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Posted: 25-Aug-2018, 09:34 AM
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Washington Music's sound room of the futureElectronic Switching System Allows For Instantaneous Demonstrations Of Hundreds Of Audio ComponentsBy seeking opportunity wherever and whenever possible, Chuck Levin's Washington Music has evolved from a small Washington, DC, pawn shop into the industry's largest-grossing single location. Over the last 30 years the Levin family has succeeded by ignoring conventional wisdom and listening to the needs of the market. Long before synthesizers became an industry mainstay, Washington Music stocked them in depth. The company was also one of the first M.I. retailers to aggressively pursue the professional sound market. Rather than add branches, the Levins concentrated all their efforts on making their Wheaton, Maryland, location a magnet for customers from around the world. The result of this independent-minded approach has been wildly successful; with sales of $33.0 million in 1993, Washington Music ranked as the sixth largest operation in the U.S. On most productivity measures. though, the company scored off the charts.FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://steemit.com/best/@kevinsteffey/hot-...ed-car-speakersNow with the opening of a new and extraordinarily equipped pro sound room, Washington Music is once again on the cutting edge in music products merchandising. Switching between different combinations of speakers, power amps, signal process gear, and mixing consoles has always been a major headache in sales demonstrations. In the past, well organized retailers made use of patch bays to wire up different components, while less well equipped retailers cursed and struggled with a hopeless tangle of wire.user posted imageAt the new Washington Music sound room, setting up sound systems is no longer a challenge. Thanks to a custom-designed electronic switching system, salespeople can link up any of the 80 different speaker enclosures on display with 80 different power amps, 12 different crossovers, dozens of different signal processors, and dozens of different consoles at the touch of a switch. The system is also modular, so it can easily be expanded at a future date to accommodate additional audio components."This system is going to make a tremendous difference in our sound business," declared Chuck Levin, Washington Music president, who gives his sons Alan and Robert credit for installing it. "There's nothing else like it in the industry and it makes for an extremely effective and professional demonstration."Alan Levin, who remembers spending hours in a crawl space under the floor in the early '70s to install Washington Music's first patch bay system, said, "Ever since that time, I thought there should be a better way to be able to demonstrate sound gear." Inspiration for the current system came when he visited a car stereo store and saw an electronic switching system that made it possible to select dozens of different speaker, CD player, and amplifier configurations. While Washington Music's current system is based on the same concept as the switching systems used for car audio showrooms, it is a one-of-a-kind installation that had to be built from the ground up."I called on a lot of companies that supplied audio retailers, and they were all interested at first," said Alan. "Once we explained what we needed, though, they all seemed to lose interest." The main problem was creating a system capable of handling the power of pro-audio systems. While a high-powered best car speakers for sound qualitysystem boasts 100 watts, it's nothing for a mid-sized sound system to use 1,000 watts of power. The consultant who finally agreed to build a system for Washington Music had to design special components and employ heavy-duty wiring to cope with the power of pro-audio gear.Given that the switching system at Washington Music was a one-of-a-kind installation, design and construction took longer than originally expected. "It was frustrating waiting for the system to get up and running," Alan said, "but since we were spending a lot of money, we decided it would be better to get it done right than do it in a hurry." After a brief shakedown period to work out any bugs, the system was fully functional in late August. Since that time it has performed perfectly."It all comes down to making it easier for the customer to buy," said Alan, explaining the benefits of the system. "As fast as customers can point to a different set of speakers or a different power amp, we can reconfigure the system. They end up getting to hear a lot more components than back when we used a patch bay because the setup time is so much faster. The result is that they feel more confident about their purchase. They don't walk away wondering if they'd have been better off having bought something else."Like most M.I. retailers, Washington Music's first exposure to the sound market came by selling Shure Vocal Masters in the '60s. As the market for live sound grew, the company began stocking an increased selection of audio components, and in the '70s the company installed a sound room. Recognizing that certain pro-audio customers were uncomfortable buying from an M.I. store, in 1985 Alan and Robert Levin established Washington Pro Sound, a separate company that served the high-end pro audio market. With installations like the sound system in the Pittsburgh airport and an interactive educational video system for Ameritech, Washington Pro Sound racked up sales of nearly $20 million last year. "Broadcasters or architects don't like the idea of buying equipment next to a guy who is trying out a Stratocaster," explained Robert, who spends the majority of his time managing Washington Pro Sound.user posted imageDespite divisions within the sound market, the new Washington Music sound room reflects the increasing convergence of the M.I. and the sound markets. The new showroom combines the display and merchandising flair associated with the M.I. industry as well as the technical expertise of traditional sound contractors. "With churches, schools, and commercial venues, the market for sound products is tremendous," noted Alan. "We think there's an opportunity to upgrade a lot of existing systems if you make it easy for people to see and understand the benefits of a new system."SEE ALSO: Best 6x8 car speakers, 6x8 car speakers reviews best car speakers for sound qualityIn 1968, when race dots devastated downtown Washington, DC, Washington Music was burned to the ground. Insurance settlements covered only a fraction of the losses, and the store was effectively out of business. Undaunted by the disaster, Chuck Levin reopened in suburban Wheaton and with remarkable determination built Washington Music into a far more substantial enterprise. Reflecting on his 30 years in business, he said matter-of-factly, "We work hard at it everyday and are constantly looking for little improvements. Over time, they all add up, which is why we're where we are today."

This post has been edited by david4121 on 29-Oct-2018, 06:36 PM
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