Creating a Digital Music Showroom

Lenbrook's Digital Music Experience Center, a $28,000 pre-packaged 450-square-foot demo area, helps specialty retailer The Little Guys boost sales of digital music systems.

Lenbrook's Digital Music Experience Center is a $28,000, pre-packaged demo area that helps specialty retailers boost sales of digital music systems.

The trend is clear: Physical media for audio is dying a slow death as more consumers embrace digital music, from downloads to storage to Cloud-based solutions.

For Mokena, Ill.-based The Little Guys, a CE Pro 100 company, that trend has become a reality. That’s why David Wexler has become the first to install a new pre-packaged education and demo area from The Lenbrook Group.

It’s called the Digital Music Experience Center (DMEC), and Wexler carved out a 475-square-foot area in his specialty retail showroom for the DMEC to educate and demo real-world applications on how to obtain, store and transport personal music collections. Lenbrook’s copyrighted plan combines high-performance audio components with computer technology and other features that allow consumers to experience music in the showroom just as they would in their everyday lives.

“The fundamental objectives of our plan,” says Dean Miller, president and CEO of Lenbrook America, “are to introduce and educate specialty dealers to a holistic approach to marketing computer audio; to drive traffic into specialty retailers, and more specifically, to become more attractive to a new buying group (demographic) of younger people that are well aware of digital music but not necessarily aware of high-resolution audio and the performance enhancements it offers.”

Miller first got the idea in 2011 as he was moving from AudioQuest to Lenbrook, which distributes the NAD and PSB brands. He pulled together a consortium of people and companies to create the DMEC, including AudioQuest and Panamax/Furman, along with industry notables Chris Connaker (president & founder of ComputerAudiophile.com) and Gordon Rankin (father of the asynchronous USB DAC), Spencer Kalker of ImageCrafters and several integrators.

“We wanted to make it fun, exciting and cool,” notes Miller. “We want it to look like an Apple Store without copying them.”

imageLenbrook’s DMEC has six “zones” that each come with a scripted demo and equipment list. (Click image to enlarge)

6 Distinct Zones of Digital Audio
The DMEC has six distinct “zones.” Each area has a scripted demo and list of equipment. The plan does not call for exclusively Lenbrook product, and several brands are represented in the merchandising plan, but the entire showroom plan is copyrighted by Lenbrook and available exclusively through Lenbrook America. Customers need to be accompanied by a trained salesperson for the demo.

Zone 1 - Welcome, Education, & Qualification: This area is designed to welcome customers to the DMEC and invite them to learn more about digital music solutions and high-resolution audio options. The salesperson invites the customer to sit at a futuristic table in the area that is designed to look like a giant cloud. There, the salesperson uses a built-in monitor to help educate and qualify the customer as to what they have now and what they think they need. (See sidebar: 12 Qualifying Questions to Ask Clients about Digital Audio.)

This area also serves as the final meeting point with the customer.  It is recommended that the dealer provide the customer with a high-resolution audio file on a flash drive that is branded with the dealer’s logo. 

12 Qualifying Question to Ask Customers about Digital Audio
1. How do you listen to music now? 
2. What type of stereo or home theater gear do you have now to listen to music? Amp? Speakers?
3. Are you connected to the Internet at home? If yes, what type of router/modem do you use and/or what service provider do you subscribe to for internet access?
4. How many computers to do you have at home?  What type? 
5. Where is your music collection now?  HDD? CD collection?
6. Where would you like your music collection to be?
7. How would you like to control your music collection?
8. How do you manage your music collection now?  Do you use iTunes, Windows Media Center, or some other music management service via your computer?
9. Do you understand what compressed and lossy refer to?
10. Are you aware that today, using computers, you can experience “better than CD” sound quality?
11. Do you have a DIGITAL phone?  Do you listen to music on this product? 
12. Do you subscribe to any internet music services?  If yes, which are your favorites?

Zone 2 - Desktop System / Simple Wireless Single-Room Solution: In this area, dealers educate consumers on the various methods by which to simply and affordably transmit digital music stored on a computer to an audio and/or home theater system. The demo starts with a simple desktop/laptop computer and a pair of powered speakers, and progresses through several upgrade paths, including plugging in a DAC that connects to higher-end speakers. Headphones can also be demonstrated with this system.  Products in this area include those from NAD and PSB.

Zone 3 - Single Room Solutions featuring Portable Speaker Docks: This area demonstrates a single room and/or smaller dwelling experience to customers that need a simple, space saving solution, but do not want to sacrifice sound quality or performance.

This area also allows the customer to experience various communication protocols such as Bluetooth and Airplay. Products for this area can include Apple TV and audio products from NAD, B&W, Arcam, Bose or other comparable inexpensive speakers.

Zone 4 - Multi-Room, Multi-Source Network Audio Solutions: This area demonstrates various types of network audio products that stream music throughout the home using a wired or wireless home network.  Additionally, these systems will have the ability to interface with a number of various music sources: i.e. the Internet subscription based and/or free music services, a networked computer, or a network attached storage (NAS) hard drive loaded with a digital music collection. 

Additionally, this area demonstrates how to upgrade the limited bandwidth of the networked audio solution by adding higher performance amplification combined with a high performance digital-to-analog converter to upgrade to a high-resolution audio solution.  Products in this area include Sonos, NAD and Peachtree Audio.

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

Speakers · Amplifiers · News · Cloud · Demo · Digital Audio · Lenbrook America · Showroom · All Topics
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