When the going gets tough – really tough – a lot of people just quit. This wasn’t the case for respected international DJ and industry consultant Brian S. Redd. When Redd lost the use of his right arm and leg following a stroke at the young age of 39, most people thought his career was over. Thanks to an exceptionally positive attitude, raw determination and stubborn creativity, the Milwaukee-based professional did what everyone said couldn’t be done: He built a streamlined system that he could carry and set up himself, without sacrificing sound quality, and got back to work. Innovative tricks and the right equipment, including FBT ProMaxX speakers were key components of what he dubs his “micro system.”
“Right after my stroke,” said Redd, “I put out a video and said to the DJ community, ‘Humor me. If you only had one good arm, one good leg and you could barely walk, how would you keep working?’ Nobody could come up with any good answers, so I had to work it out – you know, all of the logistics. The simplest things were a challenge: How to pole a speaker, how to carry it, how to load a truck and get into a venue. There were weight issues and I wasn’t willing to compromise on good quality or sound. There was a lot of trial and error.”
The veteran DJ even needed to figure out how to wind cables with one hand, something most of us take for granted with two. After trying a sample of self-reeling mic cable, he outfitted all of his microphones with one, and then made a trip to Home Depot for self winding cables that he could use to address his power issues.
One of the biggest challenges, though, was finding speakers that were light enough for him to carry, but that still packed an impressive sound. After talking with several DJs in England, and John Krupa of Italian Speaker Imports here in the states, he knew FBT was the brand he needed.
“I usually go over to the BPM show in England,” said Redd, “and FBT is just huge over there. All the English DJs I knew had been telling me about FBT for years. Meanwhile, John is the US distributor and one of those rare people that you meet a handful of in a lifetime – You know, people who bring out the best in whatever they’re representing and everyone around them. John’s positive, hardworking, genuine and he has a tremendous amount of integrity. I trust him completely. And the speakers? Well there’s just no other brand that was going to give me the sound that I wanted, or the quality, within the weight limitations I have to work with.
The thing about FBT is, they don’t compromise on quality so it’s a winner. Right now it’s looked at as a boutique item. It’s not something you can get at any big box retailer, so I consider myself lucky. Because of the balance and leverage it’s super easy for me to handle and, meanwhile, you get massive power with a relatively small box. My system has a unique sound that no one else in town has.”
Redd says that he’s gotten stronger since setting up that first system, following his stroke in 2011. He’s stepped up from an 8” to a ProMaxX 10” which, he says, has “doubled his sound while only adding three additional pounds.”
Italian Speaker Imports’ National Products Specialist, Mick LoMauro, explained why the ProMaxX 10” is a perfect choice for Redd.
“The ProMaxX 10A is a 900 Watt RMS, 10” 2-way, capable of producing SPL over 123dB,” he said. “Meanwhile, they have custom B&C neodymium drivers that help to keep their weight down to just under 25 pounds. So, basically, they’re lightweight, but they pack an amazing sound – a superior sound quality as compared to competitors in their class.”
LoMauro also expressed his thoughts on Redd.
“Brian is a both great asset and resource to the DJ community,” he said, “but also an inspiration to anyone who takes just a moment to see what the man has accomplished.”
Whether he’s producing one of his popular DJ community YouTube videos, or he’s out on a gig or mentoring other DJs, Redd is happy to be working at what he loves, and seems to underplay the strength of character he exhibits.
“When I was laying there in the hospital years ago,” he said, “I had to be strong. I had a daughter and parents who were watching me, who needed me. There wasn’t any choice about whether or not I was going to go back to work; I had to do what I do best. And as I started to recuperate, I met a few people that had it much worse than me – people who were wheelchair bound, paralyzed, suffering from cerebral palsy – who were still working as DJs. If they can do it, if they can work, there shouldn’t be any reason why I can’t figure this out. Being a DJ is the most rewarding thing I can do, financially and spiritually. It’s what I’m best at, and I think that’s what everyone should do – whatever that is for them.”