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The Total Experience

A first-hand look at the ongoing product engineering and research & development approach at JBL Professional...

By Ken DeLoria February 13, 2014

A "torture chamber" for testing driver durability at JBL. A larger version of this photo appears later in the article.

There’s a lot going on at JBL Professional these days, which I recently witnessed first-hand in spending a day at the company’s headquarters on the Harman Professional campus in Northridge, CA. My host was Paul Bauman, a delightfully unassuming man who was recently promoted to the post of associate director of tour sound based upon the success he’s fostered over the past seven years.

To say that Bauman came to his current role with significant experience is an understatement. Working in pro audio for more than 30 years, he’s held key positions at Maryland Sound, Adamson, and L-Acoustics, where he served as head of research & development in France for several years.

On the academic side, he has a B.Sc. in Physics and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University in Canada, along with a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Waterloo (also in Canada), and Ph.D. candidate studies at Chalmers University of Applied Acoustics in Sweden. His time in academia included mentoring by the famous duo of John Vanderkooy and Stanley Lipshitz at Waterloo.

Bauman provided with me with an extensive tour of the facilities, choosing to highlight some of the seemingly small but critically important components that make a world of difference in sonic quality. We also spent plenty of time listening, which of course is the “proof of the pudding,” as the saying goes.

Paul Bauman, associate director of tour sound at JBL. (click to enlarge)

We were joined by Henry Goldansky, named director of engineering earlier this year, who brings a passion rarely seen in a corporate environment. Besides being extensively experienced in loudspeaker design and holding a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, he’s clearly a lover of music.

This was on display as he served as “DJ” in a nicely equipped demo room, selecting outstanding material that admirably revealed the fruits of the effort that went into creating a pivotal engineering advancement that bridges live sound reinforcement to studio monitoring in a new way. (I’ll describe the details shortly.)

Pro audio regulars know that parent organization Harman also plays a key role in fostering engineering synergies, product compatibilities, and comprehensive solutions. This cooperative side of the venture includes leading entities Crown, BSS, Studer, Soundcraft, dbx, Lexicon, AKG, and even high-end audiophile manufacturer Mark Levinson.

JBL director of engineering Henry Goldansky. (click to enlarge)

Complementing JBL Professional’s Tour Sound team consisting of Eric Friedlander (product manager) and George Georgallis (technical support lead), on the Harman Pro side Brian Pickowitz was recently promoted to associate director, Global Live Sound and Rental Systems with tour sound veterans Raul Gonzalez and Vincent “Vinnie” Perreux, providing application engineering support for domestic and international territories. According to Pickowitz, the group is extending the depth of the relationship between Harman and its customers. 

“We recognize that partnership requires a considerable commitment before, during and after the sale,” he told me. “Our strengthened commitment to training and support will ensure that customers in the live sound and rental communities extract optimal return from their investment in our platform. If we can provide customers with greater consistency in terms of system performance and setup efficiency, then we’ll help improve their businesses.”

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About Ken

Ken DeLoria
Ken DeLoria

Over the course of more than four decades, the late Ken DeLoria tuned hundreds of sound systems, and as the founder of Apogee Sound, he developed the TEC Award-winning AE-9 loudspeaker.


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