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How to Choose the Right Supplier as Your Partner

Custom integration is a large and multi-faceted industry. There are myriad products – speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, switchers, accessories – from so many brands, that integrators can sometimes have a tough time determining which is the best option for their clients. Seeing similar specs from different brands can cause some integrators to come to the conclusion that all of these products are alike. But this conclusion would not only be wrong, but could potentially lead the integrator to make a big mistake.

The fact is, the best integrators understand that each project represents an ongoing relationship with their client. The happier the client is with the installed system, the stronger the relationship is…and the more likely it will grow over time.

For that reason, when it comes to partnering with vendors, integrators need to carefully consider with whom they choose to partner. There are in fact, significant and meaningful differences between them….

A Significant History

A good starting point in your journey to select which vendor to partner with is the vendor’s history. What is their background? What kind of products have they designed and engineered in the past? What is their track record…have they made a meaningful and recognizable contribution to the industry?

In the case of The DaVinci Group (TDG), company founders Alex Chiou and Dan Kippycash (as well as President Jeff Francisco) were all involved in integration industry-leading brands. These brands were not just well known, but actually were the engines that drove the growth of the custom integration industry.

Alex voicing speakers

Photo #2 – Here, Alex is “tuning” or “voicing” the speakers. Read the text to see more on why this is unique…

This team was directly responsible for creating some of the most iconic products worth billions of dollars that went on to become the staple of many custom integrators’ businesses.

A Partner Who Understands Your Challenges

As an integrator, you want to partner with a vendor who designs products, programs, and policies that make your life easier. In order to be able to do that, the brand’s management has to totally understand the day-to-day challenges that you face every day.

But many brands are run by a team that is often inexperienced at custom integration. Some come from more of a retail-centric background, or from other industries altogether. This limits their ability to understand the many unique aspects of custom integration.

The management team at The DaVinci Group have spent their entire careers in custom integration. It’s what they know and what they do…every day.

WarrantyPlus logoTDG has created innovative dealer programs based strictly on the needs of integrators. For example, TDG was one of the first major brands to offer lifetime warranties on almost all of their speakers. And TDG was the first major brand to offer its award-winning WarrantyPlus™ program, which actually provides an uninstall allowance for integrators who need to roll a truck on a warranty replacement issue, is incredibly popular with dealers.

TDG’s commitment to make integrators’ lives easier is why the company has won so many industry awards for their support programs – including Residential Systems Magazine’s Stellar Service Award and CEPro’s Quest for Quality Award. The company has won these awards over multiple years, conclusively demonstrating that its commitment to its dealers is unwavering.

Someone Who Sweats the Details

Most importantly, you want a supply partner who sweats the details for you. You want a partner who truly cares about the quality of the products and services they provide you.

In this regard, TDG is tough to beat. That picture at the beginning of this post? That is TDG’s co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, Alex Chiou. In that photo, Alex is literally at one of our manufacturing plants, personally checking to ensure that the component being manufactured meets our exacting standards, as originally specified. He’s using a set of precision calipers to carefully check the dimension of one of our new Signature Series products.

And it is important to note, he is NOT checking to see if his measurement of a piece off the line is close to spec. He is checking to confirm it meets the specification EXACTLY.

Woofer testing

Photo #3 – Here Alex is observing the computerized testing process of a TDG woofer to make sure it meets spec. TDG tests 100% of their speakers. The other guys? Not so much…

How many companies can say their founder is literally at the factory to personally check the products coming off the line to confirm they are being built to our precise specification? Our guess would be…not many…perhaps, not any…except one – TDG!

Just What is Alex Doing?

In the photo #1 at the top of this post, Alex is using precision calipers to check measurements of one of our new Signature Series models. At the moment this photo was snapped, he is checking the exact distance between the mounting holes which need to be precisely 16” on center (a U.S. construction standard), as the large Signature Series model is mounted directly to the studs of the theater.

In photo #2, you see Alex conducting a sound test on a TDG model at the factory. Actually, we call this tuning the speaker as Alex can adjust crossover variables to ensure the exact sound we want from the speaker. It is a time consuming process and Alex listens to a wide variety of different types of music for a good cross-section of sound.

Alex says: “I feel that tuning speakers is an art, not a science. If it were a science, every speaker company can always just shoot for the flattest frequency response and call it a day, but a flat frequency respoinse does not necessarily mean it is a great sounding speaker.”

By the way, many speaker brands allow the factory to tune their speakers, rather than send one of their own engineers over to conduct the time consuming – but critical – process.

But at TDG, “…we actually voice every single [TDG] speaker ourselves,” Alex explained. “The way our speakers sound is our ‘flavor.’”

In photo #3, Alex is at the production line where woofers are being tested. In this day and age, most companies apply statistical modeling, where perhaps 1 or 2 units out of, say, 100 may be tested. But TDG Audio tests 100 out of 100 units…every single unit coming off the line gets tested and only those that pass the test make their way to our dealers’ inventory.

Checking tweeters as they're built

Photo #4 – While many brands use off-the-shelf components, TDG speakers are custom built. In this photo, Alex is checking elements of a tweeter being built for any imperfections. See the text for more details on why this helps TDG deliver a better sounding speaker.

And finally, in photo #4, Alex is hand inspecting tweeter elements prior to their assembly into a TDG product. When this photo was snapped, the tweeter diaphragms were just joined to the voice coils. Alex is inspecting this part of the process to see if there are an imperfections.

Again, this is an attention-to-detail that most companies ignore. But this is a major reason why so many dealers love and respect TDG’s products. The extra effort on our end, helps to ensure that TDG installers and integrators end up with deeply satisfied clients on their end.

And that, for TDG dealers, is the most important thing of all.