On Deck

How The Current Economic Climate Is Affecting Audio Console Sales

Mixing consoles are literally the nerve center of a performance or broadcast. But with the current market contraction, are integrators still getting tapped for console upgrades? As performing arts spaces restructure, opera houses shut down, and schools hunker down to safeguard budgets, what markets remain strong for audio console sales? And, where do analog consoles fit in to the “mix”?

According to Soundcraft’s Keith Watson, vice president of marketing and communications, Soundcraft boards (both digital and analog) are everywhere: “Performing arts centers, live sound applications, stadium installs, high-profile events such as the NBA All-Star game in Phoenix, houses of worship, and on tour.”

Despite the recessionary woes, Watson said that each one of these applications remain strong for upgrades and analog is still very prominent especially in the house of worship and portable public address applications. “Areas such as houses of worship where the price-point is often an issue and the ease of use is important, analog is very popular,” he explained. “Having said that, the interest in the new Si Series Digital desk, particularly the new compact Si2, has been amazing.”

Alongside digital, Soundcraft continues to develop analog consoles and technologies, and, Watson confided, there has been a transition into the implementation of other Harman Pro products into the analog boards.

Jay Easley, manager of Bosch Security Systems’ brands Midas and Klark-Teknik, Americas, was also optimistic. “Midas and Klark-Teknik are doing great,” he beamed. “We are not seeing the wicked growth we would love to see but we are doing very well.”

The winning recipe for Midas is its dedication to customer support as well as the launch of a brand new digital desk—the Pro 6 model based on XLA technology.

Easley said the Pro 6 is catching such significant traction that demand outweighs the supply: “We are ramping up business worldwide—Asia and Pacific Rim, Canada, the U.S., and Latin America. Even in downtimes, the touring and rental businesses remain strong.”

Easley also provided another reason his company is weathering the storm: “The economic slowdown is making us work harder. And we love to work hard for our customers.”

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D.

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D., is a lecturer at Franklin Pierce University.