New shareholders turning up volume at Starsound

Lighting designer David Perez and Starsound Audio President Nick Sorrentino operate control panels at last year's War concert during Hot August Nights at the Grand Sierra Resort outdoor stage.

Lighting designer David Perez and Starsound Audio President Nick Sorrentino operate control panels at last year's War concert during Hot August Nights at the Grand Sierra Resort outdoor stage.

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When Nick Sorrentino met Eric Breslow in the control booth during a KC and the Sunshine Band concert at Grand Sierra Resort in 2022, the duo could never have predicted that they would lead the company responsible for all the stage, lighting and sound equipment at Hot August Nights and other major concert events throughout Reno and Sparks.

Sorrentino and Breslow formalized ownership of Starsound Audio Inc. at the start of the year, taking over from the heirs of Scott Bergstrom, who founded Starsound Audio in the mid 1970s and died near the end of 2021.

Sorrentino has worked at Starsound Audio since graduating from McQueen High School in 2010, though he was only working part-time when Bergstrom died. His passing left a huge hole in Starsound’s operations and management, Sorrentino said.

“(Scott) was very closely guarded on how he ran the business, and Starsound was very dependent upon him,” Sorrentino said. “After he passed, his adult children had to decide if they wanted to liquidate the assets or keep the business going. But in order to keep it going, they needed someone to run it.”

Sorrentino took over as president in January 2022 and began untangling the operational web and mapping out a strategy to continue Starsound’s legacy.

“We spent the last two years providing services for our regular and preferred clients,” he said. “We also invested in a new JBL line array (speaker system) for even larger concert systems, and it’s one of the largest line array systems in Northern Nevada. We put out the message that we are not going anywhere, and we are keeping this company going.”

Over the course of 2022, however, the heirs decided it was time to move on, so they settled on a sale price. Sorrentino partnered with Breslow to buy the business from Bergstrom’s heirs.

Breslow is principal at Bresco Investments, the largest provider of workforce housing in Lake Tahoe. He also sits on the board at Renown Health Foundation and is a member of the National Automobile Museum’s driving force club.

“We actually bought the stock of this 48-year-old company, which was inherited by the kids and purchased by the new partners,” Breslow said. “We are its new shareholders.”

The acquisition was financed internally through Starsound Audio’s new partners. Breslow serves as chief executive officer of Starsound Audio, while Sorrentino remains its president. Additional partners include Jordan Barman, chief financial officer of both Starsound and Bresco, and Connor Mix, chief operating officer.

Starsound Audio, which operates from a 5,000 square-foot location on Oddie Boulevard and has an additional 15,000 square feet of warehouse space in Sparks to house sound and lighting equipment and concert staging and trusses, was formed in 1975. Over the decades the company became the preferred provider for any event that requires a microphone, sound amplification, lighting and video.

If you’ve enjoyed a concert at Hot August Nights, Starsound Audio was responsible for setting up the stage, erecting the metal trusses that hold line array speaker systems and lighting, as well as video displays. Its engineers also mix sound, create light shows, and operate control consoles for video displays.

Starsound Audio is a preferred provider for most regional casinos and churches, as well as many events for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, yet it also offers professional audio and lighting equipment for DJs and musicians, Breslow said.

“We are the only pro audio store in town, and we are a master distributor of JBL professional gear,” he said.

About two-thirds of Starsound Audio’s revenue comes from rental or set up of concert sound, lighting and video equipment, with retail sales accounting for the rest.

“Some venues already have a full sound system in house, so they just ask us to provide labor,” Sorrentino said. “Others need a full sound system, with a stage and lighting, so we bring that and have our great stage crew set up all that equipment. We also have a set of engineers that run all sound, lighting and technical operations.”

Scott Schmidt heads Starsound Audio’s systems design and systems integration division, which provides expertise in sound systems such as the recently improved audio equipment installed at Reno Public Market.

“One of the reasons we are so good at what we do is because beyond being sound technicians, we are designers as well,” Breslow said. “We design sound and lighting packages to fit a specific space or venue.”

“We do everything,” he added. “If someone wants to save money on a wedding, we have smaller sound systems they can rent. If someone wants to put on a Coachella-sized festival, we can fully outfit three different stages.”

Last month, Starsound handled all the audio and video setup for former President Donald Trump’s rally at Reno-Sparks Convention Center — though Breslow is quick to point out that Starsound will provide services for any event regardless of political affiliation.

Moving forward, the partners plan on increasing their inventory of rental equipment, with an eventual eye on finding a location where they can house all their gear under one roof.

“We are a very well-capitalized company, and this business is all about technology and continually upgrading your inventory on the concert side,” Breslow said. “We are going to make significant investments and will have the best sound, lighting and consoles. We will expand and update our inventory, as well as our infrastructure.

“The store (on Oddie Boulevard) has been there for 47 years, and we will separate it out as a separate business. There will be Starsound Audio and Starsound Pro, the retail store. Our whole team is excited to begin expanding our inventory and infrastructure.”


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