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At EHX, Demo Alley Exhibitors Stress Value

With consumers spending less money, companies tell installers to offer cost-effective, high-performance A/V systems.

Robert Archer · March 12, 2009

Like most of America, the show floor of EHX Spring is cautiously optimistic.

The stock market appears to be on track for a third day of positive news and the exhibitors in Demo Alley are hopeful that Wall Street’s fortunes will kick start a consumer spending spree.

Unlike years past, these exhibitors—led by companies like AudioControl, SIM2, THIEL Audio and Savant—are taking a calculated but aggressive approach to entice consumers that may be leery of spending their limited disposable income.

Headlining this approach is a movement that stresses value without conceding the performance attributes typically associated with more expensive systems.

Foster Referrals with Great Service

In the AudioControl Demo Alley presentation, Chris Kane, national sales manager for AudioControl, emphasized a two-prong approach of choosing the right components and thorough calibration to foster the word-of-mouth marketing that installers have relied upon in the past.

“Wealthy people tend to hang out with other wealthy people,” says Kane.

He explains that it’s important to make sure even the smallest of details are covered to ensure that installers create enough of a differential between themselves and their larger big-box retail competitors.

Sell Both Performance and Value

In its room down the hall, THIEL Audio’s Ken Dawkins covered many of the same points as Kane.

When Dawkins covered the components in the room, he was quick to point out that all the manufacturers in the room, which include SIM2, PS Audio and Vutec, could have set up a more expensive system.

But the purpose of the system, as he explained, is to show that consumers could get value and performance from a custom installer.

SIM2’s vice president of sales and marketing Charlie Boornazian explains that unless consumers are shown that there’s value to be had from an installer, they won’t buy their products and services.

The best way to accomplish the task of placing a consumer into a better solution than a mass-market flat-panel display is by the demo process—an installer’s best sales tool.

He says that in today’s market, a $5,000 projector like the D60 from SIM2 is an incremental cost increase that can be justified through the experience of seeing it demonstrated.

When compared to a flat-panel, there’s no comparison, he says and with the brightness ability of today’s projectors they can be used in just about any environment to suit any consumer.

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

News · AudioControl · CES · Demo · All Topics
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