Digital Innovations

Digital Innovations

Kevin Madden

COMPANY: Innovason
TITLE: national sales manager
BACKGROUND: Being a musician has given him the first exposure to pro audio gear, with additional deep familiarity gained when he was a live FOH/monitor engineer, repair technician, audio system installer, and audio staff manager.
THE CHALLENGE: Assuring the market that working with an Innovason control surface is the simplest man-to-machine interface available.

SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail?
Kevin Madden: As national sales manager, I am responsible for managing Innovason's U.S. sales and market development as well as coordinating service and training. I came on board with the creation of this new factory direct U.S. office here in Nashville, TN in June of this year.

How has your background prepared you for your new role?

I've been fortunate to make a career out of what began as a fascination with my dad's audiophile stereo equipment. This included early follies like looping reel-to-reel tape echoes and blasting his Altec Voice of the Theaters (sorry, Mom). Like many in our industry, I am a musician, which gave me the first exposure to pro audio gear. I have been a live FOH/monitor engineer, repair technician, audio system installer, and audio staff manager. Working for other manufacturers in our industry, I have served as national and regional sales manager as well as market development manager. Over the last five years, my career has been focused on the installed sound segment.

What are your short- and long-term goals?
This summer we have been building out an office at the Sound Check production facility in Nashville and we share company with other prestigious manufacturers. The service department is up and running and we have been assembling a group of great independent manufacturers sales reps. We have begun the process of letting our existing customers know that they have full factory service support in the U.S. Thanks to the previous U.S. stewardship by Sennheiser of Old Lyme, CT (until August, 2005), Innovason's success in the U.S. has been at premium performance venues and churches. In application, Innovasons make for fast access in monitor desks. In the long term we will focus on our past strengths and prepare the market for our upcoming feature enhancements as well as develop local training opportunities and support programs.

What is the greatest challenge that you face?

When Innovason launched in the mid-'90s, no one was doing what we were doing. Seasoned audio mixers were apprehensive about running their shows on computers. Today, technology advances so quickly that progressive users cannot afford to be intimidated by 100-percent DSP control. Indeed our challenge is that we have been "dark" in the U.S. for over a year and other worthy products are now reaching acceptance. That paves a smoother path for us to reemerge. We need to assure the market that working with our control surface is the simplest man-to-machine interface out there, allowing an engineer to just listen and mix.

Where do you see your market heading?

What have become annoying byproducts of all the new digital desks are the radically different man-to-machine interfaces. It can be nerve-racking and taxing to be expected to fly around these new desks (under the gun) the way anyone could on any analog console. Touch this screen here, activate that encoder there, flip this page to get to that, it goes on. Different desks can have varying nomenclature and certainly different ways to get from here to there. In this transitional period, the companies that will succeed are those that make for as simple a mix experience as possible.

In the very near future we could see production of premium analog consoles become a thing of the past, or at best reduced to boutique and expensive special order items. While we were the first, new DSP-/software-based engineering companies like Innovason are establishing themselves in this market and there will be more. Of course there's a solid camp of pro sound engineers that prefer their legacy analog consoles, and as a result we'll probably see a rise in a service/maintenance industry to keep them going. But the younger generations will be raised on DSP control and analog could intimidate them.

Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Innovason?

It's a pretty exciting time for Innovason right now, and the timing to establish the U.S. office couldn't be better. We are offering prior Innovason customers an opportunity to exchange their older consoles for the new systems at a dramatic discount. While older consoles can be brought up to today's software capabilities, the new systems have been reengineered to be far more stable, are Ethersound ready, and will more affordably accept many of the upcoming features such as on-board effects and G/EQ just to name a few. The Innovason philosophy has always been to take care that today's users will be able to take advantage of tomorrow's innovations.