Paul Hales, owner and president, Pro Audio Technology, is one of the innovators in the custom installation industry.
Years ago, before many had thought about bringing commercial audio concepts into residential environments, Hales launched Pro Audio Technology. Today, the company offers a complete product line of loudspeakers, amplifiers and controllers to help integrators meet the highest of performance objectives.
More recently — actually just weeks from the COVID-19 induced lockdown of March 2020 — Hales had launched his latest endeavor: Theory Audio Design. As Hales explains in this week’s CE Pro Podcast episode, since the launch of Theory Audio Design, he’s been busy keeping up with the soaring demand of home audio products, while trying to maintain his supply chain components inventory.
“One of the things that we don’t really want to benefit from other people’s misfortune or whatever, but the pandemic has actually been good for us because it’s caused people to focus on getting more of their entertainment in the home right,” Hales says.
“They are spending more time inside and so in 2020 — in particular 2021 — we enjoyed a pretty significant growth. Actually, one of the trends we’re seeing is people are spending more money than the last few years on their entertainment both in terms of distributed audio, but also for home theaters. We’re getting requests for more and more proposals for very large systems … six-figure kind of systems and that’s been pretty consistent.”
Immersive Audio Drives Pro Audio Technology Product Designs
One large theater product that a Pro Audio Technology dealer was involved actually spurred Hales into developing a new product, he recalls.
A Southern California Pro Audio Technology dealer was pulled into a theater installation in a Yacht located in Italy, Hales says. The $800 million boat was getting a theater based on DCI (digital cinema initiatives) specifications, and as such all of the theater’s speakers needed to be aimed at the reference listening position.
The problem, Hales continues, is the mounting depth for the speakers presented an issue, so as a result he developed a speaker with a 4-inch mounting depth.
Taking the concepts of this custom speaker design, Hales went on to engineer the newly released the SR-28212ai loudspeaker, which includes a pair of 12-inch subwoofers. The shallow-mount speaker also incorporates a pair of 8-inch midrange drivers, and the company’s 1.75-inch compression driver mounted within a PRO Theorem Wide Dispersion Axi-Symmetric Waveguide.
Addressing the Theory Audio Design brand, Hales admits the pandemic has slowed his timeline on the product line’s rollout.
“So, the company is doing very well, but it’s going very slow. The biggest impact of the pandemic on Theory has been it’s just delayed everything. Both in our ability to go out and do the sales and marketing of the products,” he says.
“We had planned to go to CEDIA [Expo] last year and with the majority of manufacturers pulled out of that show due to safety concerns, we elected to do the same thing. And while the products have been very well received, everything has been slowed.” Just this week, however, Theory announced an in-ceiling loudspeaker.
Hear more from Hales, including his thoughts on the impact room acoustics and system design have on high performing home audio systems, by downloading or watching the full podcast above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.