- by Kevin M. Mitchell
LAS VEGAS — The Parnelli Board of Advisors has announced that Sound Image co-founders Dave Shadoan and the late Ross Ritto will be honored with the 2012 Parnelli Audio Innovator Award at the annual gala dinner here in Oct. 2012.
“Dave and his partner Ross Ritto built one of the most admired companies in the business,” says Terry Lowe, Parnelli executive producer and FRONT of HOUSE publisher, noting the many patents that Sound Image has secured. Lowe also called Shadoan “a key player in moving pro audio forward. He inspires a loyalty in his top-tiered clients that is as envious as it is deserved.”
“Dave has always been most fair to deal with and is always pushing the state-of-the-art for his clients,” says A-1 Audio founder and 2010 Parnelli Innovator Honoree Al Sinsical. “Dave thinks of advancements for the client, before the client even knows what they need! He works hard, and I’m glad to hear he’s receiving this honor.”
“I can only accept this if it’s for Ross as well,” says Shadoan. “Without him, they’d be no Sound Image, and who knows where I’d be. But I am deeply honored to receive this Parnelli on behalf of myself, his family, and all the good people at Sound Image.”
Shadoan grew up in Sidney, OH, playing saxophone in high school and joining a local band. In the 1970s, he struck out for California, meeting Ritto in 1976. Ritto had previously moved west from his native Rochester, NY, and it was through him that Shadoan began his relationship with Silver Fish Audio. Shadoan and Ritto changed the name to Sound Image in 1981. In the early days, the young company handled the accounts for, and got an occasional boost from, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffet, Jackson Brown, Robert Cray, and John Denver, among others.
“We built or rebuilt everything,” Shadoan says. Working with Ashly Audio, they helped develop 40-channel consoles with paramedic EQ. “If we bought a power amp, we hot-rodded it to do more.” Through a longtime collaboration with QSC, they were able to improve the quality of touring amplifiers. In 1984, they made their first two-box system. They were also on the cutting edge of flying speakers in arenas, making concert promoters happy to have more seats to fill. Later, they pioneered the first five-way system with phase-Loc®, and Sound Image was the first to make speakers out of carbon fiber composite materials — the G-5 system.
In 1989, they had a major breakthrough when Barbara Mandrell, who was as big as any rock act at the time, approached Shadoan. She said he could have a long-term contract if he set up an office in Nashville. He did, and the company began cultivating a long, impressive list of Nashville artists that included Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, among many others.
Boz Skaggs, James Blunt, Taylor Swift, No Doubt, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Def Leppard are just a few of their regular clients today. Sound Image has received multiple Parnelli awards over the years, among their many other honors.
Shadoan, Ritto and Sound Image will be honored at the Parnelli Awards in Las Vegas this October. For more information, go to www.parnelliawards.com.