Stan Miller is the sound system man

Stan Miller is the sound system man


Wednesday, May 17, 2006 5:21 PM PDT

Stanley Miller, co-owner of the Knickerbocker Mansion in Big Bear Lake, spends most of his time staying at other hotels. Not because he prefers other hotels’ pillows, it’s because when Neil Diamond books a tour, Miller’s itinerary is set. He’s traveled the world as Diamond’s concert sound designer and chief engineer for more than 35 years.

What this means to Big Bear is not just a sometimes-absent inn keeper. It means a kick-butt sound system at the Big Bear Performing Arts Center thanks to Miller’s good standing in the music industry.

Miller’s generosity is not new. For years, Miller has helped the PAC obtain gently-used, top-of-the-line sound equipment as Diamond upgraded. Now, he’s helped replace faulty equipment: $18,000 worth of brand-spankin’ new sound equipment for the PAC’s new front of the house sound system at no cost to the city.

Miller’s connections come not only from his work with Diamond. He owned a factory in Nebraska that built the JBL Concert Series speakers, the same company that donated the new system. Miller sold his speaker box company to JBL and now owns SMI, a company that supplies all the rigging for VDOSC cabinets.

Hanging systems? Miller was the first. Multicoresnake? Him too. Taking subwoofers on the road? You can guess by now. Monitors in front of people? Stan Miller. He was the first sound engineer to go all digital on the road. That all adds up to some pull for the sound of music in Big Bear.

As a new board member of the PAC Foundation, a committee comprised of two City Council members and four additional board members, Miller helps find the funds to support the foundation’s performance series and technical issues. The next productions include State Street’s ballet “Cinderella,” “Shangai Circus,” “Forbidden Broadway,” and Miller’s personal favorite, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic-opera “Pirates of Penzance.”

Miller stays involved with the PAC because he believes performing arts are essential for a community’s diversity and cultural well being, he says. Particularly for young people.

Despite Miller’s small town roots he was exposed to traveling musical theater productions at an early age, shaping his future in the music industry.

On June 12, the foundation will be asking the Big Bear Lake City Council to forgive $18,000 of its debt to the city in exchange for the new front of house sound system that was donated by JBL Sound Corporation through the efforts of Miller and The Signet Corporation (Sam Helms).

The system includes six new speakers, two hangers and two amps. All user groups at the PAC utilize the new system; it’s not only for PAC Foundation shows.

“The arts are an important aspect to the community,” Miller says. The sound system got its first curtain call May 9 for the foundation-sponsored show “In the Mood.” The group’s traveling engineer said the equipment was way above average for a community theater like the PAC.

Miller couldn’t be more pleased. “We ought to be very proud of our little theater.”

Contact reporter Arrissia Owen Turner at (909) 866-3456, ext. 142 or by e-mail at

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