Pros and Cons of the Audio Industry

Pros and Cons of the Audio Industry

Question: What can loudspeaker manufactures do for the wellness of its listeners

Answer: Provide 3d In Ear Laser scans at all trade shows and demo shows free of charge and sponsor an open online database so in ear custom protection can be made available cheap as chips and as disposable as a tissue. 


Lots of lonely travel

Only two billionaires (Amar and Ray) not allot of money

Not allot of benefits health or retirements wise

Health concerns on legs and hearing

Limited growth in technology 

Limited number of gigs (only one Super Bowl)

Tough competition above 5,000 seats, real cut throat

Not a forgiving industry, once you screw up, you screw up and its over “youll never work in this town again” is an understatement, hence the name one tour tony. 

Hi burnout rate, not many people with more than ten years experience and those with more than 40 years are dropping like fly’s sorry grandpa

You’ll spend most of ur time listening to bad audio rather good audio or taking bad sound turning it into good sound

Timing is everything


It’s fun

It’s the height of complex art/music/engineering and sometimes rewarding 

Very small industry usually feels like family

Sometimes you get to experience real magic like a special sound check or a demo that wins a gig or building a new solution. 

Some of the gigs are landmarks that will out live you same for concerts, so that’s special

Most people have the same common attitude of support in the smaller companies of which most companies in audio are small. 

Learning to use one’s ears fare beyond what anyone could ever explain

Mixing a band is exactly like a conductor in a symphony, being in the seat at FOH is an epic experience, generally worth it. 

Now for the industry part. In video one doesn’t talk much one uses their eyes. No joke go to NAB its the quietest trade show iv ever been too. Now go to an audio convention, super loud! Besides the products people talk and talk about products. Products, eco systems, audio megoplogies have to talk or at-least, things that talk must have things that talk about them if that makes sense. So this is the definition of a product guy or what is known as a product evangelist. While I’m far from being an evangelist, spiritual yes and product evangelist yes thats been my gig many many times. For me it was:

Community TAG



Failed attempt at Bose/Outline


3d Models

PMP Techniques

Napkin CAD to BOQ

Trade Show marketing 


First, this isnt me bitching, nor bragging. It’s an explanation I wish others gave me in a formal or informal written manner in which I could digest over time. Same for complex books like SSEII and the audio cyclopedias of which I read most, its takes years if not decades to properly digest. This is for rather the rare audio person that gets their “big break” with a manufacturer, artist, contractor, rental house or construction crew, but mainly manufacturing. Sorry focus… lol. 

Once upon a time I needed to leave and exit Georgia, it just wasn’t working for me I guess I was 23. I was mixing on a Grand Live twice a week had my first apartment but Georgia just wasn’t working and I was more into 3d design rather production and mixing. My last stage hand gig was Radiohead at Stone Mountain and my last mix gig was for a couple of thousand during Easter with a large choir. I’d leave to join the TAG “technical applications group” with Community now Biamp. So the gig was, work 9-5 in a cubicle with a super fast computer and turn and burn sound system designs and answer general phone calls for support ontop of demos and trade show prep with light regional support travel to put a face with the voice on the telephone with the reps. That was the gig, pretty basic and that gig can be found at nearly every audio manufacturing company/distributor and I dont see it being replaced anytime soon. Consultants will argue that is competition, but thats not only the way it is in our industry but others as well. My best compliment was a complaint from a large Uber important consultant, just ment I was getting good at my job. 

I should mention that audio is small, from 1999-2004 for some reason I became hyper focused on Ulysses/EASE/3d AutoCAD, hyper focused. From 98-2002 I was big on measurement, but being able to build any 3d acoustic environment compared to being on a marching band field, well that just fit. It wasn’t just those programs I became obsessed with all the simulation prediction programs, OpenGL, Matlab, Meyer Mapp, then L-Acoustics, then D&B and the list would grow including Duran and on and on. This wouldn’t stop until about 2005. I should also mention that at this point I was trying to make design decisions that I thought would last for a long time hence, autocad and being design agnostic. The goal being design any system with any system. Other platforms id investigate included PHP, Elephant, CADP2 and for some reason not allot of Modeler, that platform and I just didnt see eye to eye. So my first product evang gig was with designs of other people products. 

Next was Loud/EAW/SMAART

So I wanted to attend a class and then ended up teaching it and then got lots of help on how to teach the class, and then became version 3.0 and then mixed in my own measurement understanding and then what was a hobby in highschool/college became a job. This was literally no joke maybe one of the most exciting times of audio excitement ill ever have.  I was young and easy to manipulate and eager to find my place in audio eventually making my way back to giant sound systems same as when I was a stagehand flying Prism rigs vs S4 rigs vs Turbo Floodlight/flashlight and an occasional 850 rig. A couple of neat things became added bonuses like being from Fort.Worth working and supporting other Texans. We rented the Morton Myerson for demos for example on early EQ tech that I got well, early introduction to which is now mostly the norm. not only was it my job to teach but to evangelisize measurement and optimization techniques. Then wed add on a digital console which never took flight and a networking protocol which wouldn’t take flight and then tradeshows would be added on. Now guanteed I learned about tradeshows from the best, some are still alive others are not. Later id understand visiting other tradeshows in other industries just how good myself and others are at tradeshows. That’s legit. We made tradeshows and the media work for us not the other way around. The last thing we evangelisizd at Loud was other engineers, it was highly encouraged and required that others engineers support the other engineers, even in their stupidity like the time I smashed an 18” woofer just to get the neo magnets out. I mean I could have just ordered some magnets, but it was easier just to go to work.

From 2006-2010 I was abroad and didnt participate in any of the industry, I was focused with my nose to the grindstone as a consultant and contractor and for a very short time actually had a proper girlfriend and social life something that had been missing for a long time. 

2010 back in the saddle this time with Lab.gruppen. Now they didnt know that I only joined for LAKE and to learn amplifiers and they had always intended on me working on Tannoy something I hadn’t envisioned. And I had a giant offer from Biamp to be the product manager for Tesira and I almost quit after 6 months to leave Tc Group and join Biamp but regardless I stayed and built what was a neat little dominating amplifier brand. Compared to Gerold Stanley and Patronis I didnt know anything about amplifiers and thought id learn a bit about amps and move on, this largely did and did not happen. LAKE was my way back into the high end production environment with Clair but id quickly find out, no outsiders allowed, no Showco and no thanks Josh, scram kid we got this covered. I was however eager to use my new resume of mega 6 mega projects to target the stadium installation market of which we sold off the top of my head 25 stadium amplifier packages in four years. As evangelist I had to create, build, support and get funded a third party control application “now copied by most pro stadiums” spread the news and share the commissioning and optimization strategy. This ment making sure everyone was on the same page mostly on network topologies and how to and not make redundant Dante networks which at the time the Dante licensee list was Lab.gruppen (me) and Media Matrix, maybe a few others but not more than a dozen. So as a manufacturer I was a huge Dante promoter in the early days so I could sell more amplifiers, same as others before me with Lonewolf/Cobranet and other platforms. Expert engineers will understand that networking protocols is very important and can change and entire project on who bids on it and who doesnt. Their was also a tie in with SMAART and LAKE that I was able to get approved so I evangelized that as well. Actually the most important promotion has always been the real estate of SMAART at FOH. And, what should be the combination of a LAKE/SMAART right at every FOH, but thats not my job anymore. And I only design FOH rigs for my self. Later id promote Qflex a very good steerable loudspeaker which as a whole market was and is too large for one or two people to manage plus lake plus Dante plus lab.gruppen. I just ran out of resources, time energy and was largely an army of one with outpost syndrome as others called it. Along side with promoting Dante, I was the first person to use the DVS as an interface with SMAART something I only assume is now standard. 

Next was Bose Profesional, which im still thankful for, I guess. First some complaints, if ur main product is a pair of headphones used for travel and you have engineers in audio that travel and dont give them headphones on their first day, then their is something wrong with you. And only having a cash cafeteria with no atm is just mean along with no eating at ones desk. With that said, I was still young, heavy and early evangelizing in my industry on facebook “talking about trends” and just had my first and only son. I needed health insurance a vacation and some basic benefits and to take a slightly, slower pace. The problem was, discovering autism with my son, buying my first home, merging my life with my in laws and learning a whole new company and acoustics platform which still is largely an insult to software, kind of. Also I had no internet in rural Wimberly and it took what was planned three months to get internet took 11 months and then was only a 6Mb RF uplink, my fault for sure. I was being told to promote the hi end support culture of bose even with their amplifiers and they bragged about their patents and all the things I wouldn’t have to worry about. The problem was the only thing I was worried about was that I could not figure out how to design with their platform and the only thing they were worried about was my expense reports. Later at a company meeting id fall off the wagon, drink too much cool aid and become confused on weather I was attending an event or working an event, a common problem of mine. Plus we were in New Orleans and I wanted to have fun and they wanted to get drunk. Add to insult as a rugular cannibis user I couldn’t remember my bios password and was upset I was having my hand held in a room full of engineers to install the Dante DVS something I was the first of maybe 100. I think they told me I was like number 80 or something. It was a shame really, they do have good sound, and they do have solid engineering. But I couldn’t shift gears from TC Group to Bose Professional, several years later Bose would head hunt another fellow associate which also wouldn’t work out. they do that routinly. Something their human resource department should be concerned with, I know everyone else in the audio industry is or atleast the other competitors are when Bose steals their talent. The saddest thing is that I joined for insurance for my kid of which he never got to use and working for them all but starting my personal and Professional decline. Their promisses of long term investment just weren’t there for me and still aren’t. Other than learning about line arrays, male/female STI, and the pizza box lunch and learn trick plus the dangers of large corporations that was my lessons learned. The biggest shame was that Bruce Hurst RIP was I considered a personal friend who had been there for me when I had some lets say spiritual struggles on the road. It seems almost as if others in audio had the same destination in mind but different methods of getting there. Add to more insult after being fired my father jokingly in his own way would give me my first Bose speaker “the evans family is not without humor” and surprisingly my old bosses replacement at TC Group would offer me my old gig back but I was too ashamed and didnt want to go back to the same old problems, plus the problems of the new owners plus figure out how to manage two more brands. So instead I took the summer off and decided to go broke in the new home and enjoy it while it lasted with my then two year old son. It was worth it, we did the best we could in the end it would sadly be the only summer i would get to spend with him so its good that i took that time off. I was wanting to go back on the other side of the business being contracting and construction and finish up on some larger projects with old teams that could have worked or I wish had worked better. I’d be lured into a high paying hi risk job that would in theory pay of the mortgage for me to enjoy raising my son the details of which I wont mention the gigs but they were large-ish. At the time I was over confident, back in 2010 I had a trail blaze of successful projects so I had confidence, in 2015 20 plus stadiums, but in 2016 I had nothing it wouldn’t be until 2017 that I would almost start breathing again and that only lasted for about a year.

Next was my second failure Outline.

I was looking forward to promoting them on several levels and had lots of strategies, they just didnt look anything like what they wanted to so it never took flight. Others in my opinion just saw the success of D&B and L-acoustics but didnt want to formulate their own directional strategy, plus we were dealing with a maniac as venture capital. Promoting Newton as a competitor to LAKE almost made sense, almost except people still don’t understand LAKE and promotion of a product called stadia which is likely still the best bang for buck stadium box. Also the dual parabola phase plug, the history of the company and some other loudspeakers that predated PK Sound for example. Others have always been familiar with outline in my humble opinion because of the Outline ET360 Turntable and the Compass loudspeaker. the problems would be, lots of communication issues, lack of startup sales and a marketing engineer running sales playing a game called “who moved my cheese” while also arguing with stakeholders and management rather just putting a damn loudspeaker in a rental truck and driving round the United States. Same method as Alcons, Atlas Sound, EAW, JBL, Meyer etc. Speaking of demos, thank you for those that take the demo seriously and dont mess around and work their butts off to make sure product works properly. 


So STI stands for Speech Transmission Index. Not joking I grew up using my ears, acoustically speaking in a mostly empty 1000 seat hundred year old FCC church talker to listener. I Kidd you not. So later in 2000 id be introducted to the TEF world of STI and then BOSE RASTI. The concept is simple build, promote, use an objectionable measurement method used for speech. 

Several problems, the largest being no one actually wants to know how un intelligible their system is, and two being that giant law suits from an acoustic, architectural and contracting issue of which case, people go missing, lose their jobs or companies. Case in point the consultant that got stuck with figuring out the ABS of the worlds largest custom Persian rug. Or the consultant who deems .7 at 1/48th octave a usable metric. Personally I divide amplified sound systems into two categories speech and music. So STI will for me continue to be a passion of evangelization. 

3d Models

Kudos to Meyer for making early decisions to go 2d first and then 3d. And, thanks for sending us Tom Young. Not Tom Young of Frank Sinatra but Tom Young of well friend to all on the Live Audio Board may he RIP. Ok, so im weirdo I think in 3d same as grandpa did as a machinist, I was lucky and started early with 2d hand drafting and then 2d/3d drafting. While at FullSail I was focused on 3d Autocad rather modeling in 3d max or maya. 2d elements represented in 3d space was my jam using pirated/cough/demo AutoCad. Later id chase a rabbit whole and study point coordinate systems of which their are many. Don’t do stuff like that, its ok if you get focused on things like the processor in a box but stick with systems design not component level design. It’s one thing to know why a software is the way it does for functions for example direct X / vs OpenGL but that doesnt mean you need to start programming OpenGL matrices. Anyways building 3d models using any means necessary has been key to being successful at illustrating and selling sound systems which are largely things we can hear and not see. So 3d modeling is all about giving vision to what we may or may not hear. Scaling fire alarm exits of restaurants or scaling google earth pictures is the norm but soon point clouds will take over if they haven’t already. No 3d model means you dont even have an acoustic atmosphere. End of story and its sad but true, those that build models rarely share them for good reason. Case in point every model I did from 2000-2002 was off geometrically by a small margin of error. Anyways, 3d models in audio are important. Revit is important today today but lets not ignore the benefits of using scanned point clouds and taking a print screen making hand drawn notations. 

PMP techniques

So this skillset was taught and shared with me in Dubai attending Primavera training sessions at night at the local college via construction but its something I did allot of self study and think that at minimum the critical path plan should be taught if not in highschool then by the manufacturer’s and colleges. Things like Lean, six sigma and the TPS method can help easily turbo charge and audio engineer. Attending meetings like Toastmasters which iv largely failed at to manage production meetings and construction job site workshops is also recommended at least four or five meetings. 

Napkin CAD to BOQ

This should be self explanatory, but the first person to a BOQ and then later optimized BOQ wins. Case in point the hundreds if not thousands of audio concepts that were created over coffee at IHOP. Also the last person to demo a line array wins the demo 90% of the time. 

Trade Show marketing 

If ur not walking and ur not talking then ur not working, simple as that, first person to get a sore throat wins. At first its a two part gig, morning and night, then later one adds breakfast sessions. Planning for trade shows starts 6 months in advance. dont worry about ur trade show family it happens naturally. Eventually youll learn things like the difference between being, walking and talking on the trade show floor vs a proper conversation on someone’s booth vs advance business trade-shows concepts such as what conversation to have, with whom to have it and where it should and should not take place. Also lets bring back coach crashing and sharing of rooms, its actually more fun. My first NSCA was spent sleeping on the floor, ain’t ashamed at all. 


So I have stayed a loyal promoter and appreciator of FullSail and my Show production degree. My father has a bachelors, masters in Trumpet and a OHD in education so making this choice was a big one. Second place with UNT north Texas Jazz band. I was and have always followed the pursuit of the entire show production. While its far from perfect and the graduate success rate is rare it is a magnet for passionate and creative people and was and is the only school that could have provided the environment that I so desired. I wanted lots of bands and lots of shows, hundreds and thousands and well this was the place for it. Maybe thats why I dint re attempt pro entertainment was because I had already had most of my fill before graduating. By the way legit, my graduate final design was basically a smaller version of the same techniques used for Sphere Las Vegas and that was in 2000 thought and shared to me by the course directors that created the program in the first place. Yes being 19 having access to an LD-88 is cheating but I paid for that right to be able to learn that gear and even mix on yes a Midas XL4 which is now extinct. Shout out to my FullSail alum friends, folks like Dave Howden and Bradford Ben who also wrote the manual for the Midas XL3. My gig at FullSail was to pass, learn and finish. I had maybe four jobs I think, nigh time security guard for full sail live, plus I prepped other people labs, worked all the open houses and a few on the road, self taought autocad, Ulysses and acoustical measurement, did every load in a stage hand could do about three gigs per week on average study with my room mates and on my own at Dennies when not doing that I was either on my Dell 5000e, smoking and drinking Mountain Dew. I had an Oldsmobile a laptop and my old chair from the FOH at the Aardvark in Fort.Worth. I also went there because an internship with Showco was pretty much guaranteed as when I first contacted Showco when I was 17 or 18 I was well, too young. they even told me there was a waiting list to take the trash out, but Full Sail was… blah blah blah. Literally the same day graduating from FullSail Clair would purchase Showco id shoot my mouth off online “no surprise” and that was history. No more Prism which is still arguably a cooler rig than modern line arrays it just needed an update. The rumor was that a bad investment into Harrison consoles would bank rupt them. Back then the industry was allot of just that gossip and rumors which would later become trade skills shared on the backs of road codes on loading docs. 

Hi five to Showco ur sub array that I think was called an aardvark building an asymmetrical power alley was way ahead of its time, almost every recording studio features an asymmetrical geometry and with modern concert systems one would argue to asymmetrically pointing the entire stage performance when performing in a 100,000 seat venue. 



Audio is small when someone gives you a product of ecosystem to evangelize if it works then stick with it. Understand that in audio you get to negotiate once and only once no backsies. Lesson learned dont ever take ur gig over family thats a big mistake. Attitude counts, no one cares how smart I am they all know I have a bad attitude its just who I am. So stay cheerful and when ur not having fun, switch to video, thats what im doing. 

I share this because im seeking a new direction but at the same time recognize that others will repeat similar gigs that iv had. Looking back I made some bad decisions but I made some good ones as well. And because of that, sorry to let my ego be well my ego, but im confident in my ability to create intelligible environments which is big . Im also confident in my measurement ability to the point I can look my self in the mirror and say not only are you elite, but one of the best with little competition. Its like being a lambo knowing ur faster than a Ferrari but ur not allowed on the race track because dad says its dangerous, in which he’d be right. My own grandfather for example prevented my father from touring as a Trumpet player, so maybe its better that I became a One Tour Tony. 

Im looking forward to dropping a bunch of old baggage like dead weight and much like Madonna reinvent my self. Case in point being an applications engineer not only means mastering all verticals and horizontals but creating new one. As im doing with what im calling the concourse market which is a new vertical for everyone when one add 3d paging and what is called immersive environments. Its funny as an applications engineer we get to quickly identify when companies dont even realize their own potential such as Flux, Sound Particles and a few other platforms that are quickly become favorites replacing old environment like EASE which iv spent way too much time on. For me my future is as a struggling trumpet player and developer of master plan campuses which someday will hopefully lead to developing even more complex listening environments used for emergency situations etc. Or maybe im just copying what they are doing in France creating quiet planned residential neighborhoods. Certainly my trumpet outdoors would not go well there. 

So im at 3800 words and 700 is considered a trade show magazine article. As is with my tradition and style, I wont edit this and my first attempt is usually my best. I hope others in the mid to late twenties find this entertainment, useful and inspirational if not reassuring if you have chosen to go down a similar pro audio life style. One last final thought, im not without error or mistake, while the manufactuers are easy to beat up on and have made many mistakes sometimes on purpose and sometimes not, I have made may many many personal mistakes of which sometimes my employer was the benefactor of and for that ill apologize and suffer the conseuences.

What lessons learned have others experienced in the wide world of professional audio, what was ur product evangelist gig experience like?