Martinez, CA (June 11, 2018)—As of June 1, live sound industry veterans Ralph Mastrangelo and Derek Featherstone have acquired UltraSound, longtime tour sound provider for The Grateful Dead and The Dave Matthews Band, among others.
The company will remain headquartered in Martinez, CA, with Ultrasound operations director Josh Osmond and CTO Geoff Peters onboard. Speaking to PSN, Featherstone noted, “It’s life as usual for our clients; nothing has changed, except we’ll have more hands on deck.”
UltraSound’s summer touring lineup is highlighted by Dead & Company, The Dave Matthews Band and Primus; regional clients include notable Bay Area venues such as the Warfield, the Fox Theater Oakland, the Regency Ballroom and Davies Symphony Hall, among others.
Founded in the late 1970s by “Dr.” Don Pearson and partner Howard Danchik, UltraSound grew to prominence in its early years providing sound for acts like Bob Dylan, The Bangles, Tracy Chapman and others during the 1980s and ‘90s, but is most closely identified with touring juggernaut and audio promulgators The Grateful Dead—a pairing that continues to this day with Dead & Company’s current tours.
In the spring of 1998, UltraSound merged with fellow Bay Area-based sound company Pro Media, which specialized in designing and installing audio systems for high-profile stadiums, arenas, convention centers, museums and more. In the decades that followed, the jointly run Pro Media UltraSound continued to provide audio support to a broad-based clientele, including The Dave Matthews Band, Andrea Bocelli, The Cars, Primus, the Lumineers and others.
In late 2016, Pro Media was sold to Panasonic, with the companies’ owner, Drew Serb, retaining UltraSound. With Serb looking to retire, discussions for Ultrasound’s acquisition began in May, 2017 with Featherstone, a cornerstone of the company, and Mastrangelo.
New CEO Featherstone has spent the last three decades with UltraSound; prior to the acquisition , he was VP Tour & Rental, and has mixed Front Of House for the likes of Primus, The Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends and Tracy Chapman over the years, as well as all Dead & Company tours.
Meanwhile, COO Mastrangelo’s audio career began in 1980 when he founded a regional sound company in New York; a dozen years later, he joined Clair Brothers, spending the next 20 years working his way up to senior director of touring at Clair Global, before moving on to found the live sound division of VER as director of VER Tour Sound.
Despite the big changes, UltraSound hasn’t slowed down. Featherstone, currently on the road mixing FOH for Dead & Company, chuckled as he recalled “our closing call with the lawyers was done while doing a line check in Camden, NJ.” Mastrangelo, who will remain based in Nashville, concurred, noting, “We haven’t had the chance to be in the same room since I can’t tell you when.”
Moving forward, their aim for the company is to carry on its traditions—close customer service for existing clients and a considerable Meyer Sound-based inventory of Leo, Lyon and Leopard systems among them—while taking on new clients as well.