This month marks the 15-year anniversary of Pixel Pro Audio. The company branches from humble beginnings. I got a chance to ask the owner, Jay Lison, a few questions about how the company got started and thought I would share the story with you.
It all started when he was thirteen years old, renting 4-track cassette recorders from a local music store. Jay really enjoyed the idea of being able to do as many takes necessary to get the track to sound right and then further manipulate it with the limited EQ available on such machines. Eventually, he decided to go to Full Sail University in Florida.
After graduating, Jay landed a job at Smart Studios in Madison. Smart was most known for their productions of Smashing Pumpkins, Killdozer and Garbage and of course, Nevermind by Nirvana. Needless to say, this was a great learning opportunity that he took full advantage of. For the next year, Jay soaked up as much information as possible. Being part of sessions, recording bands and plenty of 100-hour weeks will do that. But then something big happened in the recording world. Jay tells me:
"With the advent of 24 bit recording, which was the big game changer that made studios put the 2" 24 track analog machines in the basement, the studio business was about to change drastically. 24 bit digital recording meant that a recording studio went from something that cost at least $100,000 to set up, to $5000, and it was obvious those prices were going to continue to drop. This is when the mid-tier studios like Smart really started to feel pain as many of the local acts started recording themselves, and that important source of revenue virtually dried up over night. It became obvious to me at that time that the recording business was going through a fundamental change, that was going to make it tough to make a living being a recording engineer in Wisconsin. It can be done, for sure, but it's not easy."
After leaving Smart Studios, Jay had setup a home studio with about $3000 worth of gear. For the next few years, he spent countless hours recording while working a day job. In late 2002, Jay and his wife had their first child and decided they did not want him in day care. Jay's wife had been making enough to provide for family, so Jay quit his day job to take care of his son. A few months went by and Jay began to realize he the potential of a home business reselling used studio gear. It was something he was very familiar with and had a passion for. A studio in Indiana was liquidating all of their gear and it was the perfect opportunity to acquire a good stock. Thus began Pixel Pro Audio, formerly known as Lamplight Resale.
The business grew over the next few years and it reached a point where Jay could no longer do it alone. He decided to bring on a old friend and shipping/logistical guru, Taylor Kreuter. At this point, Taylor had years of experience in shipping and logistics to make a business run like clockwork. Aside from the business aspects, Taylor is also an incredible drummer, and because of this career, has now discovered a great interest in recording.
For a few years, Taylor covered a lot of the bases. Eventually, the two of them would move out of Jay's basement and purchase a building in Kimberly, WI.
It was a small place, but it made a great first storefront and shipping area. Business grew rapidly and they could not keep up. The business was growing more and more. It was an exciting time for Pixel Pro Audio, as it was time expand yet again. In 2012, Jay and Taylor brought on Chris Van Den Berg. Chris has taken the company to a new level by overhauling the overall online presence. Chris is now the Web Manager, constantly making updates and improving our site while also maintaining great relationships with our manufacturers so we can get you the best gear available.
Because of the expansion of sales, inventory and website presence, the small space in Kimberly was becoming very packed. By the end of 2013, every visible spot was loaded with inventory. It was time to move to a bigger location. Enter College Avenue in Appleton.
It took some remodeling, but the new building has transformed into a beautiful storefront where our customers feel much more welcomed. Taylor is consistently working on projects to improve our store.
Since moving here, we brought on two full time sales people, Ben Thomack and myself. Ben and I went to recording school together at the University of Oshkosh and both played in the classical guitar program. We love learning about new gear and teaching people about it as well. We both have home studios that give us the experience necessary to help our customers find what they need.
In 2017, we overhauled the 2nd floor of our building and turned it into a functional recording studio. We now offer lessons for recording and mixing for our locals.
In our time sincemoving to Downtown Appleton, we have offered many free giveaways of amazing new products, we are an internship destination for local university recording programs, and our doors are open during local downtown music events to support traveling musicians and budding artists.
We love being here for our customers, so in honor of our 15-year anniversary, we are offering big savings. For the month of April, you can save 15% in store (or 10% online) on any new or B-stock non-bundled items. This is a big month for us with the biggest savings of the year.
Thank you for 15 wonderful years of business. We look forward to many more!
As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give us a toll free call at 855-269-0474, or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton! Be sure to check out our other articles here.