In the early ‘90s, armed with a stack of classifieds and a payphone, Detroit area brothers Michael and Andrew Nehra started buying and selling vintage recording equipment. Celebrating its 20th anniversary
this year, Vintage King Audio (http://vintageking.com) is now recognized worldwide as the leader in pro audio specializing in new, boutique, classic and hard to find professional gear.
The slightly longer history begins in the family basement, where the Nehra brothers first recorded and produced projects together as teenagers. As their experience grew, so did their studio, leading them to establish their own facility, the White Room. As working musicians and studio owners, the Nehras were always on the lookout for boutique and vintage gear to outfit the studio.
In the early ‘90s, with exchange rates favorable, Mike headed to London for Neve gear he’d tracked down using a stack of trade magazines and classifieds. They put a good deal of the gear to work, electing to sell a few select pieces.
With sales interest higher than expected, Andrew and Mike soon found themselves as the sole buyers and sellers for their fledgling business, assuming the roles of shipping, receiving, repair and customer service departments along the way.
What started as a vehicle to feed their gear habit officially evolved into Vintage King Audio. They soon began expanding their staff (currently 60), client list and ever-growing roster of high end equipment. They also hired a full-time tech staff (currently 12) to restore everything from consoles and mics to modules. Vintage King Audio offers a unique “Premium VK Serviced Warranty” on all serviced gear, whether purchased from Vintage King or elsewhere. All service work and warranty repairs are performed in-house by the company’s highly credentialed technical staff, offering over 150 years of combined experience in the industry.
In addition to free gear consultations, the multi-million dollar company offers gear trade-in and refurbishing services and on-site turnkey installations, ensuring exceptional service and support after the sale. Far surpassing the basic functions of an audio dealership, however, Vintage King Audio values its long-standing partnerships with manufacturers and stays connected with the professional audio community through hosting frequent events, panel discussions and product launches.
Twenty percent of its business is still selling vintage gear, while the other 80 percent of its business is selling handmade boutique vintage- styled gear that is hard to find anywhere else, as well as the highest end new equipment.
While Vintage King Audio’s home base consists of two buildings in Ferndale, MI (including a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse and tech shop), the company recently opened VKLA, a Los Angeles (Echo Park) showroom and demo studio. The 3,000 sq. ft. facility functions as a cultural center for L.A.’s bustling audio community as well as a premium destination for experiencing boutique gear the way it’s meant to be seen and heard.
In contrast to standard online gear outlets, VKLA makes choosing gear a multidimensional sensory experience. Customers can explore a vast selection of boutique and vintage options, all under one roof and in an acoustically tailored listening environment. They can bring their own Pro Tools session or sound files and audition “the finest audio gear in the world, in a proper studio environment, allowing for informed buying decisions” says Tom Menrath, head of Strategic Development.
VKLA’s frequent educational events, high-profile workshops, gear shootouts, and product launches provide the L.A. audio community with a key cultural center that reflects the area’s tremendous impact on the industry. The flagship Los Angeles showroom includes over one hundred 500 Series Modules, seven world class recording consoles (including the API 1608 with automation and the SSL AWS 948) and 40 of the world’s best vocal mics.
Vintage King Audio has sales representatives around the country, including Boston, New York, and Chicago.
Contact Vintage King Audio, 888-653-1184, http://vintageking.com