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DECT Wireless Technology…Where does it fit?

Wireless Frequencies

With the ever-decreasing bandwidth associated with wireless microphone technology in the UHF band, other wireless bands had to be explored. There is the VHF (Very High Frequency) band with a range of between 25 and 300 MHz, with most of this now unlicensed for wireless microphone operation. Then there is the 900 Mhz band. This falls into the 900-928Mhz range and is used frequently, although restricted by internet service providers who have established networks in this range. The UHF band, which operates in the 400 Mhz to 900 Mhz range. UHF has been widely used for various types of wireless microphones as well as other commercial communications. UHF was severely impacted by a FCC ruling that effectively banned any wireless microphones in 698 to 806 MHz portion of the UHF spectrum in 2010. Then in 2020, largely restricted this further to 600 MHz or above.

This portion of the wireless spectrum is now controlled for UHF TV broadcast and commercial use only. Then there is 2.4Ghz, which is allowed to operate within the 2.400 Ghz and 2.483 Ghz only. As you might imagine, this portion is also heavily used by Wi-Fi devices, which can cause unwanted dropouts as well as low component use, typically 4 units or less.

Finally, we come to DECT, which stands for “Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications” and was originally launched in 1993. This operates in the 1880-1900 MHz band with channels available from 1881.792 to 1897.344 MHz with a gap at 1728 MHz. In the United States, the DECT frequency allocation is 1920 to 1930 MHz. This is now commonly referred to as DECT 6.0. This band will not interfere with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technologies and allows for significant channel counts to be used.


This technology virtually eliminates interference from other wireless devices and connectivity up to 350 feet. In some cases, this system can also use high channel density with up to 96 microphones capacity. The downside is that the system requires it’s own wireless network with access point and repeaters in some cases. There is additional cost for this equipment, but for larger systems, it is offset by the functionality of the system. Also, no other devices use this portion of the wireless spectrum.

The only other disadvantage that must be understood with DECT is the TDMA (Time-Division Multiple Access) technology it uses. There is an inherent delay or latency with the system, as each device must connect to a predefined time slot. This delay or latency is typically 18-20ms between the input of a microphone to the output of the access point. This can impact live applications and must be understood as part of any DECT system. For UC usage, it is unlikely that is would ever be noticed as there is already inherent delay for any UC communication.

According to Holger Stolze of Yamaha UC, “The problem of latency can be controlled by where the loudspeakers are placed with respect to the microphones in a voice lift scenario, and therefore DECT devices are not typically recommended for performance use such as singing or other live performance applications.”

church audio solutions

So, with this understanding, DECT has quickly become the most widely used wireless technology for conference applications. Also, in many instances, the manufacturer will assist with applications, access point, and/or repeater location and how the system should be set up for the intended use. Panasonic Professional has a team of engineers who will provide a complete set of instructions, programming notes, and even room diagrams to assure the system functions properly. Petro Shimonishi of Panasonic US tells it this way:

church audio solutions

“Panasonic leverages our 30+ year history of innovation and leadership in DECT wireless technology. These products have been designed with the end-user in mind. The system can even be integrated with our PTZ cameras to allow for voice triggered camera presets for a more seamless conference experience.”

Finally, the other real advantage of DECT over other more prominent wireless microphones like UHF is that it does not require frequency coordination, as it is automatically managed by the number of microphones in a given system. This is unlike UHF, which requires careful and sometimes difficult frequency coordination where multiple channels are used or where adjacent units can bleed into the spectrum, causing unwanted dropouts or interference.

The bottom line here is the DECT wireless has quickly become the gold standard for teleconference and videoconference applications. Excellent sound quality and ease of use keep these products in high demand. When you think of conference applications and need a wireless solution, contact your Exertis Almo representative or visit Our Audio Team has all the right tools for your application with products by Shure, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Panasonic, just to name a few. We are always ready to assist you with the very best solutions for your project.


John Fuqua
About the Author

John Fuqua | CTS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Audio Applications, Amplivox, Audix, Bose, Denon, Marantz, Rane, Shure, Sennheiser, Yamaha UC

Streaming into the Future: How bandwidth needs have expanded for Houses of Worship

Let us rewind the clock to early 2019. I was in a discussion with a customer who asked me what the top verticals were in regards to bandwidth needs. I had received this very common question countless times, so I answered in the same manner: hospitality, bar & restaurant, education, etc. As we happily fast-forward through 2020 and 2021, I would now place House of Worship amongst the top 3. The reason is quite simple — as the Hospitality and Bar/Restaurant markets clearly battled the ripple effects from the pandemic, it was Houses of Worship who I believe felt a similar impact that few were prepared for. Houses of Worship rely on the some of the same factors as those other verticals do, but the impact can be overlooked if you are not able to predict the future. To survive, these places of worship must keep their doors open for the community and be able to spread their message to the congregation. Shutter those doors due to a global pandemic, and the message risks getting lost.

It was quite fitting that in February 2020, less than 30 days from the time that the state of NJ shut down, I found myself attending a project walk-through at Groveville United Methodist Church in Groveville, NJ. The purpose of this visit was to update the audio/visual and to use this new technology to attract new members in the future. One by one, the integrator and I ran through qualifying questions to better identify the needs they had as we assembled the perfect bill of materials. I asked the church’s technical director if he planned on streaming services or events, to which he immediately said, “We prefer to have folks here in person.” Having understandably not been able to predict what the future held, I certainly do not blame him or others for replying in that manner. As we fast-forwarded to April 2020, I remember a phone call with another integrator who seemed exasperated on the call as he explained, “I have this very small, rural church in Illinois, and they desperately need to be able to stream their services to reach their members at home.” This was the moment it became the clearest – Houses of Worship had a dire need to reach members near and far and to achieve that, Bandwidth was the top requirement.

Streaming used to be a “cool to have” rather than a “have to have” need in this space. Most would probably associate streaming to the Mega Churches that we see on TV or in major cities. However, much like how the Pro AV industry and the push to use AVoIP, HoW have grown to accept that streaming simply cannot be overlooked. The question becomes, “Where do we even begin?” I say, start at bandwidth! There are two types of bandwidth in play here: the bandwidth that you are streaming at and the bandwidth that the stream is being watched at. Let us address these in two separate ways. Bandwidth is provided with two numbers – a download speed and an upload speed. When I refer to something as a 100×10 that means 100mb download and 10mb upload. When we are discussing streaming needs, we pay closer attention to the “UP” number specifically, because you are uploading the stream of the video and sharing this content to a larger audience. A general rule of thumb is that you have no less than a stable 5mb (megabits) upload speed to successfully stream. Given how most high speed cable internet providers start at 10mb upload speeds nowadays, this should not be too difficult to achieve. With that being said, any internet customer needs to understand that just because you are paying for a 100×10 cable package, does not mean you are receiving consistent 100×10 speeds. Those numbers are simply the “maximum advertised speeds” that the provider promotes, but when you factor in things like network traffic, time of day, and other extenuating circumstances (think about the number of people working from home and homeschooling in 2020 as an example), the speeds you receive in real time will almost normally be less. It is because of this that I never would recommend the bare minimum. For typical streaming needs, I would be comfortable recommending a 300×20 package or higher. This should ensure that you never run into issues when you can least afford to! Thinking back to the small, rural church I mentioned earlier, they were relying on a local DSL connection, which only had upload speeds of 1.5mb, hence their dire need to improve.

The second type of bandwidth we need to be cognizant of is the bandwidth at which the video is being watched. Obviously, it is an impossible task to attempt to determine the bandwidths of everyone who is watching, so you might want to offer the stream in different forms: HD, 4K, etc. A good HD stream would fall under the 5mb recommendation I just made, whereas 4k would cause that to rise, but again, say 10-15mb most high speed cable options will suffice nowadays in regard to the content streaming. While talking about the content streaming, we cannot overlook other factors such as the overall number of devices on the customer’s network. Thinking about your own home as an easy example. You probably have cell phones, smart TVs, thermostats, alarm systems, tablets, PC’s and more all tied to your home network. If you now apply that same thought to HOW you may have some similarities such as cell phones, PC’s etc. but now you might also have streaming cameras, audio components, assistive listening devices and more to consider. It is because of this that many HOW will look to a Dedicated Internet Access (aka Fiber) because it is as the name implies. You are receiving a dedicated service for your building that is backed by an SLA (service level agreement) therefore; you are receiving the speeds you are paying for. It might be wiser to look at a 50×50 DIA service instead of that 300×20-cable service, based on what your needs are and what your network looks like. Sure there is an increase in cost with DIA, but the peace of mind you will receive each time you attempt to stream a service is worth it in most cases. Wouldn’t you agree?

Bandwidth within HOW is not a “one size fits all” model. I have already mentioned high-speed cable, DIA, and DSL as examples of what is out there. You also have wireless and satellite services, which in the right situation, could still be viable sources. What do you do when you are a small/rural church with no cable or fiber internet available within 100 miles? You possibly turn to a satellite internet service, which is available, nationwide and while not as adequate as a 10mb upload speed, can still offer 4mb, which for a small church should do the trick. The key is- options are available to nearly everyone! For houses of worship and integrators alike, there are more bandwidth options than ever before to help make streaming into the future a PRESENT reality.

Want to know more about streaming for Houses of Worship?
Check out Patrick Booth’s “Behind the Panel” blog on Cameras for the HOW market: HERE

Exertis Almo’s AV Business Communication Services create opportunities for more margin and recurring revenue for our reseller and integrator partners. Including internet and mobility solutions, our Business Communications Services are tailored to the individual needs of each property. By staying ahead of industry trends, our highly skilled team creates a new monthly revenue stream at no cost to you.

Learn more about Exertis Almo’s Business Communication Services: HERE

Enjoy this blog?
Let Rob know over on LinkedIn …and/or connect with #TeamExertisAlmo on our LinkedIn company page.

Robert Voorhees
About the Author

Rob Voorhees | CTS, CTP, DSCE, CTNS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Business Communications Services, and Harman: AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, DBX, JBL, Soundcraft, Martin Lighting

Assistive Listening…Have You Heard the Latest?

Most of us take hearing for granted these days. However, a large portion of the population in the U.S. (about 38% of those aged 12 or older) have some form of hearing loss. This equates to 1 in 8 people with some form of hearing loss. As a sound engineer who has relied on my ears for 30+ years working in the AV industry, I feel we need to take every step possible to assure those around us can hear as clearly as possible. There are more effective assistive listening technologies than ever before available today.

graph assistive listening

In the AV industry, we are in a unique position to promote products that can provide the hearing assistance needed by so many people. The choices range from loop systems to FM, IR, Bluetooth, digital, and Wi-Fi based systems, with the Wi-Fi systems gaining popularity as they allow the user to incorporate their own personal phone without need of an additional device. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) also requires public spaces to provide ALS (Assistive Listening System) to accommodate those who require it.

Not only do we provide audio systems that can amplify all content to an audience, but we also have tools to help those with more acute hearing loss. Intelligibility is one of the leading issues that ALS can help to overcome. Sound systems provide overall sound level increases but to those with hearing loss, the intelligibility of the human voice can still be a problem.

ALS systems can also have other uses. Tour guide systems and Interpretation Systems also use this technology very effectively. Let’s explore the latest technology available and how it can be both a vital addition to any audio system, as well as profit center for the integrator. The most recent addition to ALS is the BYOD solution, such as ListenEVERYWHERE® by Listen Technologies. This system utilizes Wi-Fi technology for use with any user’s personal smart device or a proprietary smart device provided, should a user require it. By using their own device, the ALS can be seamless, flexible, and invisible. This is much more desirable than a solution that forces them to use a receiver for a proprietary system.

According to Sam Nord, VP of Global Channel Sales for Listen Technologies, “Listen Everywhere has broadened the ability of venues to offer assistive listening because it allows users to choose the method in which they want to be accommodated. For example, we’ve seen a huge interest in Wi-Fi based assistive listening technology in the education sector, where so many of the students are already smartphone users, so accessing assistive listening via their Smart device is often a preferred method compared to having to ask for a hardware device and the logistics that sometimes go along with that. Similarly, in the House of Worship market, Wi-Fi based assistive listening allows venues to offer assistive listening to a much larger portion of their congregations than a hardware based system since anyone with a smart device now has access to the system. That said, the availability of Wi-Fi receivers allows those patrons who prefer to use a separate device for assistive listening to be accommodated as well.”

This has addressed some of the hurdles that remain, regarding where ALS systems are required. There is still some confusion about this. The ADA requirements vary from state to state and for different venues as well. Education, performing arts, government, and most public spaces base their system requirements on the number of attendees or a ratio of the total seating capacities. Churches, in many cases, also provide ALS systems as a part of their ministry, even if they are not required. With the more conventional systems, the facility was required to purchase a system with a percentage of receivers that are made available to those who need them. This tends to draw attention to users, and in many cases, causes some to avoid getting the hearing assistance they really need.

“The more the AV industry understands about this technology and provides for their customers rather than just checking a box of being ADA compliant, the more widely ALS will be used,” Nord continues. “With assistive listening, to make sure we are accommodating those who need this important technology, the one thing I always evangelize is being proactive in pushing assistive listening rather than being reactive. If you are specifying speakers, microphones, or other audio technology into a project, there is a high probability that there are folks who will be utilizing that system who would benefit from an assistive listening system, so ensuring there is a system available is the best thing you can do to encourage inclusion.”

The main point here is that ALS should be considered a part of any audio system in a venue when the system is in the design phase, just like loudspeakers, amplifiers, or any other components. As the AV industry fully understands the benefit of the assistive listening systems, this will encourage inclusion for all who attend an event, go to church, and learn in a classroom.

church audio solutions

The next step is easyContact Exertis Almo and we can assist with any Assistive Listening Technology you may need for your project or facility. We can provide complete design support and connect you with companies like Listen Technologies to assure you have the best solution for any application. There are many new products on the horizon and 2023 will include some compelling upgrades to offer even further capability for this vital technology.

American Journal of Public Health
Sam Nord, VP of Global Channel Sales for Listen Technologies
John Fuqua

About the Author

John Fuqua | CTS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Audio Applications, Amplivox, Audix, Bose, Denon, Marantz, Rane, Shure, Sennheiser, Yamaha UC

Audio Product Diversity…Are You Prepared?

History of supply chain issues

As most who work in the current Professional and Commercial AV industry know, maintaining an inventory of audio products has become a daily exercise. The supply chain and chip issues continue to shape what products we have access to and how audio systems are implemented in many cases. Most manufacturers of products, such as wireless microphones, digital signal processors (DSP), and amplifiers are still experiencing lengthy product delays.

Tom Keefe groom's men

To understand more, we must look back to some of the factors which led to this shortage. Covid-19 severely slowed production of either components or finished goods from Asia, and especially China, starting in 2019. This was exacerbated by a devastating fire at the AKM chip factory in Japan in 2020. This plant produced a large amount of the computer chips and DACs (digital audio converters) used in professional audio equipment. This slowed the production of audio components to a crawl. Another aspect was the “just in time” strategy that was employed over several years to provide products as they were needed, but no large inventory was stockpiled. This worked well if there were no delays in the supply chain, but when all these issues were coupled with shipping delays due to Covid throughout the world, the perfect storm was created in the global supply chain.

Demand has outpaced supply, and at this point, we will continue to see constraints of these products through 2023, according to the AV market watchers. Asia Pacific and the United States are the largest regions of growth, and the demand for wireless audio devices has continued to advance. With a large majority of the work force now working from home, either fully or partially, we are all using mobile devices, laptops, and other technology more than ever.

direct view LED panels

Many audio systems also use Dante network technology, developed by Audinate, to provide network interfaces that allow remote control and programming, as well as the transfer of audio signals. Most professional audio manufacturers have Dante capability embedded in their products for audio network compatibility. When you think of the growth of conference products, video bars, wireless microphone technology, and mobile devices, all of these use computer chips and require this technology to operate.

Understanding the importance of supply chain diversity

Today, one of the most critical aspects of commercial and professional audio equipment distribution is diversification. As a distributor, Exertis Almo is on the front lines of this ongoing battle to provide our customers with these products while the industry rebounds from the storm. Our team of Product Managers, Buyers, and Business Development Managers constantly monitor the supply chain of our vendors to assure we can supply the products that are needed for business today.

This is where product diversity plays a major role in the value-added proposition that we, as a distributor, provide to the integrator or dealer. As we close out 2022 and move into 2023, distributors work closely with audio manufacturers so we can provide products for all the applications our sales team’s customers engage in. Some manufacturers have avoided this by changing their technology and delivering products as soon as they become available. In many cases, project completion schedules dictate alternative products being procured to meet a deadline.

This is very evident with products such as wireless microphones, amplifiers, signal processing, and control systems. Exertis Almo continuously monitors our vendors supply chain, inventory, and delivery schedules to assure we have solutions for those instances when the specific audio product may not be available for a significant time. By working hand-in-hand with our customers, manufacturers, and our product management team, we can pivot quickly to find a solution for most applications.
This approach is proving invaluable to our customers. The diversity of audio products runs throughout our organization, from simple product orders to our services division. When an integrator calls on us to provide design and installation for a given project, we take the same approach of finding the best available solutions while understanding the time sensitivity involved.

What can Integrators do to help offset this problem?

Order equipment as early as possible for a given project

Be flexible in your design as you may have to pivot should a particular component have extended delays beyond the completion date of the project

Work hand-in-hand with your supplier or distributor to assure products are allocated and available in your completion time-frame

Remember that product diversity is critical when completing projects

Tom Keefe groom's men

As the AV industry continues to navigate through this “storm,” all aspects of supply chain, manufacturing, and product diversity are being analyzed. From the diversity of chip manufacturers building new factories to launching new technologies, the future of the industry looks bright. The distribution of Commercial and Professional audio products will continue to be based on our relationships with manufacturers, our customers, and maintaining diversity both in our practices, as well as the products we provide, to assure the best results for every application.

So, when we say, “that product is constrained, but we will see what is available,” know that our team is making every effort to fulfill the customer’s needs and see that projects are completed and function with the highest degree of integrity. Product diversity is driving the AV market and will continue to be a common concern as we move through the medium to long-term future. While there are no silver bullets, the issues detailed here are front-of-mind and being addressed seriously, country by country. This is not a sprint, but a marathon that will make us stronger in the end. Let Exertis Almo be the resource you can depend on for your AV product needs!

John Fuqua

About the Author

John Fuqua | CTS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Audio Applications, Amplivox, Audix, Bose, Denon, Marantz, Rane, Shure, Sennheiser, Yamaha UC

“It’s Too Loud!”

Are you neurodiverse?

Imagine yourself at a concert. You are standing directly in front of the stage and as close to the stackable subs as you can get. The overhead lighting is shining down on you and rapidly changing colors to play along with the theme of the show. It is a packed house and you are elbow to elbow with fans of all ages. Sounds like a typical fun night, right?

loud concert

Now imagine that the speakers, which you are so close to, are playing a sound, equivalent of 100 nails being dragged across a chalkboard. The lights are as if a strobe light is being shot directly into your eyes, and the crowd is yelling directly at you for 3 hours straight. Not as much fun, is it?

This is what it could possibly be like for someone who is on the Autism spectrum.

Why it matters

According to, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition related to brain development that affects how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. Overstimulation of the senses is just one of the possible “patterns of behavior” that can be exhibited by someone “on the spectrum.”

So, you might be asking yourself – why are we talking about this, and why have I chosen to write about it? This topic is very special to me because I am the proud father of a 14 year-old daughter who is on the Autism spectrum. Samantha was diagnosed at the age of 3, and I remember at the time my wife said, “I was so afraid to deliver the news to you because of how you would react.” I looked at her rather surprised and replied, “I could not be happier. We now know why Samantha has reacted to certain situations and how we can help her for the rest of her life.” I still feel that same way, 11 years later!

Sam VoorheesSamantha was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. She has been an Honor Roll Student for as long as I can remember, participates in clubs at school, and can recite every winner of Dancing with the Stars simply by you calling out a season! Samantha also has difficulties brushing her own hair, tying her own shoes, participating in athletics, being around loud noises, or being in unfamiliar social situations, such as meeting new people or making direct eye contact with anyone. Due to her motor skills and social needs, playing sports was always something she avoided, until she reached high school this year and became the Team Manager of the High School Volleyball Team! She found a way to GET IN THE GAME. One of the more common sayings you might hear is Samantha saying, “It’s too loud,” as she covers her ears, even as a high school freshman. Loud or sudden noises are “tortuous” to her, which I am still reminding myself of each time we watch the Eagles or Phillies and I let out a scream for a big play – IT’S TOO LOUD! Simply put though, in our house, we do not view any of this as a disability. Samantha has nothing but ABILITIES, and my job as her dad is to help her bring those abilities out so she is comfortable sharing with the world.

DEI and Pro AV

Over the past 30 days, something like Autism, which I have lived around for 11 years, has begun to blend in with my career in Pro AV. I was recently introduced to, and joined, the AVIXA Diversity Council and at the most recent Exertis Almo E4 Experience in Boston, I attended an excellent panel discussion on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion where Neurodiversity was a driving topic for discussion. I was mentally pulled in, so much so that I had to offer my comments and my gratitude at the end to the panel. What I have learned over the past 30 days, specifically, is that the Pro AV industry has begun to educate itself on Neurodiversity and how project designs need to be cognizant of a person’s neurological needs.

Many of us would probably say we are inclusive and take these factors into consideration. It is no different from my friends and family saying they “understand” what Samantha experiences. However, at no fault of theirs, what they say and what they do are two completely different things, and I am sure that goes for a lot of us in our work. noise cancellationFor example, how many times when being asked to design the AV in an office space do you include a “quiet space?” No, I am not talking about a room with candles and beanbags (although that could be a consideration). I am talking about an office that is a dedicated quiet room, with little to no distractions, noise cancelling headphones, different lighting, and away from the bustle of the typical office. Did you ever consider that an employee in that office, who has different neurological needs may hate the idea of sitting in a crowded conference room with 8 other people staring at a large display with a camera pointed right at them? It is truly OK if you never have – that is precisely why I am writing this piece! As evidenced by Samantha and her remarkable grades, memory, and knowledge of things that interest her, those employees with neurological needs could possibly be the rockstars of your team. The ones who think of things that others do not. They just need a space where they are comfortable enough to share them! When I think of Autism and my work with Exertis Almo, a few things come to mind about how they blend together. Audio, video, control, lighting, cable management, and cameras are all product categories that play a role. Those on the spectrum may want easy control of the audio and lighting in a room with simple wall-mounted dials. They may also want cabling and equipment to be clean, hidden, or well organized. Think of how Barco ClickShares have a tidy storage rack to place the ClickShare in, or how BSS from Harman offers wall-mounted controls where you can press a single button to manage your audio, video, or lighting. Something as simple as this goes a long way and are things we currently do now, but for different reasons.

Pro AV expertise in the growing field of neurodiversity

While I could write about Autism forever, I do think I have a word limit on this! I am so encouraged by the recent discussions about Neurodiversity, because for the first 4+ years in my role, I was resigned to thinking of Samantha on my business trips and saying out loud “Wow, she would hate this.” Not hate being around new technology, friends that you work with, or traveling to new places, rather, she would hate having multiple audio companies blasting new loudspeakers while 100-inch video walls are flashing captivating content, all while customers are asking her questions. Fortunately, for me, as her father, Samantha has found her love for helping those younger than her and wants to be a teacher like my wife. She is learning how to prepare lesson plans and even got the opportunity to shadow my wife last week in her classroom and did great! The encouragement that I feel is that more industries and employers are beginning to educate themselves on these common needs and are doing their part to create that “safe space” where employees feel like they can show their best!

To close, I would encourage all of you to get involved, regardless of how much or how little. Maybe consider joining the AVIXA Diversity Council or even do a simple internet search on “how to create a neurodiverse workspace.” Another option might be to simply recommend a space in the office for those who just need to “get away.” It could be something that isn’t thought of, but I think you would be surprised how many employees truly love what they do, they just need to decompress sometimes. You may be surprised at how many “a-ha” moments you have while learning a little more about these common ABILITIES.

Robert Voorhees

About the Author

Robb Voorhees | CTS, CTP, DSCE, CTNS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Business Communications Services, and Harman: AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, DBX, JBL, Soundcraft, Martin Lighting

Blending Education & Entertainment: I Present JBL Fest 2022

“This was the best work trip I’ve ever attended.”  That statement carries a lot of weight when your career requires you to travel to different industry events and you regularly get to see what our country has to offer.  However, that was the exact phrase that an Exertis Almo employee said to me when I asked him what JBL Fest 2019 was like.  For the 2nd consecutive year (not counting 2020/2021 due to the pandemic shutdown), our sales team at Exertis Almo was selected to participate in a sales incentive with the grand prize being a trip for 2 to Las Vegas to attend JBL Fest 2022.  This year, we had five lucky winners (and their spouses) descend onto Las Vegas from Sept 27th-Sept 30th.  Christina Smith, Kenny Razor, Kyle Smith, Cassidy Alley and Doug Schulte all did an incredible job to earn this opportunity, and congrats to all of them!  I took on the role of “Unofficial Tour Guide” to make sure they got the most from the trip and did not miss any of the swag opportunities either.  Allow me to do the same for you as I attempt to paint a picture of what this experience was truly like.

JBL Fest 2022 team backdrop

Leading up to the 27th, I made sure to review the itinerary which included the Harman Tech Forum, Installed Audio Masterclass, Content Creation Master Class with world famous DJ Morgan Page, and multiple concerts and club events each night.  Once landing in Las Vegas, you are greeted in the baggage claim area by multiple people holding JBL Fest signs and helping usher you to the waiting bus in the parking lot to take you to the destination.  Admittedly still jetlagged from the 3-hour time difference and 2:30am wakeup, I was happy it was a short ride to the Virgin Hotel where immediately you hear the bass thumping, see a bright JBL-orange truck and a solid-gold dancer just in the parking lot.  It was tough NOT to hang out in the parking lot with everyone else.  Once checked in you immediately feel thrown into the experience of JBL Fest.  Bright colored signage everywhere and an oversized chair that replicates JBL earbuds are sitting in the lobby.  The short walk from the registration area to the room was well worth it when you open the door to your room and find there is a concert stage directly outside your room  (more on that a little later on 😊 ).  Once I was settled and rested, I decided to head down to the JBL Hospitality Lounge where I was checked in and “tagged” with an orange JBL bracelet that acts as your “tracker” for all the events you attend and it’s your VIP pass.  I am all about branding, so I certainly did not mind wearing a JBL bracelet for a few days.  Once finished with check-in, I was told to go into the lounge and pick up my “welcome gift,” while assuming it was a fidget spinner or pop socket; you know, the usual swag that is handed out.  Instead, I’m given a Herschel/JBL branded backpack that was filled with JBL noise cancelling wireless earbuds, a premium wireless battery pack, a premium wireless phone charger, and a JBL fanny pack (which now sits on my Michael Scott standup at home, haha).  I do not want to give off the impression that I can be bought with premium swag, but this sure was a nice way to welcome guests to the event!

After a brief bit of downtime to explore the hotel, it was time to meet up with the rest of the Exertis Almo team and head to Club JBL for the 1st night of concerts, headlined by pop star Bebe Rexha.  Food, drinks, and sitting feet away from future NFL Hall of Famer, Rob Gronkowski, made this a great first night for everyone — ending with Bebe Rexha singing some of her more radio-popular hits from the past few years.  Waking up on Wednesday, it was time to roll as we had our busiest day ahead.  Starting with the Harman Tech Forum, which featured several panel discussions on the future of the metaverse, where the automotive industry is heading, and learning how athletes and celebrities are using technology to become more accessible to their fans.  Capped off with a Shark Tank-like presentation of innovative ideas, we also heard from President and CEO of Harman International, Michael Mauser.  Afterwards we took a brief hiatus to head to the Maui Jim Gifting Experience.  Essentially, you went outside to a group of tables where they were designed to look like a sunglasses retail store.  You were instructed to try on as many pairs as you wanted and select which you liked best.  They literally hand you a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses for FREE! Just chalk that up to another piece of premium swag that Harman treated to their

guests.  With our new sunglasses in hand, we then headed the Pro Audio Installed Masterclass.  Among the presenters was Saben Shawhan who is the Director of Audio Applications at Harman Pro.  Saben is a personal favorite of mine, and he certainly did not disappoint this time around.  Standing on a mock stage with speakers all around him, Saben went through a brief slide presentation on each series including the CBTs, PRX One, Eon One MK2, and the new SRX900s.  However, the fun part was the actual product demo.  Featuring an eclectic mix of music to highlight the strengths of these different speakers, we went one by one to fully immerse yourself in each.  While all were extremely impressive, I think my chest is still feeling the bass knock on the SRX900s from the heavy techno music that was playing.  Holy cow did that speaker really impress me!

JBL Fest 2022 product launch
JBL Fest 2022 presenter

As if I was not already feeling excited and inspired enough, I was then approached by Whitney Bosch and Frank Joseph from the Harman Marketing team with what I can only describe as quite an honor –having a private 1-on-1 meeting with Michael Mauser himself.  To have Michael touch on our sales growth at Exertis Almo and then ask for my thoughts and feedback on the improving supply chain and how to continue improvement was something I will never forget.  There are certain moments in your career when you might experience an emotional “high” or a “flow state” as I’ll describe later…..and this was certainly one of those times.  Thank you to Whitney and Frank for affording me that opportunity.

After heading back to my room feeling as excited and inspired as ever, I started to hear some “disruption” outside my window to find that the sound check was starting for the night’s musical guests, The Kid Laroi and Doja Cat.  I would like to think that I have a wide-spanning taste in music; there is something about live drums and guitars that just perks the ears regardless of the musical artist.  I wound up standing by my window overlooking the stage for a good 35 minutes just watching and listening.  After being a gracious guest for drinks with the Harman Marketing team and toasting the successful event, we headed to the VIP section outside on the lawn for the evening concert.  First stop was the bar where you receive a blinking glow-in-the-dark JBL cup to enjoy the drinks all evening, and then I found my way to the balcony ledge with a clear view of the stage just in time for Kid Laroi to appear.  While I do not know all his music, the best moment of his set was when he played “Stay” which is easily his biggest hit song and clearly recognizable to everyone in attendance.  I overheard a lot of people saying, “oh this is that song from Tik Tok,” truly a sign of the digital world we live in.  Once Doja Cat came on stage and ran through some of her hits, it was time to end the evening with another day of fun ahead on Thursday. 

JBL Fest 2022 concert

While the final day was a lot more relaxed and mellow, I was ready and waiting for the Content Creation Masterclass featuring DJ Morgan Page.  Morgan conducted a presentation on his “Quick Tips,” which essentially are a guide for how to reduce complexity in whatever you do and as he puts it: “grease the wheels of resistance.”  Every attendee received a box of his quick tips cards, which I am guilty of looking at ever since I returned home.  One point that I raised previously was in regard to experiencing “flow state.”  As Morgan described, a “flow state” is when you find yourself in such a groove with your work that time is flying by, and you are in such enjoyment with what you are doing that you remain in a state of constant flow.  That really resonated with me and as I attempted to describe it here, this trip was my “flow state.”  The final event of the trip was offsite at Hakkassan nightclub featuring world famous DJ Martin Garrtix.  Lights, smoke, loud club music, and plenty of drinks and good conversation to go around. It was the ideal way to end the trip.  Having “foolishly” booked a 3:30am Uber ride the next morning to head home, I knew the wise thing was to end the night and go back to the hotel.

JBL Fest 2022 team outing

As I sit here composing my thoughts and memories from the trip, I just received a message from Christina Smith, Exertis Almo Director of Sales and one of the lucky incentive winners for JBL Fest.  Christina says, “this time last week we were all arriving in Vegas” to which I replied, “and now I sit here writing about it.”  This was easily the best trip of my entire career as it was so methodically planned out by everyone at Harman that it truly was the perfect blend of education and entertainment.

If you would like to learn more about the products, I mentioned above or how Harman continues to come up with new innovation, please contact us today.

Robert Voorhees


Robb Voorhees | CTS, CTP, DSCE, CTNS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Business Communications Services, and Harman: AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, DBX, JBL, Soundcraft, Martin Lighting

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