“Providing an optimal sound experience”
By: Mudeeha Yousaf
Sound, as an art form, an experience and a way of life, is the main objective behind PK Sound – a full-service sound manufacturing, touring, event production and rental company with an eye for innovation. The Alberta-based audial business relishes in its participation with renowned artists and provides its services to make any concert, event or festival beaming with acoustic ingenuity. With a team of 41 creative engineers, production experts, designers, technicians and fabricators, the company services the North American market and implements the latest technologies while doing so.
Jeremy Bridge, founder and President of PK Sound, initiated the start-up in early 2000 with a group of friends who “simply wanted to provide party goers with a unique entertainment experience, promoting the music we grew up loving. We wanted to provide more than just what you would get at the standard show. We wanted people to be completely immersed in a visually and sonically transformed environment they would never forget.” The company’s modest roots thereafter grew and their passion morphed into a group of professionals with exceptional skills, which became the base for the loudspeaker manufacturing and event-production firm. “Personally I felt there was more to life than a paycheck. I wanted to do something with my engineering and design skills that made people happy and could be remembered,” says Bridge. “I think we are entering into a new era and the best people are looking for more than just a paycheck… they want what they do to matter and to be a real part of the process.”
The vision for PK Sound was partly inspired by another local Calgary company, employing Jeremy early in his career, Spartan Controls. The company distinguishes itself from the rest of the crop through its decision to make all participants — from the senior executives all the way through to the part-time employees — as an owner in the company. By 2009, Bridge and his team made the decision to go full steam ahead and leave their professional careers in a multitude of industries and nurtured PK Sound as a full-time venture. “Needless to say in 5 years we have increased revenue by 500%, expanded to the United States, have 41 staff and contractors and are working with the National Research Council on a very exciting R&D project. We feel like we are just getting warmed up.”
The first of PK Sound’s two main divisions is production services, which is providing creative multimedia event production for events of all sizes and types, ranging anywhere from a 20, 000 person concert to an intimate corporate party. Secondly, the business provides loudspeaker manufacturing where they design, develop and manufacture their branded professional loudspeakers which are built to serve large audiences. “Our design philosophy involves five key elements and we focus on ensuring all of our products meet Reliability, Maximum Performance, Efficiency, Simplicity and Elegance. While it might seem simple, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in complexity and even the passion of design and these simple five words provide our moral compass to bring us back on course.” The company receives its competitive edge by boasting an in-house production group that allows them to continuously road test their equipment extensively before it goes to a client. “The difference between us and our competition is that we truly care about our customers’ event and success. It’s a core value and we walk the talk,” says Bridge. “Having our own brand of loudspeakers means our customers always have the newest and greatest products at their events.”
The company works with artists, promoters and organizations of all scopes, and their prominent project portfolio includes working with Skrillex, Smash Gordon, Calvin Harris, as well as partaking alongside the biggest names in music events such as Burning Man and Shambhala. “Every artist is different but they all share a passion for the music they make and they want to ensure the audience experiences the emotional connection they intended to create… Since a lot of us are musicians as well, we easily make that connection and we help take it to the next level.”
With the emerging of innovative technologies changing the way music is conceived and delivered, the company works towards merging advances in software and robotics into loudspeaker technology that increase sound quality across the entire audience while reducing time. “The internet changed the rules and has allowed artists to connect directly to their fans through social media. I believe the major emergence of EDM in North America was due to exactly that,” says Bridge who is happy to see first-hand how these technologies are revolutionizing the way an artist is born.
Like any industry, the music business faces its share of adversity, and our specific markets are more susceptible to change depending on cultural shifts. “Certain types of music become popular at certain times, artists have good and bad years. Through it all we stay very loyal to the people who have helped us, so we can help them when times are tough. Although the state of the economy does affect the viability of our business in a specific market, the entertainment industry weathers storms fairly well.” Through it all, PK Sound stands tall and distinguishes itself from competitors, proven by its recent nomination for a Tech Rev award for its latest products. As well, they receive recognition for their innovation and cultural novelty and have been nominated for an IDMA in the category of Best Manufacturer, next to Apple.
PK Sound continues to grow its partners, staff and artist affiliations, and wishes to diverge internationally and develop partnerships with like-minded organizations that are eager to bring the company’s values to their local markets. “The next few years will be challenging for our industry, but some amazing new technology is on the horizon,” closes Bridge. “We are humbled by the talent we work with every day and consider ourselves incredibly fortunate, constantly pushing the boundaries of the technology in our industry, inspired by others doing the same.”