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Home | Library | Articles | Martinsound's Founding Father

Martinsound's Founding Father

by Joe Martinson - President
Joe's wife Annette has worked at Martinsound for almost 20 years.

Article summary: Story of a great Dad who supported his son and pro audio.

Featured in Audio Horizons Spring 2000 PDF 825k | Newsletter List

This year, we celebrate 25 years of doing business as Martinsound at our present location. But this year is also special because it marks the 25th anniversary of when my father, Art Martinson, joined our company. Martinsound wouldn't be here today without Art's love, support, tireless effort and his belief in his son's vision.

To understand Martinsound, you have to understand my dad. My earliest memories are of my father building Heath Kit Hi-Fi equipment. He was the guy that ran the PA system at our church and fixed it when it broke. He bought an Ampex PR-10 in 1960 and taped live concerts wherever he could. He's the one that taught me to solder with a 10 pound Weller soldering gun, a bad practice that took me years to break. That thing could remove traces off a PC board in less than 10 seconds. His love of building things still burns within me today.

Art loves tech toys, and as his boy, I love them even more. He bought me a Heath Kit Oscilloscope when I was 10. By the time I was driving, he had "invested" in several tape recorders, a Langevin Mixer and Altec A7 Speakers. To justify all of the capital expense, Art and I became partners. The deal was that he supplied all of the money and I ran the business, Complete Sound Service. This "Anything Audio" company did PA installations, sound reinforcement and mobile recording. The only thing it didn't do was turn a profit, since all the income went into expansion. I was quite adept at helping Art lower his taxes by creating losses.

By the time I graduated from high school, our company purchased an Ampex MM1100 16-Track Recorder and we were in the rental business. Later we purchased an MCI JH 416 Console and a lot of outboard gear. I did recordings on location, in my parent's living room (only once, when they were out of town) and at our church. When my very patient mother got wind of my plans to convert her basement sewing room into a recording studio, it was decided that I needed to move the company out of the house. Once I got married, she made sure that I moved out of the house.

In the spring of 1975 my father signed a lease (and later purchased) our building in our present location. We had finished construction of our main studio by midyear. By fall, Art retired from medicine and came to work full time. Perhaps he wanted to keep an eye on his investment. Even after he sold his interest in the company to me, he supported our expansion into design and manufacturing by loaning the company the money required to develop Flying Faders. Twenty-five years later, Art is still working hard at Martinsound as Vice President of Finance.

It is hard to believe that Art has had time to do anything but work at Martinsound and keep tabs on his boy, but he has accomplished so much more. Professionally he has taught medicine and had a private practice for over 30 years. He also served for over 3 decades on the Board of Directors of a multi-billion dollar hospital corporation.

Art is the ultimate family man. His marriage to my mother continues after 63 years and he is an outstanding father to his three children including my two older sisters. He loves his 6 grandchildren and 6 great-grand children and looks forward to family travel and get-togethers. Art's generosity extends beyond his family. He is a philanthropist, sharing his talents and resources with his church, community, family and friends.

On behalf of all of the people, both in and out of the pro-audio business, who have been touched by Art Martinson and his quiet, behind the scenes contribution, I want wish him a happy 85th birthday. I would also like to personally pay my father a special tribute: "Happy Founding Father's Day, dad."

Joe Martinson
President, Martinsound, Inc.

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