60 Years of Excellence
Six decades ago, Long & McQuade founder, Jack Long & then staff repair person, Pete Traynor took a walk outside of the very first Long & McQuade location on Toronto’s Yonge Street, seeking inspiration for their new manufacturing venture. With the Yorkville street sign in their line of sight, Yorkville Sound was born. The 60th Anniversary of Yorkville Sound and Traynor Amps celebrates significant achievements in manufacturing, sound technology, and tells the unlikely story of how a mild-mannered jazz trumpeter and a rock & roll bass player ignited a major cultural shift in Canadian music.
The first Yorkville Sound product was also a first for the globe. In the early sixties, lead vocalists showed up to gigs with a microphone and the hope that there was something to plug into. At the request of a local band, Pete Traynor built two road-worthy column PA speakers to solve this problem once and for all. The resulting Yorkville YSC speakers comprised the first known portable column PA system, soon to be commonplace on stages around the world.
The YSC PA columns kickstarted the whole portable PA industry in North America “It started a line of pro-audio firsts including the first portable stage lighting system, the first mobile concert sound operation, and the first wedged stage monitor, to name a few.”
As Long & McQuade pioneered music gear rentals, it was the natural hub for Toronto musicians to stock up in preparation for their legendary Yonge Street gigs. Noting that Bass gear was usually the first to be depleted, Pete Traynor examined the popular amps of the 60s’ and built his own line of Dynabass amplifiers. Later renamed Bass Master, the amp earned a global reputation as a workhorse for decades to come.
In partnership with Long & McQuade, Yorkville Sound and Traynor’s homegrown structure has given Canadian musicians unprecedented access to high-quality and affordable music gear. With this model in place, countless Canadian musicians were able to plug-in and turn-up.
Yorkville Sound has grown from a few employees in the back of the original Long & McQuade store to over 200 employees in the 150,000-square-foot facility in Pickering, Ontario Canada, where all their North American products are manufactured. Outside of Canada, Yorkville has a US office in Niagara Falls, New York and international distribution.
Sixty years in, Yorkville Sound continues to innovate on a global level. Most recently, Yorkville unveiled the EXM Mobile series, the world’s best portable battery-powered PA systems, giving musicians the latitude to set up great-sounding gigs anywhere. The Pete Traynor ethic of leading the charge in product designs and building gear from a musician’s point of view remains a core part to Yorkville & Traynor’s identity.