Stellarton’s downtown just got a little more musical with the addition of Ohm-N Audio – a store owned by a man with a great enthusiasm for anything related to music and sound.
Dennis Balesdent, owner of Ohm-N Audio, said he was looking to provide something he thought the area needed, and felt he was the right guy to do so. Balesdent said he knew he found a calling when 25 years ago he was asked to fix his grandmother’s speakers and he got “hooked on speaker design and getting things to sound real.”
That appreciation for the technical nuances of sound was one of many ways Balesdent pursued a love of music and musical technology.
Before opening his business on Foord Street, Balesdent worked as an online retailer of records – but the purview of Ohm-N Audio goes far beyond just record sales.
“I started with DJ work with my uncle when I was 14 to 16 years old. I loved hooking things up, and playing music for people. From then on, I had a love for music,” said Balesdent, who has played in bands, made album art, logos, and T-shirts for other bands and kept abreast of buying trends when it comes to what people like to listen to.
“It grew over time, and I’ve always been involved in something,” he said. Balesdent still specializes and focuses on the technical aspects of sound quality. Part of his mission in opening the store is to provide high-quality sound through equipment and services that fit a lower budget.
“Instead of just having OK sound for your music, I want people to listen to it as if it’s being presented by the artists,” he said.
Ohm-N Audio is something of a musical one-stop shop, as it specializes in record sales, amp service, parts replacement, calibration, turntable repairs and speaker repairs. Balesdent also is considering hiring a technician to expand the range of services.
So far, he is very satisfied with the amount of attention Ohm-N Audio is receiving from locals, and was pleasantly surprised by the response to his store opening.
“There are local people coming in, and people from as far away as Halifax, who were recommended by other people to check out the new store,” said Balesdent. “One customer coming in was looking for 1950s-era Ella Fitzgerald, the next was looking for a heavy metal album. It’s just a little record store, but I love bringing this to people, and their positive response sort of humbles me.”
Up until Ohm-N Audio opened on Foord Street, Balesdent said the next best thing to find what he offers in Pictou County was a trip to Halifax.
“I live in Trenton and there’s not a lot of rental space. I looked, and what I found was that Stellarton is the best spot for foot traffic. It’s a broad mix of all ages, and has a very cosmopolitan vibe for a small town,” said Balesdent. “The energy it has feels good – it’s the kind of place where you’d expect to find a record store, more so than the other towns.”
Founding Ohm-N Audio was a way his interest in music “all tied together and came about” as a new career after a fall from the second storey of a building prevented him from returning to his career as an ironworker out west.
“I joke with friends, and say ‘If it’s a dead media form you can find it there.’ I have what people consider old – you can get from me, in top-notch condition,” said Balesdent.