Midnight Audio

We sculpt air.

With our lifetime of experience regarding sound, sound system building, and audio installation, Midnight Audio can improve the quality of the soundscape in any venue. We service: home listening stereos, restaurants, bars, salons, retail stores, art galleries, dance clubs, live music venues, and studios. We guide our clients toward achieving the most out of their space and equipment. We work hard to create audio systems and acoustic room treatments that define your space and bring happiness through good sound. Whether the goal is pure musical enjoyment or intense critical listening, your ears will be happy with Midnight Audio.

The two of us...

Herman Chigrin

"When I was 16, I gathered up my savings and decided it’s time to get serious and get some good speakers. Going to audio stores and listening to a bunch of different speakers, the breakthrough came when I accidentally tuned the FM tuner in between stations, generating white noise. That was an aha moment for me! The white noise made me realize there was another tool I could use. Suddenly, I had the sensation that certain speakers played white noise properly and some did not. From then on my interest in audio took a new direction. Reproduction of sound became a personal journey. I am still on this journey".

"I’ve been fascinated by sound since 1980. Not just music, but Sound and the way we perceive it. For me, one of the most interesting ways to work with Sound is to create systems with exceptional qualities to sonically and visually enhance social spaces. When people see and hear sound systems that bring magic to the experience of music, they want to be there! My personal mission is to create sound systems that make people want to be there."

Chris Grabowski

Chris Grabowski (K-rAd) began engineering sound when he started making mix tapes out of his older siblings' records on his mom’s Harmon Kardon stereo. Copying his favorite songs from vinyl to cassette, he would watch the meters, making sure each song was recorded at the correct level and that the beginning of each track was well-timed. Those early tasks would prove to be some of the essential skills needed for mastering audio.

Noodling around on the Casio keyboard, playing the trumpet, and then the guitar, Grabowski was always looking for a way to connect the music he liked listening to with the music he was formally taught. "How did we get from the 7th grade symphonic band performing “Pachelbel's Canon in D” to “Oh Yeah” by Yello?" Grabowski asks.

"Sound equipment, that’s how!" he notes. Microphones, pre-amps, recording devices, mixing consoles, reverbs, delays, computers, cables, speakers, amplifiers, synthesizers--these were the instruments Grabowski would learn to play. Collecting anything that had to do with sound and learning to play anything he could led to the completion of his full length CD, featuring a cut-up and sequenced composition of sound recordings (lithograph) as K-rAd, debuting in 1997.

While working in a used record store on Belmont Avenue in Chicago, Grabowski was offered the opportunity to mix at a northside club, Morseland. This would lead him to a string of live sound gigs as house engineer for venues such as Elbo Room and Mad Bar, eventually landing him at the historic Green Mill jazz club.

His second home for the next 20 years, the Green Mill is known for high standard musicians, a regularly tuned grand piano, two Hammond B3 organs, "Stella", and two intimate performance environments. With owner, Dave Jemilo, significant improvements were made; Grabowski recalls crawling through the ceiling to hang the new Meyer sound system he designed specific to the club. They then rebuilt the stage in a way that never inhibited the live performances of the week. Constructing Grabowski's custom design, the Green Mill's practical stage converts and doubles in depth, using "hideaway platforms" to even meet the needs of the weekly 18 piece big band.

Access to excellent performers and a controlled work environment allowed Grabowski to, "hone my own skills and then dial in the room and create hundreds of live recordings...that many of the artists have since released". The relationships formed with the musicians at the Green Mill continue to yield strong collaborations today. Notably, Grabowski has toured the US and Europe mixing and recording live concerts for the great Patricia Barber, affording him access to world-class performance spaces such as the Harris Theatre (Chicago), Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), National Sawdust (Brooklyn, New York), and the unrivaled Theatro Circo (Braga, Portugal).

While working at the Green Mill, Grabowski realized the need to expand his knowledge of electronics, carpentry, metal working, CAD, and rigging in order to take projects from conception to execution. In 2006, he encountered legendary engineer, Soren Wtirup, who was then repairing tape machines and restoring mixing consoles for studios. After seeing Wtirup's workshop, he asked if Wtirup could use some help and began a 2 year apprenticeship, learning hands-on electronic repair skills.

Grabowski humbly reflects, "As sound seems to be an endless path that keeps on giving, there is so much more to learn. I just want to facilitate music by giving it the attention and respect it most certainly deserves".

Grabowski currently repairs turntables for Djs, designs, plays and builds his own synthesizer modules, repairs and restores mixing consoles, designs and installs sound systems, and builds custom audio cables. He continues to create and release albums as K-rAd, and enjoys manifesting clever solutions that further his own creations.