Connect
To Top

Meet Brian Berdan of Audio Element in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Berdan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Audio Element was born of my childhood experience and my apprenticeship with my father. I grew up in an audiophile home; my dad loved quality sound, and he made his living selling hi-fi audio products and repairing/modifying turntables. As a kid, there was always good music playing in the house – the best recordings and the best gear. Our family Sundays were spent at the record swap meet and listening to Dr Demento on the stereo while we cleaned our new finds. Believe me, 4am when you’re 8 (with a miners light on) is not that much fun…but looking back on it now, it was a great experience that shaped my love for music today. I remember my dad walking me through my first turntable at 8 years old, a Micro Seiki DDX-1000. After watching my carefulness and attention to detail, he let me fly solo.

Outside of the realm of audio, I was also exposed to other specialty hobbies like motorcycle racing, Formula 125 Shifter Kart racing, and all things mechanical. As a child, I was constantly building and engineering: modifying my model trains to go faster and fashioning a car that I had built out of Legos and popsicle sticks with a model rocket engine (dangerous, but it worked).

I worked for my dad through college and gradually became more and more involved with the family business and industry all together. I enjoyed our day-to-day discoveries of music and the best ways to reproduce it, as if I was there when it was initially recorded. In 2001, I decided to pursue the hi-end audio industry full-time. Apprenticing for my dad, I learned a substantial amount of all he had to teach. Whether it was histories of manufacturers and which products sound best when paired together, to the intricacies of turntable setup, repair and modification. We had a good run for about 10 years working together, but unfortunately he passed away in 2013, and it was then that it became clear I needed to start my own store and carry on where he left.

At Audio Element, we have old school experience with a new school approach. I’ve taken the roots of quality sounding products and expert turntable setup, and added the elements of approachable and intuitive shopping. I want to make the buying experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. The legwork has already been done for customers through our vetting of manufacturers, their products, and exploring all their pairing potential. We have a beautiful store in Old Town Pasadena where music lovers can stop in and listen to the world’s best audio systems at any budget. Our staff educates on the nuances of our products and we’re happy to discuss all things sound (analog or digital) while playing great music on great systems. In our store, we’ve created a turntable bar that allows the auditioning of turntables and cartridges in the most delineating and efficient manner. We’ve also created turnkey turntable packages depending on budget, so customers can easily select a quality system at their desired price point. While we specialize in turntable sources, we also carry the best in digital sources because we ourselves appreciate their ease. Our whole staff loves music whether they create it themselves or just enjoy listening, and we strive to share our passion with as many people as possible.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Typical long hours and sleepless nights when opening your own business, but overall the opening of Audio Element has been pretty smooth. I was fortunate enough to have extensive support from friends, family and my industry whom were all pivotal to our success. I’m grateful that every year we keep getting stronger. Prior to Audio Element, I faced some life-defining challenges. The last few years before my dad died, he was pretty sick; and managing his illness along with the business was a serious challenge. After his death, I had to make some big decisions to move in my own direction.

Please tell us about Audio Element.
Audio Element is a family-owned business and specialty retailer in Old Town Pasadena. We connect music lovers with their music by offering the best quality and sounding audio products for all budgets. Specializing in home and portable audio, we carry headphones, turntables, digital audio players, amplifiers, speakers, and cables. Known most for our turntable setup and repair, clients come to us from all over Southern California. As well, Brian is well-known in the industry for system setup and is flown around the world to ensure the best sound for products in rooms.

We have old school experience with a new school approach. Brian has taken the roots of quality sounding products and expert turntable setup, and added the elements of approachable and intuitive shopping. We want to make the buying experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. The legwork has already been done for customers through our vetting of manufacturers, their products, and exploring all their pairing potential. We have a beautiful store in Old Town Pasadena where music lovers can stop in and listen to the world’s best audio systems at any budget. Our staff educates on the nuances of our products and we’re happy to discuss all things sound (analog or digital) while playing great music on great systems. In our store, we’ve created a turntable bar that allows the auditioning of turntables and cartridges in the most delineating and efficient manner. We’ve also created turnkey turntable packages depending on budget, so customers can easily select a quality system at their desired price point. While we specialize in turntable sources, we also carry the best in digital sources because we ourselves appreciate their ease. Our whole staff loves music whether they create it themselves or just enjoy listening, and we strive to share our passion with as many people as possible.

Pricing:

  • Headphones starting at $99
  • Turntables starting at $249
  • Turntable System Packages starting at $895

Contact Info:

  • Address: 117 E. Union St
    Pasadena, CA 91103
  • Website: www.audio-element.com
  • Phone: (626)393-5758
  • Email: sales@audio-element.com

Image Credit:
Danny Liao Photography & Jennifer Berdan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in