I recently sat down with Paul Hales, President and Product Designer for Pro Audio Technology (PRO) and Theory Audio Design (Theory) about this year’s CEDIA Expo, Expo value and attendee feedback. Part One
Maureen Jenson: Your booth was packed at CEDIA Expo this year! What did you think of this year’s EXPO and was it a valuable show for both your brands (PRO and Theory)?
Paul Hales: Yes, thanks Maureen, it really was! As the largest trade show we exhibit at each year, CEDIA Expo is incredibly valuable as it gives us a venue to introduce and educate our customers, media, and industry partners on our latest loudspeaker and electronics innovations.
It is also an opportunity to meet face-to-face with our dealers to determine their needs, and discuss technology improvements, and AV industry trends that in turn aid in product development. Not only am I the owner of the businesses, I am also the product designer for both brands; so I regularly leave Expo with new product ideas or improvements that will solve dealer problems in the field. For example, PRO’s new pivot brackets were developed to help installers overcome challenges with properly placing and aiming loudspeakers to meet Dolby specifications in Atmos installations.
This year’s EXPO did not disappoint. Not only did we grab the attention of the industry with the official launch of Theory Audio Design, for PRO customers we introduced two new lines of loudspeakers and accessories as well as the company’s first Amplified Loudspeaker Controller.
In the PRO sound room we showed a 21-loudspeaker Dolby Atmos system based upon the commercial Dolby CP850-C processor, showing what full native Atmos rendering can do.
Listeners were amazed at how seamless the immersive sound field was. The room operated near full capacity, even on the last day of the show, and resulted in the most successful CEDIA EXPO we’ve had to date!
MJ: What kind of feedback did you get from CEDIA Expo attendees after they experienced both the PRO and Theory demos?
PH: Both the PRO and Theory sound rooms were consistently busy throughout the entire show, including many repeat listeners.
Paul Hales in the Theory room CEDIA EXPO
PRO is renowned for its standout home theater demos year-after-year at CEDIA Expo. Our goal with the PRO demo is to find unique ways to make a statement and we were delighted to uphold that reputation this year with a 21-channel Dolby Atmos loudspeaker system featuring an exclusive demo of Dolby’s CP850-C Cinema Processor.
The most consistent comment from attendees leaving the demo room was how incredibly immersive, detailed and realistic the sound was, to the point of being able to track specific sounds as they moved around the room. The entire point of Dolby Atmos is to make people feel as though they are in the scene; not just watching it as an outsider. Our new S and SR Series loudspeakers and unique pivot brackets are to thank for creating such a convincing and realistic environment.
Next door in the Theory sound room, we had an entirely different motive for the demo. Featuring a straightforward 5.2.2 system setup including Theory loudspeakers and the ALC-1809 Loudspeaker Controller, the goal was to shock attendees with the quality of sound made possible from a system that can be setup and configured in minutes.
We also demonstrated the ALC’s custom made and extremely user friendly GUI, which dealers are thrilled with. Attendees left the Theory demo noting that without even taking into consideration the surprisingly low price points, the Theory demo could easily be considered the best audio demo at the show. Price and ease of installation were repeatedly noted as major benefits and have led to post-show follow-up and pre-orders from interested dealers. Theory is positioned to explode out of the gate when it begins shipping later this year.
Theory sb65 and sb75 Soundbars at CEDIA Expo
PRO S and SR Series family shot including S-12sm, SR-12ai, SR-212ai
Stay Tuned next week when I talk to Paul about dealer support, business changes and the growth of audio going forward! Part Two here.