Pat And Brenda Brown Build On SynAudCon’s Foundation Of Advanced Learning With A Personal Touch
NAME: Pat and Brenda Brown
COMPANY: Synergetic Audio Concepts, Inc.
OVERTIME: For 15 years, Pat and Brenda have followed the SynAudCon tradition of providing in-person seminars, with more than 15,000 grads. They began making course information available via web-based training in 2010.
SCN: Pat, after earning an electrical engineering degree in 1978, what was it about the relatively new science of sound reinforcement that was most exciting to you?
Pat Brown: My degree is in Electrical Engineering Technology, which is sort of “engineering lite.” Most of it was circuit theory and had no direct application to sound reinforcement, other than the workings of components at the circuit board level. I was attracted to audio because I liked working with my hands, and had a background as a musician. I could easily hear audio and acoustic problems, but I wanted to understand what I was hearing. That’s a whole different ball game.
SCN: Brenda, your background is in nursing, but you now travel the world hosting SynAudCon sessions. What surprised you most about the audio industry?
Brenda Brown: My transition to the audio world was gradual. Two years after we were married, we bought a music store (1981). I worked full time as a registered nurse. On my days off, I worked with Pat in the music store. With the birth of our three children, I had less involvement with the audio industry until 1996 when we bought SynAudCon. It wasn’t until 1999 that I left nursing to work full time with SynAudCon.
SCN: Pat, what is the key philosophical difference between your courses for designers versus technicians?
PB: I firmly believe that fieldwork should be a prerequisite to sound system design. You look at loudspeaker selection and placement differently after you have flown/installed hundreds of loudspeakers. The measurement and design processes that we teach are rooted in listening. Good listeners can be good measurers and good designers. Software is pretty easy to use these days, but possession of a measurement or design package does not make one qualified. The real questions are “What should I measure?” and “What loudspeaker(s) should I put where?” Computers can tell you neither, but they can help you evaluate your ideas.
In the 1990s, Pat Brown served as SynAudCon founder Don Davis’ assistant, teaching courses.
SCN: Brenda, what is it about SynAudCon that seems to inspire a unique level of engagement among the students?
BB: I love people and I enjoy being with them. Every person has an interesting life story and I love hearing about it. After hearing their story, I develop a new respect for the individual and a natural connection develops. Many of our grads return for additional training. With each meeting, the connection seems to grow as I learn more about them.
SCN: Pat and Brenda, you are well known as the dynamic and generous husband and wife team who took the helm of SynAudCon when the beloved duo of Don and Carolyn Davis retired. What have you found to be the secret of a successful combined effort in business?
BB: As I watched Pat teach and listen to the attendees’ input, it was obvious that he has a gift for teaching. My job is to simply support his efforts. We have the same goal and we have a mutual respect for each other. I take his suggestions seriously and he does the same for mine. Most of the time we are on the same page, so it is easy.
A husband/wife business relationship has made our life fuller. Our common interest goes way beyond our family, home, and our hobbies. We know the same people and we experience our daily activities together. As I look back on our lives, everything I experienced has been with Pat and it has been a fun and exciting adventure.
PB: We both understand our strengths and weaknesses. We have completely different skill sets and our work environment is designed around that. I stand in front of the classes, but Brenda is the foundation of SynAudCon. It would be easier to replace me than her. It’s the behind the scenes stuff that makes or breaks a company, and that’s what Brenda excels at. Without her to run the office, I would probably go back to pulling wire.