Issue 26

AV Interview: Mark Donovan, Audio-Technica

Applications Engineering Manager, Mark Donovan, talks about Audio-Technica’s focus on the commercial market.


14 September 2023

Interview:/ Christopher Holder

Audio-Technica sells turntables and headphones like you wouldn’t believe. But the Japanese audio company has also been paying careful attention to the commercial AV sector, investing in installation-friendly microphone designs. We began by asking Mark Donovan about the commercial focus.

Mark Donovan: We’ve seen a steady move into the commercial market over the last couple of years. And this is absolutely by design. The commercial space is growing faster than any other market, and we’ve got to keep up with the innovation. We’re paying very close attention to what’s going on; what the requirements are; what features people are asking for; and releasing quality product fit for that purpose.

AV: Which explains the new DECT-based wireless system you’ve been showing at Integrate. What specific feedback was that new product responding to?

Mark Donovan: Battery life was a big one. That’s been a pain point for people for years on wireless microphones. And when you have a system like ours, whose shortest battery life out of all of the four transmitters is 17 hours, that really says a lot about how far we’ve come on battery life. End users were coming to the consultants and integrators pleading for something that could last longer than four or eight hours per meeting. And so we’re giving them something. 

AV: Remote monitoring is another demand you’re hearing increasingly?

MD: I would say it’s a requirement more than it is a demand. You’re right, everybody wants to see everything on the network. They want to know about a problem before it occurs. We want to make sure we have as much information as possible available onto the network — battery life remaining, and other important data.

AV: I notice how the new DECT wireless range plays nicely with Q-SYS, and that being part of the feature set. Has that been part of the R&D philosophy — to be a good team player?

MD: It’s an interesting way to put it: ‘playing nicely with others’, it is something I think that a lot of manufacturers have to get used to, because in the real world, we don’t operate on our own. Our device doesn’t sit on a table and operate in isolation. Talking to people makes all of us better. We all get to build better products, Q-SYS included.

AV: Sounds like we can expect much more from Audio-Technica on the commercial front?

MD: Right. You’re going to see us heading more and more into that commercial side. People will know the name of Audio-Technica from a lot of our consumer stuff. Audio-Technica has been around for 60 years. We’re doing headphones, turntables and microphones, but our leadership is focussed very much on the commercial market. So when you start looking at things like DECT wireless, which is for commercial market, and the ceiling arrays, you’re going to see more of that, and more of those partnerships to ensure we can make it all work together.


We’re doing headphones, turntables and microphones, but our leadership is focussed very much on the commercial market


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Issue 26