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Executive Q&A: Above and Beyond Audio

Joshua Curlett
(Image credit: Future)

SCN: How long have you been with this company, and what are your responsibilities?

Joshua Curlett: I joined SoundPro in 2010, serving in various leadership roles, most recently as president and CEO. My responsibilities include setting the vision and direction for the company, while providing guard rails for SoundPro team members and removing roadblocks along the way. I work alongside the team, getting my hands dirty, but I am also a true believer in hiring the right people and giving them the tools and empowerment necessary to be successful. My vision for the company focuses on the personal growth of each team member, which will result in growth and additional capacity for the company. I’m involved in all aspects of the company from operations to sales and marketing to planning for future growth.

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SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?

JC: During my early years, I spent hours setting up technology and equipment for my local church production, and while I was studying business management at Baylor University, I worked backstage for on and off-campus concerts/events. It was during this time that I fell in love with the AVL industry, along with the gear and people that make it so special. After college, I became a management consultant, which eventually led me to SoundPro, when I was hired for a consulting engagement. My two worlds collided, and once the consulting project concluded, I stayed on at SoundPro as the company’s CFO/COO. With my education, experience as a management consultant, and my understanding and love for the AVL industry (opens in new tab), my role as CEO of SoundPro feels like it was made for me. 

SoundPro Logo

(Image credit: SoundPro)

SCN: Where do you see the Pro AV industry heading?

JC: The pivots to remote and hybrid work, education, and entertainment over the past two years have brought the “audio” in AV to the forefront. Collaboration technology is ineffective without high-quality audio products and excellent integration. This is great news for the Pro AV industry, as it has created additional demand for both audio and video technology to address new and innovative use cases. In addition, live events are coming back. With this, we are seeing more desire and need for small to medium-sized live events such as regional roadshows, in addition to more DJ-style events. 

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SCN: What new initiatives are we likely to see from your company?

JC: We have embarked on several new initiatives over the last two years. First, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, I made the decision to open a new office in Madison, WI, to better serve our customers in the Midwest. While many would have paused that project with the uncertainty of live events, I decided to move forward with it, so the company would be well-positioned once the industry recovered from the pandemic.

Collaboration technology is ineffective without high-quality audio products and excellent integration.

Shortly after we opened the Madison office, we expanded our product and brand offerings to include video equipment as schools, businesses, and churches needed more tools for live streaming and working and learning from home. We currently offer a wide variety of video products from video switchers to cameras to projectors and displays—anything needed for a live production or streaming setup. During this time, I brought in an experienced leadership team with decades of industry experience to help me grow and manage the company.

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And finally, about this time last year, we launched a new website to help our customers find and buy the gear they need from the brands they trust, easier and faster. With these recent changes, we will now be focusing on operational efficiencies and utilizing technology to increase capacity as the company grows. 

SCN:  SoundPro is known for delivering solutions for houses of worship. What makes HOW such a unique market segment?

JC: It’s a truly inspiring, important, and large market with over 380,000 faith facilities in the U.S. It’s a unique vertical as it combines the best of installed AV expertise with live performance demands. It’s also unique in that many of the technicians working everything from small services to big Christmas productions are volunteers with various levels of technical expertise. Each facility is different, ranging from a small chapel in need of microphones and speakers to large mega churches with full music, speaker, and congregation live production needs. At SoundPro, we’re passionate about this market, with many of our team members having hands-on experience improving worship experiences using the best AVL tools. 

SCN: Early in the process, what are some of the common misunderstandings clients have about live audio system installations?

JC: Some people aren’t aware of the difference between audio and video setup challenges. Video travels at the speed of light and does not bounce around the room like sound waves do—causing distortion, echoes, and delay problems between the front and back of the room. Video systems, while they can be complex, have fewer and easier to control room-specific variables such as viewing distance, resolution, and ambient light.

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However, creating excellent audio in a worship facility, concert venue, or for a large corporate event requires “tuning” the space and considerable attention to the dynamics and challenges of the area. The good news is that new generation mixers, signal processors, and loudspeakers now have more robust digital architecture and more robust software platforms that take some of the time-consuming work out of audio design and setup, making pro audio more accessible and affordable for our customers. 

SCN: Are wireless microphone frequencies still an issue, and how do you help clients manage multiple wireless mics for live events?

JC: That’s been an ongoing issue for years, and all live sound organizations as well as venues and end users need to be aware of it. Some may still need to upgrade old wireless mics to stay FCC compliant if they are above 608MHz. Most live sound providers have already made the change. SoundPro has the technical expertise to assist customers in selecting the best solution and frequency band, depending on the location/region of the event. We can also help users evaluate the differences among the various options of wireless mics—handheld, lavalier, or headset/IEM—to help customers buy the right product for their application and budget. 

However, creating excellent audio in a worship facility, concert venue, or for a large corporate event requires “tuning” the space and considerable attention to the dynamics and challenges of the area. The good news is that new generation mixers, signal processors, and loudspeakers now have more robust digital architecture and more robust software platforms that take some of the time-consuming work out of audio design and setup, making pro audio more accessible and affordable for our customers.

Mark J. Pescatore
Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 20 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television