Making Audio Work
and engineering, and developing a system a customer can easily use, then it's just one little piece."
The State of Traditional Audio
Whatever money is being spent on audio, flat panels notwithstanding, is being apportioned to both traditional and newer categories alike, say dealers and suppliers.
Jon Robbins, president of Broomall, Pa.'s Hi-Fi House, attributes a 10 to 15 percent uptick in his audio business largely to the fact that "our speaker business has been phenomenal." He credits a Sumiko master training program for the Italian-made Sonus Faber line it distributes in the U.S. for the good results, because "the courses don't hone in on their products as much as speaker placement, sound quality and room acoustics" - things that add up to an overall approach to audio sales that, in aggregate, works. He continues, "the training has also helped our other speaker business."
Michael Detmer, vice president of sales and marketing at Niles Audio, points to high-quality outdoor speakers as a growing area of c-tailers' audio business that both fills an application void and meets certain aesthetic considerations. "As people personalize their homes with sound," he explains, "they want it to be outside as well as inside. And they count on high-performance, application-specific products like outdoor speakers. Ours exceed military corrosion specs and are robust enough so that they don't come back and cost them money - they don't have to worry about the quality. And our rock speakers are designed to cosmetically blend into various geographic regions."
Mody says he is selling "huge amounts of in-walls and in-ceiling speakers" for the same reasons as Detmer cites for outdoor speakers' success: application-appropriateness and unobtrusiveness. "All our demo rooms have them, and we do four- and six-zone distributed audio where we demo music servers ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. And we do very well in that category."