I recently sat down at CEDIA EXPO and talked with Paul Hales, President and Product Designer for Pro Audio Technology (PRO) and Theory Audio Design (Theory) about dealer support, business changes, and growth in the audio industry. Part 2. (Part 1 here)
Maureen Jenson: Hi Paul, last week you talked about the systems you demo’ed at CEDIA EXPO and attendee feedback. Let’s talk a little bit about how you support your dealers.
Paul Hales: Pro Audio Technology is the only residential AV manufacturer to offer a 10-year loudspeaker warranty, which gives integrators the confidence that they are installing high-quality and durable products that they can install and they will just work. PRO is also renowned for its white glove pre- and post-sales technical support and customer service. A simple phone call gives dealers direct access to myself, admin, sales, or our talented sales engineer, Chris Farley.
Chris and myself are accessible to customers for system design, diagnosis, troubleshooting, product repairs, as well as exclusive calibration services. In fact, PRO offers free factory calibration and certification for all medium and large systems sold in the Continental U.S.
This means that we will drive or fly to an installation to perfect the sound of a PRO system in its specific environment free of charge.
Likewise, the Theory business model includes class-leading product warranty and customer service schemes, at price points that are truly revolutionary for what the systems are capable of.
MJ: How has his business changed over the past few years? What is driving these changes?
PH: We have seen a few prominent changes in the AV business over the past handful of years:
- The use of immersive audio formats in home theater applications, such as Dolby Atmos, continues to be a growing trend and we are seeing expanded product offerings along with a larger category of source material to support these formats – even music. Universal Music announced that they will re-release music from their vast catalog re-mastered in Atmos. We’ve heard some previews of this new immersive music and it is spectacular. We can’t wait for the titles to become available as we are convinced it will resonate with music lovers around the world. Immersive audio formats provide an entertainment experience that is as close to reality as a listener can get, which is what has caused this trend to continue to increase.
- Distributed audio is a trend that continues to explode with more and more manufacturers offering solutions that can be integrated and controlled throughout the entire home from the palm of your hand. Consumer dependence on smart phones and tablets as the primary source for data, communications, and control, have driven this growing trend. As have the demand for open concept homes and multi-use spaces, which combined make distributed audio a natural fit. We are finally at a point where clients are willing to devote more of their budget to whole-home audio.
- Most recently, we have seen a dramatic increase in residential dealers taking on light commercial installations such as restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies, and small businesses. In fact, this trend impacted the design philosophy Theory products, which are suitable for both residential and commercial installations where sound quality and aesthetics are a priority.
PRO SR Series – SR-26im – SR-6im – SR-25im
Theory – ALC-8019, sb25s and sub15s
MJ: Where is the growth in the audio world going forward?
PH: We anticipate continued interest in higher-quality sound for both dedicated surround and distributed audio systems, in both residential and high-end commercial spaces. Dolby Atmos is clearly driving the renewed energy around residential surround sound. In North America, and particularly in the United States, there has been a trend over the last decade or so, for consumers to spend more and more of their disposable income on high-quality experiences verses material goods. More people are dining out, listening to live music, and going on premium vacations. We believe this has driven a desire for the owners of premium commercial spaces to want to enhance the environment of their businesses in every way, including audio. We welcome this change and Theory is poised to address it head-on with some very unique product solutions. Bring on 2020!