Situated in the heart of the nation's heartland, Middleton, WI is blanketed with clean air and clean living, and shares many of the same progressive values held dear in the Wisconsin state capital of Madison, its immediate neighbor to the east.
Imbued with the spirit of its surroundings, Full Compass calls a modern 75,000-square-foot facility at 8001 Terrace Avenue in Middleton home. A source for audio, video, broadcast and lighting components, as well as comprehensive installation and consulting services, the company keeps over $7 million in inventory on hand drawn from more than 600 product lines. Having served the pro audio marketplace for 28 years, it brings technologies of all description to applications large and small, as well as a staff of professionals offering repair, rental and design expertise.
"It seems as if there are no boundaries to what we can do," VP of sales and marketing Janine Masten said, reflecting on Full Compass' place in the world. "It's gotten to the point where we wear so many hats, it's hard to sum up who we are succinctly. That's why I get really mad when someone who doesn't know us refers to us as 'just a box house.' That's not who we are at all, and there's never been a time in our history when anyone could fairly call us that. We write specifications, design and repair gear, and host training seminars. There are multiple personalities running all through this company."
Bringing even further identity to the multifaceted Full Compass persona these days is the company's move into media management with its own proprietary product. Developed and built totally in-house, the Clonetone MediaPC brings enhanced, universal control to all popular forms of digital content. Enabling home users to take the management and access functions required of TV, video, music, photos and PC-based games to an entirely new level, the device is offered in its base form with an 80 GB/7200 rpm hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, a 128 MB NVIDIA GeForce video card, and Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS sound card. Additionally outfitted with custom features allowing you to watch, pause, rewind, record, slow-mo and playback live TV-even in HDTV-the Clonetone MediaPC is capable of storing hundreds of hours of recorded program material. This can later be burned to CD or DVD without using any other external source, and can either be rackmounted or easily integrated with other electronic components.
The introduction of the MediaPC last year was made in response to the demands of system integrators serving both professional and residential markets. "A lot of our customers were asking for an all-inclusive, computer-based media system," related Shawn McLoughlin, Full Compass sales supervisor. "Following a period of research and discovery, we felt we could best serve that market segment by designing and building just such a product ourselves."
With systems integration specialist, Chris Nackers, enlisted to help bring all of the engineering elements together, the product was designed around Windows XP Media Center 2005 software. Once the design was finalized, production was scheduled, and the first units were rolled out with an array of features eagerly embraced by consultants and integrators.
"The market for these kinds of devices is indeed competitive," Nackers noted. "But our MediaPC, unlike others which are housed in standard PC towers, works well in virtually any application-especially residential ones-as it's easy to stack with other components, and can be rackmounted too if desired."
Full Compass Comes Full Circle
Full Compass Systems, Ltd. was founded by Jonathan Lipp in 1977 as an adjunct to Full Compass Sound Studios, a recording studio located in Madison. Utilizing an initial investment of $11,000 to launch the upstart company, Lipp was joined in the business by his wife, Susan, in 1978. Together, the pair brought Full Compass up by its bootstraps, eventually posting annual sales of $50 million as the calendar took a turn into the 21st century.