Getting To Know… David Dohrmann

This week, David Dohrmann, director of Application Install, EMEA
 at L-Acoustics, takes the hot seat for our Getting To Know interview…

How did you get into the industry?
Like probably many of us, I was trying to make a career as a musician first, which then led me to gigs as a recording engineer. First, in my little home studio, then managing to get some random work in “real” studios as well as bigger live productions – but still doing only recording.

It was in the early 2000s when many of the commercial studios started to suffer from the fact that production tools became much more affordable overall. However, it did not stop me from enrolling in a sound engineer academy in Düsseldorf. During the study I started to work for local live production companies. Mostly corporate gigs, but also some concert events or other interesting things here and there.

What was your first job?
Right after high school, I started to do regular gigs as a musician playing keyboards in several bands in Berlin, as well as doing some jazz gigs in restaurants. My first “proper” job on payroll was as stage hand for broadcast AV teams. That was before the live production gigs, as I was still at university.

What does your working day look like?
Before Covid, I was travelling between France and Germany regularly, doing meetings with the European sales and application teams at HQ, and supporting my team with on-site missions or doing joint client meetings with the sales team. Then working from my home office for the rest of the month on internal projects. It was a nice blend of duties.

These days it has became mostly home office. When the kids are off to school, I try to convince myself to go running, and if not successful, I grab a coffee and start the day in my basement office. Before HQ comes alive, I try to get some work done, then there are Microsoft Team meetings throughout the day, and work on internal projects.

I work on client projects as well, mainly in regions that are not covered with regional application engineers, or filling in when the regional team is too busy. It is a good mix still, but I am definitely missing the personal interaction, both with my colleagues and the clients.

What is your favourite thing about the pro audio industry?
I feel there is a connecting element of passion and deep identification for what we do all across the industry. There’s a certain bond between manufacturers and business partners that goes beyond business. Maybe because – from a global economic perspective – everyone is aware we are working in a niche. A “big niche” considering all related verticals today, but still a niche compared to industrial or automotive sectors. This awareness makes us feel we are not working in an industry but much more in a global community. Maybe it is founded in everyone’s unique personal history of how he or she got involved in this sound and event community in the first place. I’d say that makes the pro audio industry different from other industries.

Despite some obvious business aspects, this industry is still driven by people with a shared passion. People who are still eager to check the latest product with their favourite Steely Dan track and compare sound quality of AES vs. AVB (AVB sounds better by the way!).

And your least favourite thing?
I would say at times, repetitive listening to Steely Dan can get tiring, too.

What is the achievement/project you are most proud of?
I’m not sure. I could walk down memory lane and name certain projects but that’s probably not how I see it anymore. Having worked in different teams and scenarios – as a freelancer, for a smaller company and now for a bigger company – I see everything much more as a team effort.

The thing all these different setups have in common is that the end result depends on the coherent summation of everyone’s contribution. Pretty much like a memorable artist performance or a well designed loudspeaker product. It doesn’t help if only the vocalist performs great or the tweeter performs exceptionally. Also the band and crew members have to deliver; equally the woofer, mid-section and software package. Our job as an application team is much easier when R&D creates spot on products. Not only performance-wise but also in terms of industrial design standards. And we need to be in sync with the sales and marketing teams. Finally, everyone benefits from clarity in the corporate vision.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I like spending time with my kids (two boys, 13 and 8) realising that not long in the future they will not be receptive to my ideas and suggestions anymore. In general I like to do day trips with my family on the weekends. Skiing used to be my favourite hobby, but that is difficult from Hamburg (and in Covid times), same for my 70s disco band, which we terminated recently after 20-odd years.

So, eventually I end up on my rowing machine to stay fit and consume tons of espresso beans. I actually started to listen to music much more than I used to do when I was still playing with the band!