Meet the Team - Shimiaei

Meet the Team

Meet the HARMAN Luxury Audio Team

Name: Danial Shimiaei Position/Job Title: Director of Engineering – Mark Levinson With HARMAN Since 2021

With Meet The HARMAN Luxury Team, our goal is for you to get to know us better. In each edition we feature a different member of the team, and this month it's Danial Shimiaei, Director of Engineering for Mark Levinson.

Daniel Shimiaei head shot

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How would you describe what you do in your current role?
I manage the Mark Levinson design team encompassing electronics, software and mechanical engineering. Additionally, the team and I work on improvements to the entire product line.

What did you study in school? Did you always imagine yourself doing something like what you’re doing now, or did the fates just take you in that direction?
My early years were filled with math, electronics, physics and science. I have always been curious about science and technology.

Academics were not much of challenge to me and soon I gravitated to working as a bench tech for a consumer audio repair shop in the middle of my high school years, at the same time pursuing an interest in music recording and engineering. Unknowingly, those days were the first pillars of my career as paths were paved rooted in electronics, recording arts, video, lighting, etc.

Along the way I made my hobbies aligned with my work. For example, my mechanical and machining skills were an extension of building one inch to the foot scale fully operational coal burning steam locomotives. SCUBA diving gave way to working on underwater propulsion systems and communications. Video production gave way to designing and building large scale camera crane booms with the largest being 22 feet.

Of course, prior to all that, I wanted to be a fighter pilot which obviously didn’t pan out, so it was faith!

How did your career path lead you to HARMAN?
My passion for electronics and performing arts coupled with music, aligned me with a trade school in my late teens where I gained knowledge and experience in professional audio and video.

I enjoyed an amazing experience in technical academia for five years and working over a decade with many top recording artists at a world-renowned studio complex. I had the privilege of working with many pro audio manufacturers in early parts of their design and development in bringing products to market. This not only allowed me to understand engineering design and manufacturing ways, it also opened my eyes to the world of human user interface feel, shape, color, etc.

My in-house design efforts were focused on a superb analog mastering console. Unfortunately, the product was short-lived due to the demise of record mastering at the time, but we did achieve building a circuit which AP at the time could not measure noise-floor of, which was an objective in the process.

Also, many of my other interests were aligned with studio acoustics and speaker design; I count myself fortunate to have worked with several speaker designers towards products that are widely used in the industry still. I’ve designed and remodeled more studios and remote trucks than I can remember, all of which were amazing experiences as part of a team where raw space and materials were transformed to a space dedicated to produce the highest caliber of art.

Perhaps a pinnacle of my career during that tenure was a full remodel of a legendary scoring complex and retrofitting the acoustics of the hall. I still have the original piano which was used on countless projects.

Another achievement was coupled with digital console technologies in the music recording part of my work life. Somehow, I had a knack to communicate error findings with software and firmware developers on a layer which allowed them to eradicate bugs more quickly.

In 2000, I was headhunted by a large public company to head a massive re-architect for a number of sound facilities encompassing: redesign over 15 theatrical and television dub stages for improved acoustics, outfitting with latest technologies in digital audio mixing, and refine a file-based workflow with server-based audio operations achieving balance between data rate and performance.

Two additional milestones achieved were developing a HD video file based frame synchronized playback system for dubbing requirements using off the shelf systems, and establishing frameworks for an all-digital network-based audio signal path from source to amps.

As the industry shifted and advanced from 5.1 and 7.1 to immersive, my focus moved towards various immersive audio mixing systems and presentations with the latest being ATMOS. I worked with Dolby’s Home Theater ATMOS team in developing software suited for HT use in their early stages.

During my past time, I started several associated departments for companies I worked for that aligned with core business including, DVD authoring operations, multi-media encoding division, a touring sound reinforcement and lighting company, media asset management and delivery systems where I gained management and financial competences.

Concurrent to all that, I opened and operated my own company for about 14 years concentrating in specialty video and storage sales and rentals in B2B space for the Hollywood film and TV industry.

Refining skills and building on fundamentals, coupled with keeping up with technology and management skills, launched many opportunities in my career with the latest entry being my employment at HARMAN where I want to use my experience in growing and developing the future for great sounding products.

What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
Never stop learning and every so often, go back and revisit what you think you know.

Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
Follow your passion, do not be afraid to enter uncharted waters, trust your instincts.

What are you most proud of in your life?
Supporting and being a provider to my parents.

When did you first realize you had a passion for music or audio? Was there any one song, band or movie that did it for you?
Having come to America in my early teens with little understanding of the language, music had an almost calming and meditative quality for me as I got lost between the notes and later, the lyrics. Probably my first “quality” listening experience was walking into a Hi-Fi shop in Chico, California, where I got to listen to Pat Benatar’s "Fire and Ice." I was hooked at that moment.

What current technology impresses you the most?
Robotics and dynamic balancing systems which enable robots to walk and motorcycles not to fall over.

What's your favorite music genre?
Super tough to answer… I'll go with jazz since it sneaks into so many other genres.

The desert island question, of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could listen to only three albums, what would they be?
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Steely Dan - Aja
Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles

Of course, I would sneak other albums by Dexter Gordan, Miles Davis, Lady Ella, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Rush; not to mention the soundtrack to The Matrix [because it is not a Kung Fu film], Hanz Zimmer’s live in Prague, and Philip Glass’s Photographer, but would only listen to only three albums…

You have the floor. In closing, tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself.
Push boundaries, keep it simple and clean, think outside the box; may sound cliché but without those, there is no innovation. I apply the same principals to cooking, as well.