Raising the Bar of Quality and Expertise

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 828   By: Robert E Martin

09th June, 2016     0

For nearly two decades’ musician Dan Ardouin has set the bar of musical quality at a high level through his impeccable and detailed work with the award winning Rock band Jedi Mind Trip; and for over a year now he has shifted his sights to one of the most important components involved with the delivery of any musical message:  the quality of sound that an audience hears during live performance.

Last year Danny decided to join forces with ace sound engineer Joe Christensen in order to fashion together the latest arm of the Jedi empire in the form of Jedi Mind Trip Sound Company – an entirely new venture dedicated entirely to delivering state-of-the-art quality sound mixing to larger venues, festivals, and events throughout the region.

“Everything got started when I wanted to begin running sound for my band in order to better control the quality,” explains Danny. “Then Joe got on board and told me if I kept buying all this equipment, we could develop a flying system and actually start using it at mid-level shows.  We got that going last year with the Party on McCarty and with the summer shows at Tittabawassee Township Park, along with a couple other festivals, so this year our goal is to make it official and become a full-blown company.”

In terms of physical equipment, Christensen notes the distinguishing factor with Jedi Sound Company is simply one of keeping up with technology. “Our stuff is more up-to-date- and my goal is to be on the leading edge of technology with everything we do,” he reflects. “From digital mixing counsels to wireless WiFi, to controlled lighting & sound, we want to be on the cutting edge.”

“As an example,” he continues, “when I’m working with Jedi Mind Trip and we’re doing a wedding, there aren’t a lot of weddings or corporate events where they want you to put the sound board right out front of the audience or in the center of the room, so 80% of the shows that I mix I go wireless.  And with the bigger shows, we have a 48-input digital counsel – a Midas Pro 1 – that can handle any midsize venue around here.  This is kind of our goal – to lean forward and capture more of that market.”

Given that the Mid-Size market to which Joe refers consists of venues like First Merit Event Park, along with the festivals they are currently pursuing, along with the larger Halls in the region, the key attributes they bring to the table are quality and expertise.

“Quality is the goal,” states Danny. “I want this company to provide the best quality product possible.”  And by teaming up with Christensen, he couldn’t have found a more competent ally.

Joe’s own background begins back in the ‘80s at the legendary Watermelon Sugar Instruments, which once was a cornerstone of Old Town Saginaw. “I met Jim Schmidtke and Mark Simoni and learned about sound from them,” explains Joe. “I bought my first sound rig from them, which was a DJ rig. My goal back then was to be a wedding DJ, but that didn’t go so well, so I started learning more about sound mixing and started working with my cousin, Mick Furlo, back when he had Donny Brown in the band.”

Joey cut his chops working for an audio company south of Lansing called Stage & Sports Audio that was based in Charlotte and mixed a lot of the bigger Midwest shows and state fairs. “I worked with everybody from ZZ Top to 38 Special and Cheap Trick, so cut my teeth during those days. On one occasion I Had to go do a 10-day fair in Knoxville and that’s how I met Joe Diffie. Then at another show in Arkansas I ran into Diffie again, and we exchanged phone numbers.  I ended up working with Joe for about five years. After that I met a girl and came back to this area to settle down, only that didn’t work out so well.  I played in a band for awhile and then worked the European circuit with The Verve Pipe.  Subsequently, I began dabbling in local stuff again, which is when I met Dan and started mixing for Jedi Mind Trip.”

“I basically told the band that if we want to be great, we need to get Joe behind the mixing board,” states Danny. “I’m not the technical part of Jedi Sound Company, but the owner of it; and for me my focus is on being a musician and making other musicians out there happy.” 

“We use professional monitors and sound just as good or better on-stage as we do off-stage, and that’s incredibly important. Musicians need to be able to hear themselves on stage, which is why I built my first monitor rig – I couldn’t hear myself properly while performing, which is a common problem.  If you can’t feel good on stage it definitely affects your performance.”

Having recently secured the Hamilton Bash in August, which will feature three stages of live musical performances over a 3-day time span, along with the Munger Potato Festival, the buzz is certainly beginning to blossom about Joe and Danny’s latest venture.                                                                                    

And in terms of pricing, Dan says their goal is not to undercut anybody. “Our rates are priced in line with the equipment and knowledge that we have,” he reflects. “We’re not fighting with any of the local competitors on price because we don’t want that. Anybody that wants pro-tech audio we are open to servicing. We win jobs based on the quality and experience that we bring to the table.”

If you would like to find out more about Jedi Mind Trip Sound Company, you can contact Dan Ardouin for more information, price quotes, questions, and bookings by phoning 989-964-9694.


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