rented room in a small studio in Burbank. 

Reflecting on the start, he shares, “I was a new engineer in this industry and having a hard time finding a job. I rented a room and built up some clients, but the early days were challenging, especially when the studio I was in got robbed. Thankfully, they didn’t touch my room – but I knew it was a sign to move on. It took a while, but in 2015, I discovered this great 12,000 sq. ft. facility and the foundation for Tonik Capital was laid.”

This space was not just a business venture for Todd; it was a realisation of his vision. 

He adds, “The concept was to create a unified space for recording, rehearsals, and performances. Having one comprehensive space also allows us to host showcases, enhancing the experience for both artists and audience.”

However, the path to realising this state-of-the-art studio was not without its challenges. Soon after leasing part of the building and moving in, the pandemic hit and upended all plans. 

Recounting this crucial moment, Todd recalls, “A few weeks into the pandemic, the landlord had told me that many of the other tenants were struggling financially, and he needed to sell the building. With all the uncertainty, I knew I had to secure our spot. And so, I bought the whole thing.” 

This decisive step was soon followed by the establishment of Tonik Capital’s primary, large recording space – the Gotham Room.

During his search for quality speakers, Todd stumbled across an online seller from Chicago, offering pre-owned Augspurger® Duo12s at a price that his now stretched budget could afford. 

This purchase led to a positive call with Dave Malekpour, President of Augspurger® Monitors, to confirm the speakers’ authenticity. It wasn’t until some months later – still during Covid-19 – when Todd was looking to upgrade the studio to Atmos, that Dave and Todd connected again, this time to talk about how he might incorporate Augspurger monitors into his Atmos set-up.

Dave recounts, “We hadn’t installed a wholly Augspurger® system before, but Todd was pretty adamant that’s what he wanted, after being impressed with the sound of the pair he’d bought previously.”

“People have been asking me for years to create a small speaker that could live on the metre bridge but that has Augspurger’s® power and clarity – and MX-65 was born of that concept,” continues Dave. “At the time it was still, in fact, being refined and tested ahead of its launch at NAMM later that year. We had considered that it would be great in Atmos, but when Todd contacted me for this project – we knew this could be the perfect opportunity, and were sure that the MX-65s would complement Todd’s Duo12s.”

Augspurger® Director, David Anthony, based on the West Coast, was also instrumental in the project, as he was able to visit the location and connect with Todd in person. Working closely together, they evaluated the room, and other equipment that would be needed. He recalls, “We overcame immense challenges, from global chip shortages to lockdown restrictions, to bring this project to fruition.”

He continues, “Todd trusted in the vision and the Augspurger® brand, and this led to our collaboration, and ultimately the installation of the system – before the world had even seen or heard MX-65. All pretty incredible, given the difficulties we faced during such trying times. When the project was completed, and Dave (Malekpour) came out to tune it, the three of us got to experience the sound for the first time altogether – and that was amazing.”

Tonik Capital can deliver 9.2.4 Dolby Atmos immersive sound, complemented by Augspurger® Duo 12s in the front, Solo 12s in the rear, five 18-inch subwoofers, and the flagship MX-65 and an Avid S6 M40 32 fader console powers the control room. The studio, aiming for versatility, also has both a live performance and video recording space.

Despite the state-of-the-art infrastructure, Tonik Capital remains dedicated to its core values. Over the past year and a half, it has completed over 70 Atmos mixes.

Todd states, “We’re highly focused on independent artists. Working with them often feels more organic, and genuine – and bypassing the complexities that sometimes come with labels has its own benefits. I’m so glad to have collaborated with Augspurger® Monitors on this project – the system sounds incredible. Our clients are consistently impressed, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

View full article: [https://essentialinstall.com/news/tonik-capital-debuts-worlds-first-augspurger-monitors-atmos-system/]

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Harmony and Heritage: A Journey Through 50 Years of Hip Hop at The Hip Hop Museum with Augspurger® Monitors

The Hip Hop Museum’s Reggie Peters (Director of Marketing and Visitor Services), Eric Orr, (Artist In Residence & Gift Shop Manager) and Elai Tubo (Sound Curator & Engineer) reflect on 50 years of hip hop from NYC's Quad Studios, explain the concept of The Hip Hop Museum – located at the birthplace of hip hop in the South Bronx – the birth and growing mainstream popularity of the genre, the evolution of studio technology, why hip hop is a reflection of the human experience and how Augspurger® Monitors have shaped hip hop as we know it.

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Five-times Grammy nominated, multi-platinum mixer, writer and producer Jean-Marie Horvat has worked with some of the biggest names in music, from Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, to Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and The Weeknd. Headliner joins him for a chat about his journey from growing up in the projects of New York to garnering a glittering studio career, as well as the pivotal role Augspurger®Monitors have played in shaping his craft…

We’re barely five minutes into our Zoom call when it becomes clear that it would take not hours or days, but weeks to fully dissect the life and career of Jean-Marie Horvat. Impressive as his CV may be, it barely scrapes the veneer of the story that lies beneath. If any mixer’s life story warrants a feature length screenplay, it’s his.

For the past 30 years he has been applying his signature touch to a vast array of definitive records for the likes of, in addition the names mentioned above, Jessie J, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, J Lo, Rae Sremmurd, Robin Thicke, and more. Yet, despite his reputation as one of the most sought-after mixers of hip-hop and R&B, his roots lie very much in rock. This, he informs us before we dig into his career in earnest, is something he is relishing returning to at present.

“Recently I’ve been going back to where I started,” he says. “I went on to work in hip-hop and R&B for most of my career, but I love doing indie stuff. I’ve been getting back into rock because I didn’t like where hip-hop is heading - more the trap stuff - because everything sounds redundant. I’m a musician first and a technician last, so I’ve been revisiting how I got involved in music - that was the bedroom and the house for me. Everybody says you have to be in a controlled environment, but chaos is the greatest recipe of an amazing song. The imperfections make it perfect.

“I’ve been doing a lot of Coco Jones stuff and I’ve been working with a new kid called London Cheshire with [producer] Barry Hankerson. And I’ve been doing some other rock projects I can’t talk about just yet.”

From second one of our time together - a couple of hours that feel like minutes – Horvat’s natural skills as a raconteur are immediately apparent. His rich New York accent and the cadence of his speech make him an engaging and entertaining storyteller, while the candid and colourful language he employs in conversation is frequently hilarious. As he goes on to explain, many of the most pivotal moments of his career have been the result of a series of happy accidents or a flat-out refusal to follow the established order. So, when did his life in music first begin?

“I can tell you right now,” he interjects mid-question. “I was six or seven and I was watching Sesame Street and Stevie Wonder came on and did Superstition. And seeing KISS for the first time. I remember seeing them, and Toto, and my brother was a major contributor to my musical taste. I remember him bringing home KISS’s Alive for me. And I started delving into his music and got into Steely Dan and the Eagles.

“Then what got me into playing guitar was Ace Frehley. My brother bought me an acoustic guitar and I was just mimicking him at the start. And going to record stores and being a fanboy is what got me into music at the start.

“But I also grew up in the projects, so the streets were another form of education for me. I was listening to a lot of R&B and soul, and that combination is what led me to work with Teddy Riley.”

A lot of people go by rules… I broke every goddamn one of them. 
Jean-Marie Horvat

During those formative teenage years, Horvat could hardly have predicted that he would soon be working alongside one of the most influential producers of the era. As well as co-founding and fronting the band Blackstreet, Riley is also credited with creating new jack swing, a genre of music blending hip-hop, soul and R&B. With Riley, Horvat would go on to achieve major success with some of the biggest artists on the planet, among them, Michael Jackson and his 1991 album Dangerous.

However, with his parents eager for their young son to, “get a real job”, a career of any kind in music wasn’t on the cards. Still, with no thought for anything else, a course at the legendary Institute of Audio Research allowed him to open doors that would soon set in motion several sliding doors moments that would shape the rest of his life.

“I was doing a lot of odd jobs, and to pay for college I became an investigator for Hudson County, so I was a cop first,” he recalls. “But after a while I just didn’t want to do it no more, and I told my guitar teacher and he said why don’t I become a producer? So, I went to school at the Institute of Audio Research.

“I also took an internship at Sigma Sound Studios, and I remember I was wearing this Hawaiian shirt, and the lady hiring said, I’m hiring you just because of that shirt! I got hired that day and she asked if I could work that night, I said yes. That was 1990. I was doing the phones and on my first night I met Ziggy Marley, then Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero - the legendary duo that did Appetite for Destruction and Master of Puppets. Then Raquel Welch comes in... after that I never got starstruck again!”

Not content with merely answering the phones and keen to get to grips with the studio environment first-hand, after a couple of weeks Horvat decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I was very boisterous and anyone who knows me knows I don’t give a rat’s ass about anything, I just love to live,” he says with glee. “I’d heard about this guy called Tony Maserati [producer and engineer, Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G] who would become my mentor, and one day I said, ‘if his name is Tony Maserati then I’m Johnny Ferrari…’ not knowing that he was right down the way. He was like, ‘hey, you’re really funny!’ He took a liking to me. In October that year he didn’t like his assistant so he took me in instead, and said don’t touch anything. And I touched everything just to bust balls!”

It was through his work with Maserati that he came into contact with Riley. The encounter would prove life changing.

“About two weeks later I’m playing guitar while serving as an assistant on a session, just three months into my career, and I meet Teddy Riley,” he picks up the story. “I knew who he was, but I didn’t know he was Teddy Riley. He was playing the Hammond, I’m playing guitar, and I’m like, ‘you’re a bad motherfucker, man,’ and Tony goes, ‘don’t you know who the hell that is?’ I say yeah, some guy named Teddy. He says, ‘you dumbass, that’s Teddy Riley!’.

“But Teddy took a liking to me, but what I didn’t know was that he thought I was an engineer. I was doing a practice session and Teddy comes in and says they want me in one of the studios, when I was just a runner. Teddy hits play and I’m like, ‘oh shit I’m in trouble’. He says, ‘you hear those drums? That’s how I want my drums to sound’. And walks out. I had no idea what was going on. I’d just started a few months ago when I didn’t even know what an SSL board was, and now I’m engineering the Let’s Chill session from the New Jack Swing soundtrack. I was so nervous, but I did OK.”

Though his accidental stint as an engineer for Riley proved successful, nothing could have prepared him for what came next.

“Soon after, Teddy left and I didn’t see him for a while,” he says. “I hear through the grapevine that he’s got the new Michael Jackson record and moved to California. Then we move into May 1991, a year to the day that I started working there, and the studio manager calls me to say Teddy is coming back and he wants you to engineer a session. I’m scared. Then all of a sudden Teddy’s tech comes in and goes, ‘you Jean-Marie?’ I say, ‘yeah’. He says, ‘you like working here?’ I say, ‘yeah’. He goes, ‘you know why I’m here, right? Teddy wants me to pick you up and wants you to work for him’. That’s how my career started.”

The element of chance that brought Horvat into the orbit of the likes of Maserati, Riley, and Jackson, almost transpired to drop him altogether. After arriving in California from New York, news quickly filters through that his services will not be required on the sessions that would spawn Dangerous.

“I wasn’t supposed to be on that record,” he states with a smile. “Teddy started working at 10am on Michael Jackson stuff and told me they didn’t need any more engineers, and that I’d be Teddy’s tech. I came in the next day and what I’d usually do is make a slave reel. As I'm doing it René Moore comes in and asks who I am. I say I’m Teddy’s guy and I’m doing a slave reel and mixing it. He says, ‘let me hear it’. I hit play and he goes running out. I’m like, shit! Now I’m going to get fired.

"He comes back in, Thom Russo comes in, and Michael came in afterwards, and the song was Jam. I thought I was in trouble, but I see Teddy is smiling. Russo goes, ‘let me hear the mix’. I say it isn’t the mix but he wants to hear it. He hears the bass and goes, ‘oh my God’. The next thing I know, they say, give him all the tapes! To a musician who doesn’t know what the hell he's doing! That’s how I got on it. It was the most amazing experience I had. We were a bunch of renegades, and the music industry was actually interesting. There were so many great artists being individuals.”

The Solo 8 is a magic weapon. Dave Malekpour made my perfect speaker. 
Jean-Marie Horvat

While there has evidently been a lot of being in the right place at the right time in Horvat’s career, surely there is more than just blind luck in how he got off the ground?

“I think I hear music and monitor things very definitely,” he ponders. “I have a heavy hand, I don’t give a flying fuck what the meters are telling me. I believe in different perceptions. I am a student of tones. I was doing the Ty Dolla $ign albums and I said I want my drums to hit like Dre but I want the music to feel like Pink Floyd. A lot of people go by rules… I broke every goddamn one of them.”

It was during this time that Horvat came into contact with Augspurger® Monitors and its owner Dave Malekpour. Hailed for their high-end clarity and powerful bass, Augspurger® Monitors have become the go-to brand for some of the biggest acts on earth. From Dr Dre to Jay-Z and a great many more, the fingerprint the brand has left on hip-hop and R&B is indelible.

“I come to L.A. and I hear these speakers and I’m like, what in god’s name is this,” he says. “From then I couldn’t work in a studio that didn’t have them. They played a major part in how I work. They are an amazing tool. As a musician it’s about what you feel. And those Augspurgers give you what you feel and I’m blessed to have a pair. My relationship with Dave Malekpour has been great for over 30 years. His redesign of that brand is probably the best I’ve ever heard.

“I built a studio and needed a big pair of monitors,” he continues. “So Dave visits me and says he wasn’t sure he had anything for me because I was working in such a small room. Anyway, right before NAMM that year, he said, ‘come to NAMM, I have a surprise for you’. He had made me a pair of baby Augspurgers! They were Solo 8s with two 18” subs, and when I tell you those motherfuckers hit, boy! I had everybody jealous of my room. Everything in that room was focused, hitting hard. The Solo 8 is a magic weapon. He made my perfect speaker.”

To this day, Horvat remains an Augspurger® disciple, and will consider nothing less. As he puts it, “there is nothing else like them”. And they’ve served him well, shaping his towering body of work and all the accolades that have followed. Conscious that we are about to wrap up, he’s keen to pay tribute to Malekpour not only as an audio expert, but as a person who can relate to artists and audio professionals like no other.

“He’s from the east coast, and he’s a no bullshit type of person, which a lot of the hip-hop clients really like,” he closes. “But he’s also a great businessman. And he cares about what you like and he doesn’t stop perfecting. That’s what professionals love. But I’m also a street kid and he knows how to relate to street people because of where he grew up. And he’s a musician. People love him because he cares. He comes up with great concepts and that’s how he created this monitoring system. And he helped me out when times were tough. He’s a wonderful human being.”

With a host of projects underway that he can’t yet discuss, we eventually call time on our conversation. Wherever he focuses his attention next, be it in rock, hip-hop, or elsewhere, there will be no shortage of stories to tell. To quote the man himself, chaos is the best recipe. And with a life story and CV like his, who would have it any other way?

You can read Headliner's interview with Malekpour on how he and his products have shaped the sound of hip-hop here, or you can watch it in full below. 


View full article: [https://headlinermagazine.net/jean-marie-horvat-teddy-riley-rule-breaking.html]

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Executive Q&A: Technology Meets Vibe

Company president Dave Malekpour Reflects on 30 years of Pro Audio Design...and Snoop Dogg, of course.

(Image credit: Future)

SCN: What made you decide to establish PAD?

Dave Malekpour: When I started in 1993, there were places to buy equipment, often through an 800 number (pre-internet), and then you would find a tech to install it and someone else to design your facility. I wanted to be able to bring all that together so that projects could be completed for clients with less variables. Often, clients would buy gear and not realize the costs for installation or simply buy the wrong products for the job. I also started selling high-end used gear, which allowed a lot more clients to access better equipment within their budget. My first employee was a technician, which meant we were also able to service the gear and then install what we sold. 

SCN: What’s the deal with all these musicians in the Pro AV industry, and how has your love of music helped you with your business?

DM: When you’re a musician or audio engineer, you often must find a way to make a living to supplement your musical passion. Luckily, I was able to connect those two parts of my life through the business of creating facilities and selling equipment and services. Understanding as a user allows me to see how each facility will be used; client perspective, user perspective, and design perspective together is powerful.

[Professional Audio Design Is Now an Official Dolby Service Partner]

When tuning speakers or rooms, it’s more than just hitting targets or measurements, it’s feeling the music and making sure it hits correctly. We want to create inspiring studios and environments that go beyond just looking or sounding good—we want them to work well and help clients make better music and experiences.

For musicians and performers, the spaces and sounds inspire better performances and results. This is always front and center when designing a space—from the vibe to acoustics and the equipment—they all work together to put the listener and performer in the right state of mind to be creative and reach new heights.

SCN: PAD actually has a portion of its website devoted to vintage gear. How popular is that part of your business, and what’s the appeal of vintage?

DM: For the recording side of our business, there are some amazing mics and gear that were made during a time when making the very best was the focus and where costs weren’t necessarily the most important part of designing products. Some things just aren’t made like they used to be, which sounds cliché, but it’s true.

We have some incredible re-issues from many companies that made those vintage pieces that many clients are seeking. We restore vintage consoles like Neve and SSL, tube mics like Neumann, Telefunken, and AKG, and so many classic pieces of outboard gear that many covet.

Today, when creating studios for our clients, they often want a few treasured vintage pieces, like a Neve 1073, along with the latest DAW, converters, and computer. It’s because they do have a unique sound that even the reissues cannot always replicate. I think today there are some amazing recreations of the originals from companies like Pulse Techniques-Pultec, Telefunken, AMS Neve, API, Manley, and SSL from which you can get those sounds without the difficulties of a 40+ year old piece of gear.

[On Your Business: Reevaluate Your Employee Evaluations]

Factoring upfront cost and then maintenance, we do often recommend clients get the reissues, but for some it’s essential to them to have these treasured classics and the value continues to go up.

SCN: What are the short and long-term goals for your company? 

DM: As we have grown from selling and servicing gear into a full-service design company, our goals are to continue building great studios and branch into live entertainment spaces and other venues where we can combine design, acoustics, equipment, and integration for our clients’ projects. As we see demand increase, we aim to grow our team and potentially into new locations and markets. We recently appointed Robbie Dunne as EMEA sales and marketing director, who will be focused on bringing the PAD Group brands to EMEA regions and building a wider team, both nationally and internationally.

SCN: How is PAD celebrating its 30th anniversary?

DM: We started our celebrations during the NAMM Show in Anahiem with an awesome party at one of our client studios, and intend to follow up with another event in New York City during the AES Show in October. We have also been taking time as a team to reflect upon the last three decades, and will be hosting an open house at our Hanover HQ later this year with live music, guest presenters, and a chance to hear some incredible Augspurger® studio monitors and TAD Hifi and Mastering speakers.

SCN: PAD offers so many options, so how do you choose the best acoustic treatments for a given space?

DM: There are so many great acoustic products today, and we like to blend fabrics, wood, ceramics, cork, and some cool recycled materials made from plastic bottles. Our first steps are to simulate a room’s acoustics using predictive acoustic modeling to understand decay time and frequency response and see where the challenges may be. Once we know what we need to get it to work, we can choose the right blend of bass trapping, absorption, and diffusion to achieve natural sounding response in the space.

The first part of designing a facility is to best understand the technical requirements and how it will be used, and then ensure the user experience will be top notch.

One benefit of predictive acoustic modeling is that we are able to see what to remove from the space rather than having to treat every surface, leaving as much of the room’s natural response as possible.

Visually, we can also achieve some really great looks blending attractive fabrics, woods, and color, as well as color-changing LED lighting, to achieve unique and varying vibe for client spaces. 

SCN: Your company offers design and integration services for several vertical markets. Generally speaking, what type of facility is the most challenging to design?

DM: When working for a single client and user, the projects can be easier than projects where there are committees, boards, and varying visions within those groups. Smaller projects can also be difficult when the client budget and vision may not be in line. Working on houses of worship often presents challenges, where the interiors are often older and more grand, and it is of importance that the acoustic treatment or sound system does not impact the visual aesthetic. This is also true in residential listening rooms, where aesthetics may not lend themselves to the user’s vision for the space. That said, every project presents challenges which help us push our team’s creative efforts, and we excel in that way by bringing various ideas to each brief. 

SCN: OK, time for a name drop—who has the coolest personal recording studio that you’ve installed? 

DM: This is a tough one—we have worked on so many cool spaces. But I would have to say that working on Snoop Dogg’s Beach City studio has been one of the most fun and cool projects we’ve ever been involved with. 

SCN: What is the PAD approach to fixed installation design?

DM: The first part of designing a facility is to best understand the technical requirements and how it will be used, and then ensure the user experience will be top notch. When we start the design process, we first get to understand the client’s vision, taste, and space, and begin to plan what it will look and feel like when completed. By using photo realistic rendering, predictive acoustic modelling, and the team’s imagination, we are able to create a visual starting point to be “inside” the space. This can help guide the process and explore with the client until we all love the vibe—and then we can put all the pieces together to hit the brief and exceed expectations. These plans help everyone go through their part of the project, from builders to installers, to ensure the finished project perfectly reflects the design. 

[Executive Q&A: 'This Is Different']

SCN: What’s the next big thing for audio in Pro AV? 

DM: With the rapid evolution of AI, I see products coming to the market to make things easier for clients. Everything today can be remotely controlled with an app or phone. The next big thing will be for your gear to know exactly what you need through adaptive learning. Self-mixing consoles or equalization based on an artist’s preferences or sounds from their recordings—let’s imagine it and hear it from your mind!

View full article: [https://www.avnetwork.com/news/executive-qanda-technology-meets-vibe]

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Brand statements

Launched in 2012, Augspurger® monitors use the latest technological advances in acoustic design and software to provide recording facilities with the most sonically accurate speakers possible . With astounding craftsmanship and high-quality components, coupled with incredible power and precision, Augspurger® monitors have shaped the signature sound of iconic recording facilities worldwide, counting Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Alicia Keys among its fans.

Augspurger of Hanover, MA is not affiliated with George Augspurger

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