When Savant CEO Bob Madonna laid out his aggressive product roadmap for CE Pro back in February 2017, he described how the Cape Cod-based smart home control manufacturer would provide end-to-end solutions for its integrators, everything from dedicated touchpanels to music servers to motorized shades to thermostats to AV-over-IP products. The company’s acquisition of Artison Speakers today is another milemarker in that roadmap, according to Madonna.
“The acquisition shows the strength of our company. We are back,” says Madonna, referring to the company admitted “stumble” last year in terms of its stalled product development for the custom installation channel. “We are innovating. We are financially strong.”
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Every Artison employee will be joining Savant. Artison’s Minden, Nev., (Lake Tahoe) location will be maintained as the West Coast audio engineering group for Savant.
Meanwhile the plan is to maintain the Artison brand name for the short term.
“Both brands are high end, so we haven’t quite figured out the full branding plan. It will definitely be a Savant-branded product line with the Artison brand alongside to start,” says Madonna.
Cary Christie, owner of Artison, will assume the title of CTO of Audio at Savant, bringing his creative and engineering skills talent to Savant.
“He is going to be helping me integrate these two product lines together. I am very excited to roll out with Cary some of the most advanced audio products this channel has seen in a long time. He has taught me a lot just in the past month. He is a wealth of knowledge,” notes Madonna.
Engineering, Dealer Base Cross Pollination
The buyout was not just done for engineering and new-product-development, but also a simple cross-pollination of the dealers. Savant integrators will now be able to buy Artison products, and likewise Artison integrators will have access to the Savant line.
Larry Abrams, technical director at CE Pro 100 company Audio Interiors in New York City, is one integrator excited by the combination.
“During my decades in the AV industry I have seen many new products. Both Savant and Artison continue to amaze me by developing new products that are both great and innovative. Savant was the first company to embrace the iPad/iPhone while others were still trying to ignore it, and their user interface is always a focus of their product developments, never an afterthought. Artison created the first low profile subwoofer that lets me enjoy architectural sound, and their use of Line Array Drivers allows concert recordings to sound like an actual concert. I can’t wait to find out what this synergy will produce.”
Madonna adds, “People want high-quality music experiences and it is important that we bring that to our customer base. We will not only leverage their technology and expertise but also their brand, dealer base and their reps. It is all complementary to the Savant business.”
Speaking of reps, Madonna says there was no duplication or conflict between the Artison rep network and Savant’s team of reps.
Madonna notes that distributed audio and high-quality music are backbones of home automation that are important categories to Savant’s authorized integrators.
“A few years ago we laid out the next generation of distributed audio with audio-over-IP via our ProAudio family of products that brings more flexibility to distributed audio systems by allowing you to stream music over IP and then distribute it to end points (aka speakers). It was important that we find a high-quality company to deliver those end points with what we are doing with audio over IP. That’s what led us to start discussions with Artison, which led to the acquisition and the joining of forces,” he says.
Madonna specifically touted the interesting technology in Artison’s drivers and the unique qualities of their amplifiers and speakers. Also, Artison’s Nano product line fits in nicely with the Savant product line.
“We are very excited. It is an exciting day for Savant and for Artison,” he concludes.