In my last blog I chose to discuss how you can improve your knowledge of audio solutions simply by knowing the different support channels and asking the right questions. One facet I did not discuss was the need to have a desire to learn. Simply put- you will make every opportunity that much harder if you refuse to grow independently. I am no exception to this rule. As I admitted previously, I came into my new role “not knowing audio” but thanks to the plethora of support channels and various opportunities that exist, gaining this new knowledge is quite easy, all thanks to the team at Harman Professional Solutions.
While attending the most recent stop on the Almo E4 Experience tour in sunny California, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the team at Harman and their new Harman Experience Center which is located at 8500 Balboa Blvd. in Los Angeles. Pardon the pun, but WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! The moment you walk in the front door you are greeted by a light show through the winding hallway which works in step with the images on the large video wall further down the hall. Thanks to my unofficial “tour guides”
Mark Wilson and David Tewksbury, I was able to really entrench myself in all of the technology that surrounded me! A few steps further we were greeted by a row of actual Grammy Awards presented to Harman for their JBL and Lexicon lines amongst others. Truly innovators in the professional technology space! Coming from a retail background, I really focused in on their Connected Retail Experience display. As a business owner, imagine being able to KNOW who your customers truly are and then cater to those specific customers. From displaying male/female centric marketing to displaying specific content when a customer picks up a certain item, it’s all tied to improving the overall experience at a given store. It was very intriguing to see where we are headed in terms of custom shopping experiences.
The next steps on our tour was really the “heart of the Experience Center where I was able to learn about the Connected Huddle Space featuring the AMX Acendo Vibe speaker (which happens to be an Almo Best Seller!), an actual recording booth where we could test out all different models of AKG microphones (if you are lucky, David might sing for you!), and several Martin Lighting displays which were absolutely breathtaking! Martin Lighting has been used in Las Vegas, London, and so many more of the world’s biggest attractions so to EXPERIENCE that up close was amazing. One of the final stops of our tour was a large room where Harman has hosted several gatherings such as corporate events and parties. The room is set up to resemble part club, part concert hall, part Broadway stage. Directly in the middle of the room was a Soundcraft Vi3000 Digital Live Sound Console and boy was that impressive. It is the only console in its class that can be used by two engineers at the same time and despite all of the added features and functionality it also retains all of the features that have made its series the preferred choice for sound engineers. I had commented to Dave how many times I had seen similar models at concerts and various shows and how it only further demonstrated the theme of the day which was “EXPERIENCE”. This room allows you to demonstrate how Harman products function in certain environments. Listening to Phantom of the Opera on Broadway vs a lecture in a college auditorium vs smoke machines and disco lighting in a dance club….awe-inspiring! Out of this entire room, one of the final yet coolest experiences was the live concert demo complete with drum kit, lighting, smoke, and some of the loudest yet clearest speakers I’ve ever heard! The JBL VTX A12W is a dual 12” line array loudspeaker. The kind you would see at the largest world tours from some of the most popular music acts. Various Harman resellers have said “this might be the single best speaker that JBL has ever made” and after seeing/hearing it live I would have to agree! Starting with the simple installation to the crisp/clear vocals you hear it’s clearly a step above most. At one point, David told me to stand in a specific area and I found myself directly under this massive speaker. David walked over to join me and we had a typical conversation. He then looks over and says “pretty cool huh”….we were standing directly under this line array loudspeaker and I could hear him clear as day. When was the last time anyone went to a concert and didn’t have to shout all night to friends just to be heard? That is what clear/powerful sound will do for you!
It is always a pleasure in my line of work to spend time with our vendor partners. It provides an opportunity to learn more about the people and products that make the machine run smoothly. However, getting to spend time with Mark and Dave at the Harman Experience Center was unlike any previous meeting I’ve ever had. It was all part of the learning EXPERIENCE that I talked about previously. While you can certainly learn from online materials, various books, etc, there is something to be said about good old fashioned hands on learning and experiencing for yourself! I challenge each of you to experience all that Harman has to offer by visiting them in Los Angeles at 8500 Balboa Blvd. I know they would be more than happy to host you and your teams much like they did for me! Remember, this is all part of the desired end goal — to learn more about audio and better position your respective companies in the eyes of your customers. Thanks to Harman’s support system, educational opportunities, and unparalleled approach to technology and innovation, they should be the first stop along the way!