Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Al Ballard: 1950 – 2022

We are very sad to report the passing of Al Ballard, longtime Polk Audio VP of Marketing and industry marketing icon.

Al Ballard: 1950-2022

When audio industry icon and longtime friend and mentor, Paul DiComo, passed away in 2021, it really hit many of us very hard. Paul was a force at Polk Audio and Definitive Technology and someone who taught many of us in the press world the ropes in this industry. Paul’s partner at both Polk Audio and the marketing agency they co-founded, was Al Ballard. Both men were audio industry icons who raised the bar in everything they did.

Al Ballard, longtime Polk Audio Vice President of Marketing, passed away at University of Maryland St Joseph Medical Center on Saturday, November 5th. Al was born April 15th, 1950, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State in Raleigh, graduating with a degree in Graphic and Industrial Design.

Al moved to the Baltimore area to work as a graphic designer, eventually forming
his own design firm in 1983.

In 1985, Al was recruited by Sandy Gross to join a small speaker company, Polk Audio, to develop in-house marketing capabilities. Al quickly established himself as an invaluable resource and, in 1988, rose to be named Vice President of Marketing.

In his roles, Al was an important figure in the growth of Polk Audio from a small regional company to one of the largest of its type in the global

He championed the ambassador program Polk-Fest and Polk Forums with zealous audiophile customers who spread the word in several US markets to other like-minded audiophiles.

From January 2014 on, Al, with partner Paul DiComo, founded CE-Marketing Pros, a marketing agency helping established and start-up Consumer Electronics brands build market share and consumer awareness.

Anyone who worked with Al at Polk Audio or the many outside efforts he spearheaded was swept up by his incredible work ethic, personal and professional honesty, and consistent integrity. He brought uncommon intelligence to any task but also a sense of humor that, while sometimes hidden, always lurked near the surface.

Al was a respected and beloved figure in his neighborhood. His can-do attitude led him to help many neighbors, no matter how large or small the task. Al loved to barbecue. Anyone treated to his 6-Hour Pork Shoulder Roast would not soon forget it.

Al met many people throughout his years in the audio industry and made many life-long friends among colleagues, industry partners, and audio consumers.

Al is survived by his wife, Hedy Klopfer, his daughter Alison Ballard, step-daughter Tracy Klopfer and ex-wife Monica Cortada. A celebration of life in Al’s honor will be held at a future time. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Wilmer Eye Institute are appreciated.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This obituary was passed along to me by industry colleague Adam Sohmer and we wish to offer our most heartfelt condolences to his family.



  1. Chris Boylan

    November 11, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Sad news, indeed. Al was a mensch. To lose him and Paul DiComo in such a short period is a blow to the industry.

  2. Mary Phelan

    November 12, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Al’s passing leaves a huge hole in Ten Hills where he was a beloved neighbor and friend. He will never be forgotten.

    • Ian White

      November 12, 2022 at 8:48 pm


      Very sorry for your loss. He was a legend in our industry and a truly a mensch. Just a lovely man.

      Ian White

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


New Products

Denon DL-103o and DL-103R Moving Coil Phono Cartridges

New Products

In collaboration with Devon Turnbull, the Denon DL-103o moving coil phono cartridge contains a DL-103R in a stylish clear case.

Unitra at High END Munich 2024 Unitra at High END Munich 2024

New Products

Unitra is back. Now under new ownership, the Polish manufacturer showed its complete line of HiFi equipment at HIGH END Munich 2024.

Marten Coltrane Quintet Loudspeakers Marten Coltrane Quintet Loudspeakers

Floorstanding Speakers

At $190,000/pair, Marten Coltrane Quintet loudspeakers feature a new 5-driver design for improved bass response, dynamics and resonance reduction over its predecessor, Coltrane 3.

TEAC UD-507 USB DAC / Preamplifier / Headphone Amplifier in Silver TEAC UD-507 USB DAC / Preamplifier / Headphone Amplifier in Silver

Headphone Amps

Borrowing design concepts from TEAC’s top-of-the-line 700 Series, the standout feature of the UD-507 is TEAC’s new proprietary "TRDD5" (TEAC Reference Discrete DAC) designed...

Sonos Roam 2 in wave light blue color in-hand Sonos Roam 2 in wave light blue color in-hand

New Products

While we were all distracted by the company's first headphones, Sonos quietly slipped in an update to their popular Bluetooth portable speaker.

JMGO N1S Projector 180-inch Screen JMGO N1S Projector 180-inch Screen

New Products

JMGO is introducing two Netflix certified lifestyle projectors. Find out what's different between the N1S ($999) and N1S Ultra ($2,499).

You May Also Like

New Products

Looking for an affordable subwoofer this holiday season? The Polk Audio Monitor XT10 retails for $299.


A/V Industry veteran, Philip Jones of Sound United and co-owner of shares his passion for hi-fi and home theater, along with some interesting...


The Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX packs in features and big sound in a very small package. We think it's better suited for a...


What you need to know about understanding frequency response curves of loudspeakers.

Hi-Fi Components

Masimo Corporation has acquired Sound United for $1.03 billion giving them control of Marantz, Denon, Bowers & Wilkins, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and more...

New Products

Get big sound for your TV viewing with a soundbar that is only 14.5-inches wide! Find out how Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX makes...


Our Best of 2022 Soundbar picks feature some great options from Sony, Polk, Sonos, Samsung, and Vizio for every budget.


The $399 Polk Audio Signa S4 Soundbar offers Dolby Atmos and a subwoofer. How does it measure up?


ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers