Richard Aspen Pittman, a prominent inventor, designer and music industry innovator died in a fatal car crash on Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus on Friday, Aug. 9.
Pittman, described as “legendary,” and a “kind man” always had a “bucket list of ideas on his brain.”
“He was a caring and loving man,” said his daughter Autumn Pittman, who worked with her father. She said his business, Aspen Pittman Designs, a recording studio and audio design company in San Fernando, was born out of necessity when he became a single father.
In earlier years he had worked for Guitar Center where he became their very first manager in the 60’s and 70’s. He also worked for Acoustic and the AMP company. He set up shop in San Fernando, working at the current location on Truman Boulevard for the last 20 years.
“My Dad was an amazing man, he was an inventor and an incredible smart guy that changed our industry. He had a really big personality and he did whatever he could to help anyone. There were so many facets of him — he worked seven days a week and was 70 years old, and he did so much, he exhausted me,” said Autumn.
Since learning of his passing, musicians and record producers have noted the many advancements made by Pittman for nearly 40 years that improved the industry through his designs and invention. He created dozens of tube guitar amps, stage and studio microphones and multiple electron vacuum tubes.
Aspen’s audio designs earned multiple utility patents both in the United States and internationally, garnering top awards in multiple fields including the Technical Excellence & Creativity Award for best microphone design. His equipment in the audio field could be compared to a “lightbulb giving light to a room.”
He created what’s known as 3D sound that enabled musicians to hear sound accurately while performing and no matter where you were in the audience or in another room, you could enjoy hearing the “sweet spot.” This technology, Autumn said, takes a stereo speaker and turns it into 3D sound.
“It’s great for musicians so that they can hear every band member and they hear each other the same way and they rave about what better musicians this technology makes them.”
Autumn worked with her father, and after he had been gone several hours, she found out that he had been in an accident after making several phone calls to area hospitals. They had planned to attend a car show and auction in Monterrey earlier that day, and was waiting for him to return from picking up a car trailer.
She said an investigation is being conducted to try to determine what caused the crash.
“My father was a very experienced driver. An eyewitness said they noticed the trailer swerving, but we just don’t know what exactly happened, that’s why there’s an investigation.”
Autumn shared her father’s passion for the guitar, sound and the audio industry, and followed in his footsteps — so much so that she also worked for Guitar Center during early years.
Now she said it will be her job to continue his work and protect his legacy. She said Pittman was a “casual guy who would just like people to get together and share a drink — he was an old hippie that became conservative in his older years and you could respectfully disagree.”
A “celebration of life” is being planned on his birthday, Aug. 24. Autumn said she is looking forward to hearing many of the stories others will share about him.