Using His Street Smarts

Alan Hyatt, president of PMI Audio Group, whose brands include Trident Audio Developments, Tonelux, Toft Audio Designs, Joemeek, Valley People, Studio Projects and CLM Dynamics, says he got into the pro audio business pretty much by accident.
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Alan Hyatt,
President, PMI Audio Group

Alan Hyatt, president of PMI Audio Group, whose brands include Trident Audio Developments, Tonelux, Toft Audio Designs, Joemeek, Valley People, Studio Projects and CLM Dynamics, says he got into the pro audio business pretty much by accident. A friend of his was working for a Southern California rep firm in 1978, and as Hyatt recalls, “He used to come to me with his samples so I could show him how to use the gear.”

Eventually, the owner of the firm offered Hyatt a job as a professional sales representative. After a year, he was doing so well that he started his own firm called AMH Sales. “Growing up in New York,” Hyatt reveals, “I developed a good deal of street smarts and a knack for selling things. I have a good sense for business, but do not hold a business degree. I am pretty much self-taught.”

He elaborates, “I took a lot of risks in business and pushed myself to succeed in any venture I took on. With all the audio experience I had learned from being a musician and an engineer, I was quite confident I knew what the pro audio market needed and what products I could sell into those markets.” It was this confidence, Hyatt says, that helped him make critical decisions as to the direction he would eventually take with PMI Audio Group.

Hyatt also claims that it was his aggressive approach towards business that stirred his motivation to acquire the seven brands that PMI Audio owns. “I think my background helped push me to take on more work and more lines. I always said, ‘If you are running one company, then the workings are all in place.’ Running a few more…only takes more people.”

Some of those “people” include Malcolm Toft, Paul Wolff, Allan Bradford, Brent Casey and Michael “Doc” Morgan. “What can I say about these guys? The history of Malcolm Toft is legendary stuff, man. The experience Malcolm has brought to PMI Audio Group as an engineer for Trident Recording Studios, and as the founder and designer of Trident Audio Developments is priceless. Paul Wolff owned API for many years, and designed many of API’s products. After Paul left API, he started Tonelux and created all-new, amazing designs. Paul is smart, and can turn a product around in five weeks! Allan Bradford, the Joemeek designer, is a rocket scientist by trade who loves audio, and just knows everything there is to know about electronics. Michael ‘Doc’ Morgan, one of the original Valley People designers alongside founder Paul Buff, was Buff ’s righthand man, and is now on board with PMI, designing the new 500 Series Valley modules.”

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Hyatt continues, “Brent Casey is a brilliant mic designer and all-around, go-to guy to design any kind of project. Harvey Gerst designs the studio monitors for the Trident line. We have a team of legendary designers with literally 150 years of experience designing some of the world’s best-known brands and products. You can’t come up with that in your wildest dreams. Then there is another team of people who handle all the sales, marketing, support, service and every other aspect of our business. We have 15 people that do the work of 45!”

PMI has two facilities. The U.S. operations, which goes by the moniker, PMI Audio Group, is based in Gardena, California, and the U.K. operations, known as PMI Audio U.K., is handled out of Torquay, in Devon County. Each facility handles manufacturing, distribution, sales, service, marketing and support. There is an internal graphics department that does all of the marketing materials in-house, including literature, shipping boxes, manuals, website, videos—everything associated with marketing and advertising.

In the U.S., the company builds by hand all of the Tonelux products, along with the Valley Products and several of the Trident products. The U.K. is where the large-format Trident consoles, along with some of the other Trident products, are assembled.

As Hyatt likes to point out, the PMI Audio Group is “really a bunch of musicians and designers looking to offer our customers great products at all price points. We are very much service-oriented. My feeling is if I can’t offer service in the same manner I sell it, I should get out of the business. We create products based on our own experiences as musicians and engineers. Our design approach is to design to a sound we like, and not be overly concerned about the spec. At the end of the day, what people want are good, quality-sounding products. My role has always been to create the product concept. From there, I take it to my designers, and they are responsible for turning my visions into working products.”

According to Hyatt, PMI Audio’s growth areas are broadcast and live sound. “We see our company targeting more products to offer in those markets,” he acknowledges. “I try to stay focused on what I think the market wants, and what the market will bear. I am very aware of our competitors and what they are doing. In fact, I own a good deal of my competitors’ products that I use in my studios, along with my own products. Owning seven brands kind of forces me to be my own competition as well. It is hard to avoid products that do the same thing differently, but who better to be in competition with than myself?”

Company: PMI Audio Group
1845 W. 169th Street
Gardena, CA 90247
Tel: 310-323-9050
Fax: 310-323-9051
Web: pmiaudio.com