Detroit Audio Lab: Man builds speakers out of city's reclaimed wood

- Mike Bauer was a successful engineer, who worked around the world, until one day it hit him.

"I'm sitting there thinking why am I not at home doing this at home and that was the beginning of this," he said.

The metro Detroit native decided to bring audio manufacturing home.

"I saw all this reclaimed wood and I said 'Damn, I could build speakers out of reclaimed wood,'" he said. "I can talk a lot about jobs bring a lot of stuff back or I can just zip it and do it."

In a city known for its manufacturing and music, Bauer created the Detroit Audio Lab. He and his team demolish vacant Detroit houses and use the wood to construct state of the art audio products.

The reclaimed wood and their operations are housed inside Architecture Salvage Warehouse of Detroit on the city's southwest side.

"It is really an important part of what we do," Chris Rutherford, of the ASW said. "We take deconstructed houses and find new uses for that material and businesses like Detroit Audio Lab makes that economy viable for us."

A collaboration that makes a difference in the community - and also creates jobs. Kevin Pilot, who was once down on his luck, has been working there for over a year - and by the smile on his face, he loves what he does.

"When I came here, I was raw, I now know how to nail wood, I take down houses and run a machine full fledge guy now," Pilot said. "It feels good; it feels like I am really doing something. I was born and raised here, and we're actually using stuff from Detroit."

Their work manufactures products like the passive amplifier - a wooden speaker that cradles your phone. The sound is spectacular - but each piece is also unique.

The wood is stamped with the home address where the wood was salvaged. 

"The little bit of what we do is we bring that back," Bauer said. "You get a little memory so we are starting a whole new generation and you get a little memory of what people are doing and you really get a really high quality audio product."

Bauer brings raw historic materials sometimes up to a century old back to life, every hand constructed product is made in Detroit.

FOR MORE: Go to the Detroit Audio Lab website here.

But Bauer says the best part is watching his employees, who have become like family, learn his craft, earn a living and share his labor of love. 

"It is the jobs and the people," he said. "It is the look you see the look in someone's eyes when they get it. That is probably the best part. The local capabilities are astounding what the people here can do is amazing."

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