Into the Future with Advance Audio
Advance Audio Australia are one of the industry’s most supported distributors in the country, and for good reason. Representing arguably some of the world’s best audio-visual brands including Wilson Audio, KEF, Control4, D’Agostino, dCS, Linn and many more, it comes as no surprise.
The names Maggie Leow, Josef Riediger and Adam Merlino are known industry wide, with history in the Australian industry spanning more than 25 years. As directors of Advance Audio, you’d struggle to find anyone with their finger on the AV pulse harder than them.
So when an invitation landed on my desk to attend the national dealer conference in Melbourne, I saw it as a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the people that make Advance Audio tick, and find out more about the brands they represent, and the company’s culture.
Held at the Parkview Hotel in Melbourne over two days in June, the 2014 conference has seen the biggest support from their dealers in the company’s history. Michael Di Meglio, National Sales & Marketing Manager for Advance told attendees, “The last four years have seen tremendous growth for Advance Audio. Our 2012 dealer conference attracted 40 dealers, with 70 dealers attending in 2013, and in 2014 over 120 dealers have travelled to Melbourne to attend our conference”.
This growth is indeed respectable given Advance Audio’s recent focus on working with and supporting ‘quality’ dealers from around the country, rather than simply a ‘quantity’ of dealers; and there is no doubting that, given the attendee dealers list read more like a list of the who’s who of Hi-Fi and AV in Australia.
Spanning the two days of the conference, key speakers from Linn, Control4 and KEF delivered their ideas on the roadmap for the future of Hi-Fi, Audio-Visual, and in particular, integration, and the way we listen to music and access and control our media and content.
After Di Meglio’s introduction to the conference, Todd Miller, Director of Training at Control4, offered particularly interesting insight on the future of home automation and Google and Apple’s lack-lustre entry into this market. Their mantra, “Life’s better when everything works together” couldn’t be more accurate. As our home becomes more ‘connected’, it’s also becoming increasing complicated and fragmented. Control4’s focus on security, lighting, comfort, entertainment, and creating a simplistic and seamless interface is timely.
Day two also included a comprehensive training program for Control4 dealers designing and implementing Control4 systems. Australian dealers are benefiting from world-level training and expertise thanks to Control4 and Advance Audio.
Look out for our upcoming feature on Control4 and why this company is a world-leader in home automation and integration.
World famous loudspeaker manufacturer for over 50 years, KEF, was represented at the conference by Product Development Manager, David Kroll. With what seemed like an endless bag of candy and treats for those being attentive, Kroll gave an informative presentation on the history of KEF, but more interestingly, insight into just how seriously KEF take their product development.
It became apparent KEF’s focus is on two key principles; ‘music’ and ‘application’. For such a long-established company it’s obvious their ability to evolve through many market shifts, and changing consumer habits is the key to their long-standing success. KEF’s product range is extensive, and most punters probably wouldn’t realise just how impressive, and innovative their custom installation (CI) range is. In fact, technology and design aspects from their flagship Blade and Muon speakers filter right down through their CI products, presenting unique products with a serious focus on sound quality, rather than cheap prices with little concern for the actual sound. It’s refreshing to know that one of the world’s largest speaker manufacturers employs true audiophiles and music enthusiasts.
When you think of prestigious brands in Hi-Fi, Linn would be one name up the top of the list. Angus Lawrie, Marketing Director for Linn was on hand to deliver key information and to demonstrate the Linn Lounge, located in the Presidential Suite of the Parkview Hotel for attendees.
Lawrie convincingly explained the culture of Linn, and their ‘source first’ philosophy. “We exist to eliminate loss”, with the end-goal of bridging the gap between the artist and the listener. The Linn Exakt system is a perfect example of a historic Hi-Fi company embracing the digital age, and not losing relevance in a fast-paced, technology driven market.
StereoNET will take a closer look at the Exakt systems from Linn in an up-coming feature.
What was apparent from Lawrie's presentation is the level of commitment and support, technical assistance and marketing resources Linn makes available to its dealers, world-wide. The Linn Lounge initiative that Linn have launched and are rolling out around the globe is a perfect example. Getting back to the “music”, offering an evening of music and artist knowledge, presented impeccably and demonstrated via the Linn Exakt systems is truly unique. If you’re a retailer I encourage you to speak to Advance Audio about hosting these evenings. For enthusiasts reading don’t pass up an opportunity to attend a Linn Lounge when you get the chance.
Sadly, Linn’s 40th Anniversary Highland Park whisky was not available for sampling by attendees. I did ask.
Throughout the duration of the conference the mezzanine level was home to the Advance Audio supplier expo. With various products on display from key suppliers to Advance, representatives were also on-board to walk through some of the brands' latest developments.
The grand event of the 2014 Advance Audio Dealer conference took place on Thursday evening, with the Advance Audio Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony. With over 120 Hi-Fi and AV enthusiasts in one room, plenty of ‘beverages’ flowing and great food, the night went off without a hitch. Being entertained throughout the evening by the comic genius Dan Willis, celebrations turned serious only briefly for the Advance Audio Dealer Awards.
StereoNET would like to congratulate the following dealers for their well-deserved recognition.
Control4 Platinum Status Dealers
Audio Connection Australia (NSW), Life Style Store (NSW), Lifestyle Concepts (NSW), JFK Audio Visual (NSW), Custom Sound and Vision (VIC), Carlton Audio Visual (VIC), Smartfit Australia (QLD), Trimira Audio and Integration (QLD), Kaiser AI (WA), SAVI Systems (WA).
KEF Dealers of the Year
Melbourne Hi-Fi (VIC)
Clef Hi-Fi (VIC)
Electronic Interiors (WA)
Apollo Hifi (NSW)
SAVI Systems (WA)
Linn Dealers of the Year
Jim Tate Stereo (SA)
Trimira Audio and Integration (QLD)
Douglas Hi-Fi (WA)
Musical Images (VIC)
Audio Connection Australia (NSW)
Control4 Project Award Winners
Best Residential - Highly Commended - SoundTek (WA)
Best Residential – Winner - Life Style Store (NSW)
Best Commercial - Suite Control (NSW)
Advance Audio Awards 2014
Most Improved Dealer Tivoli Hi-Fi (VIC)
Most Improved Dealer SAVI Systems (WA)
Dealer of the Year: Trimira Audio and Integration
For the super keen, dealers and international representatives were also treated to attending an AFL game, or 'footy' as most of the country refers to it on the Friday night. What a great way to show what it's all about with a Four 'n Twenty, beer and Carlton Vs. Hawthorn.
Advance Audio Australia should be commended for the commitment and investment in their dealers and to the Australian Hi-Fi and AV industry. Success in business can often be attributed in part, to the right partners and suppliers. Advance Audio have proven they have solid foundations as a true wholesale distributor, with dedicated technical support, warehousing and logistics, marketing and sales representatives.
Hats off to Advance Audio.