|Josef Riediger and Maggie Leow|
|Key Statistics & Information|
|Harman Brands Supported||
Arcam and Lexicon
The Harman Luxury Audio Group is proud to have some of the best high-end consumer electronics partners across the globe. Each month, we have the pleasure of learning a little bit more about one of our dealers or distributors. This month, we spoke with the folks at Advance Audio in Sydney, Australia.
How long have you been in business?
Advance Audio was founded in 1995, so would make it 25 years in business this year. It was founded by Josef Riediger and Maggie Leow. Having established a high-end retail store seven years prior, they opened Advance Audio Australia to focus on representing mid-fi audio products from Europe and the USA.
How many locations do you have?
Advance Audio’s headquarters is based in Sydney with a team that spans across the whole country.
How did Advance Audio get its start?
In 1995, Josef and Maggie were approached by several brands that had products that had more of a mass-market appeal than the high-end audiophile products that had formed the core of their portfolio to that point. They decided to form Advance Audio to represent these brands and distribute them across the country. In 2011, Advance Audio started to delve more into the custom installation sector with the addition of control system brands, networking equipment and cabling, as well as the addition of new speaker brands that had a strong custom installation range. This blend of custom installation and mid to high-end audio products is the perfect complement for the market of today.
How many people are on the Advance Audio team?
We have twelve people in the Advance Audio team, which span across all functions of distribution – product, support, logistics, representation and marketing. It’s a small, humble and tightknit team that all come from a different background, so when we combine our skills and experience it’s a beautiful thing.
Thoughts on the importance of training?
The qualities that separate a serious player from a hobbyist in the luxury audio market are training, promotion and after-sales service. Anyone can make a product. But to make it marketable, deployable and supportable is the true difference. Whenever there is a new model, or a new range that enters our portfolio, we will spend a lot of resources to ensure that we are equipped to proactively train our dealers and customers on it, and to answer those curly technical questions that come in once out in the field. We pride ourselves on providing an end-to-end solution, which is critical for us in Australia given that we have a very small window of being in the same time zone as the rest of the world, so it’s not so easy just to pick up a phone and call someone overseas.
What do you like most about Harman Luxury Audio products and which lines do you feature?
We’re proud to represent Arcam and Lexicon in our portfolio. The strong history of these brands serve them well, and their latest iterations of their receivers and two-channel products does this legacy proud. Arcam has the ideal price point that is above the entry level and below the uber-expensive theatre products and complements our product range well.
Just the other day I had a custom integrator in our office doing some work for us and we were idly chatting about AV Receivers. After previously using some of the competition for most of his jobs, he tried the Arcam AVR390 on a recent job, and from that point on he has only specified Arcam in all his jobs. The sound quality of Arcam is something that he couldn’t get past, and even went back to some of his existing jobs to replace the existing AV Receivers with Arcam.
The latest range of Arcam receivers has hit this sweet spot extremely well, combining the latest HDMI specifications, custom installer friendly functions with the impressive audio performance we’ve become used to. Add Dirac Live on top of that, and you have a product range than any decent integrator or retailer would be happy to support.
How do you think the luxury audio industry is currently doing?
The luxury audio industry has really hit its stride in recent years. I think a lot of manufacturers have made great strides in promoting luxury audio as a desirable thing, and whilst it’s not quite in the same league yet as watches or cars, we’re making great progress.
The other thing that has changed relatively recently is accessibility. Up until platforms like Spotify Connect and Tidal, hi-fi was still very much a hobbyist field as the barrier to entry for the mass-market was too great. Now that high end manufacturers are combining ease of access with their products, the message to the everyday consumer is so much easier – it’s like their Bluetooth speaker, only better.
What is Advance Audio’s mission?
As a distributor, our job is to best represent the brands that have been entrusted to us in our region. In the past, it was much more of a box-moving exercise, as our primary focus was just on logistics and inventory control. These days, it’s much more than that – Advance Audio Australia must become the brands that we represent, which means that we focus a lot more on training, marketing, information flow and representation through online and offline channels. This requires representatives from the manufacturers we represent to join us on national road trips and events, and we’re blessed to have George Robertson come with us to wave the Harman flag. Having direct contact with the manufacturer allows us to spread the message far easier, especially if George makes the trip down here in person. We always appreciate an overseas visit just because of how far away we are from the rest of the world.
You have the floor. Anything else you want to share with us about Advance Audio that you would like the world to know?
Advance Audio has been with Harman for well over twenty years now. At some point of our history, we have touched all the brands in the Harman luxury range. We have really noticed a huge improvement in Harman in the past two or three years across the board, but particularly in support. I feel that Harman, like Advance Audio, recognise the importance of not just sales, but the support channel, and have invested in it, which gives us the confidence to represent them locally. This approach is in line with our overall approach with every brand in our portfolio. We’re proud to be associated with Harman and look forward to many more years with them.
For more info on Adavned Audio, visit their wesbite at advanceaudio.com.au