CHUCK AUGUSTOWSKI STARTED HIS PRO AUDIO CAREER
in the late sixties and has been at the forefront of mixing console design for nearly fifty years. In 1968 Chuck started his own production company designing sound systems and working directly with artists such as Jack Benny and Marlene Dietrich. He began touring with theatrical road shows such as “Hair” and “Grease” and worked with many of the musicians and bands of the time. Chuck’s opinions were sort after by manufacturers who were starting to develop products for this new bludgeoning market.
In the earlier seventies Chuck began to consult for Audio Techniques/Audio Marketing, a US pro audio distributor along with Allen & Heath on the development of new products. This relationship flourished as Chuck specified new mixing consoles that were developed by A&H. In 1981 Chuck became the Vice President and Sales Manager of Allen and Heath US. In this role Chuck’s connection with professionals across the US expanded his understanding of customers needs in mixing consoles and Chuck continued to refine those ideas into new products for Allen and Heath.
During this time Chuck hired Chief Engineer, John Petrucelli who became his long-time business partner. In 1991 a major change occurred when Allen & Heath was sold to the Soundcraft division of Harman. Chuck and engineering partner John Petrucelli joined forces with Crest Audio’s owner, John Lee to form the Crest Consoles Division of Crest Audio. To this team was added senior design engineer Taz Bhogal who had just moved from the UK. In the UK Taz had been chief engineer of Trident Consoles during the period where they introduced one of the first digital controlled analog consoles; the Dian console.
Chuck was responsible for the formation of Crest Consoles, a division of Crest Audio Inc and headed this new division of the company diversifying their position as an amplifier manufacturer. With the expertise of engineers of John and Taz, Chuck designed consoles that gained acclaim globally and Crest Consoles found their way into leading venues and production companies around the world. In 1998 Peavey Electronics purchased Crest and although Chuck transistioned his role with the sale of the company he found the culture at Peavey didn’t really align with his visions for the future. Chuck departed Crest Audio in August 2003.
In December of 2004 with his old colleagues and industry veterans John Petrucelli and Taz Bhogal, Chuck founded APB-DynaSonics. The letters APB reflected each of the founders surname. Sadly, John Petrucelli, known as “JP” passed away after a long illness in 2017. The pilot run of APB’s first product, the Spectra Series Console, started at the beginning of 2006.
Over the coming years a number of variations of the Spectra Console were introduced. The success of the Spectra series of products resulted in numerous market requests to expand and introduce a new variation of rack mount mixer. The development of the ProRack House H1020 used all new assembly methods and the high quality direct coupled electrical circuits originally developed for the Spectra series console. This compact console’s extensive feature set, unique mechanical design and uncompromising sound quality make it one of the most desirable rack mount mixers available today.
As the company became more accepted Chuck continued to focus on customers needs and APB developed a totally unique product called Mixswitch. Mixswitch allows for easy switch over to backup mixing products, something that became a necessity due to the unreliability digital mixers. It also allowed for switching in festival situation between two sets of consoles, one being used by an opening act and one by the headliners console. This eliminated the need to chain the opening act consoles through the headliners console, a situation disliked by most engineers.
In 2009 a new line of mixers was introduced to fill the specific contracting needs of the market. The ProDesk-4 were aimed at a changing worldwide marketplace, carrying a lower selling price and manufacturing cost when compared to Spectra consoles. These maintained the same high-quality performance, audio quality and reliability of the Spectra consoles. The ProDesk-8 variation of this product began shipping in 2010. A number of smaller Prospec sound contracting one and two rack unit mixers were introduced in 2011 to fill the need for ultra clean, but reasonably priced mixing solutions for integrators.
Over the last ten years the industry had experienced a major decline in analog mixer sales as the market transitioned to digital audio and digital mixing systems. Like many trends in the pro audio, digital technology was not necessarily the best choice for every application. Digital Mixers were specified more due to the novelty of this new technology rather than it being a better solution than analog in many situations.
After a decade of digital domination engineers and end users started to understand the limitations and pitfalls of digital mixers. The industry has seen an increase in the use of analog products and consoles. This revival has been most prominent in the recording industry but is now expanding into the sound reinforcement market. Renewed interest in analog mixers saw a number of worldwide investment companies look at APB-DynaSonics. In 2019 a large global investment group with strong manufacturing experience in the pro audio industry acquired APB-DynaSonics. Their vision is to increase the production of the current product range through large scale manufacturing facilities in Asia and introduce innovative new products.
Original Founder, Chuck Augustowski remains at the helm of APB as the company is relaunched and his lifetime of knowledge and experience will be realised in the next generation of APB products. Chuck is working on designs that will set a new pathway for mixing products in the pro audio industry. After fifty years in the pro audio industry Chuck’s most advanced ideas will soon be realised under the APB banner and his legacy for mixing console design will be forever recognised in the pro audio industry.