The Purple Audio Story
Purple Audio was founded by Andrew Roberts in 1997.
While attending NYU’s music technology program in 1994 Andrew bought, sold and repaired recording equipment from a dorm room on the college campus.
In the fall of 1996, Andrew was introduced to John Klett who invited him to join a new repair shop in midtown Manhattan. This shop, dubbed Tech Mecca, was the new location for Manhattan Audio, a large repair facility and wiring company and Klett’s new midtown home. Andrew apprenticed under Klett and began repair on high-end audio gear.
By the fall of 1997 Purple had introduced the MC76. Soon after Purple Audio’s inaugural AES show Purple needed more space, the operation was moved to a loft in Long Island City, Queens. This large space provided overflow space for Tech Mecca’s large projects.
Purple Audio spent the late 90s and early 00s shipping the MC76 and getting involved in console and tape machine rebuild projects. Andrew studied analog circuit and logic design, seeing it in practice during field service calls to major studios in the area. While sales of the MC76 started to drop off as a result of a new competitor’s ad campaign, which in turn brought increased awareness of the MC76 product and user comments proved that the Purple Audio product was clearly superior. Distribution was finally achieved and Purple Audio began selling direct and through select dealers.
Then began a long process in console design. Andrew designed a couple of large master sections, which were retrofitted into existing consoles. The master sections went through several design revisions before the Super 8 modules were designed. The process resulted in op amps and a mic preamp design that later became the Biz. Eventually Purple delivered 16 channel portable rigs and a 32 channel full-blown console.
The Next Evolution
In 2006 the bold move was made. Purple Audio uprooted its operations in New York and shifted focus to a new location in Pennsylvania. Andrew settled in the quaint little river town of Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania, where he began restoration of a 1850’s Victorian home. Just a short drive from his new residence Purple’s new location was up and running in a 1000 sq ft. industrial complex in Weissport PA. The shop in New York still exists and is the home of Coral Sound, Exile Studios, Technical Audio, & Eisen Audio.
Upon his move to Weissport, PA in 2006 Andrew was now freed from the distractions of New York, Exile, and repair work. This allowed him to focus on the design work he had anxiously been working toward for years. With that came the completion of the new Purple Audio products in 2007 : the Action, Cans, Pants, Sweet Ten ready for the AES show with actual production the first few months of 2008.
In 2011 Purple Audio once again upgraded its facilities and purchased a historic fire company in Jim Thorpe PA, called the “Marion Hose”.
Located just blocks away from Andrews residence in Historic Jim Thorpe PA. The Building was sold to Purple Audio by the Mauch Chunk Historical Society. An entire year was devoted to the gutting and refitting of the new Purple manufacturing facility. While respecting the original historic architeture the exterior remains intact and historically correct while the interior reflects a NYC style loft with a hi-tech organic flare. The second floor is primarily for design and manufacture, and an area designated for an artist lounge, kitchen, bath and views. More to come on that.
On the Horizon at Purple
A new and expanding vision is on the horizon for Purple Audio at the Marion Hose building, with plans for a world-class recording studio, featuring Purple Audio gear to demo and test drive. The surprising feature to this venture is that the new Marion Hose location is conveniently attached to one of the best live listening venues in the northeast, The Mauch Chunk Opera House.
In the upcoming year Purple will unveil its full capability as not only the designers and manufacturers of fine audio gear, but as a fully outfitted world-class recording destination. Combined with the town’s reputation as one of America’s top ten coolest small towns and the Opera House’s schedule of fine national and international touring artist, Purple will offer a superior environment for the creative recording process.
A Shout Out
Over the years Andrew has received much input from colleagues and former employees.
Continued design consulting from:
Ed Anderson – Designer of the Purple ODD & TAV EQ
Jens Jungkurth – Eisen Audio – Designer of the Purple Lilpeqr
John Klett – Tech Mecca
Dan Zellman – Zeltec R&D
Matt Marinelli – Coral Sound
Noah Murphy – MMT/YPD