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Articles September - October 2023

Capturing The True Essence Of Sound New!

From Lewitt Audio's Pure Tube Microphone to Sennheiser's Profile USB Microphone, these studio microphones offer precise audio quality to the users and deliver crisp, clear sound. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Photo Feature: Studio Showcase New!

From A.R. Rahman's studio in Mumbai to composer Raag Sethi's first Dolby-compliant studio in Gujarat, PALM Expo Magazine's Studio Showcase features the latest studios in India. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Mastering The Art Of Sound With Donal Whelan New!

Whelan talks to the PALM Expo Magazine Team and discusses his foray into the world of mastering, his unique experience at the PALM Conference 2023, and more. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Nx Audio Celebrates Two Decades Of Pro Audio Journey New!

Nx Audio completes 20 years of delivering pro audio products for the Indian pro sound industry. Read about Nx Audio's journey over the last two decades. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Mumbai Studio Explores New Verticals With Genelec Monitors New!

The combination of Genelec Smart Active Monitors and digital audio interface delivered an ideal monitoring solution for BOING Recording Studios. read more

Articles September - October 2023

IRAA Awards 2023: Jury Reflections New!

Read about IRAA Jury's perspective on the bigger questions in the music industry - AI for music production, the status of mega consoles, & emerging trends in sound recording & mixing. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Gray Spark Audio Opens New Studio For Academy Students New!

PALM Expo Magazine Team talks to Ronak Runwal to explore how the newly-designed Studio D is poised to become a recording haven for the academy students. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Firdaus Studio: Building A Sonic Paradise For Recording Artists New!

The Firdaus Studio by A.R. Rahman stands as a beacon of innovation in the music production industry. PALM Expo Magazine explores the making of the musical maestro's magnus opus in the recording landscape. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Naveen Deshpande Elevates Stand-Up Comedy with Bespoke Lighting Designs New!

Naveen Deshpande, a renowned lighting designer, made heads turn through his recent collaboration with India's leading stand-up comedian, Zakir Khan, during the latter's international tour. read more

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11 Questions with Roger Drego ----------------July August 2016 Issue!

In the 70’s, when professional audio was barely heard of in India, Roger Drego popularly known as RD stepped into the world of professional audio. In this interview, the rental Industry veteran and Managing Director of Electrocraft – one of India’s premier rental company, fields 11 Questions on establishing his own assembling unit, the pro audio scene – then and now, the sound rental industry in India and more.

Managing Director of Electrocraft

Managing Director of Electrocraft

1. What were the deciding factors that made you set up your rental business?

The first deciding factor was the lack of proper audio systems in the industry. When we did small shows earlier, we received a lot of flak from the audiences as the sound was almost unintelligible. During those days, only Ahuja equipment was available in the market, so we decided to step in, and purchase better quality of equipment. Those days Singapore was the only gateway for importing stuff and the duties were very high, so we decided to buy Japanese equipment and that’s how we started and slowly grew the business.

2. Which was the first major gig that you supplied equipment for and what did the sound system inventory for such gigs usually comprise of?

Our first big gig was the Jazz Yatra. The first one was done by a German company and the second yatra was done by us. Some of the first bands that entered India were Osibisa, Boomtown Rats and Wishbone Ash. These bands required a certain standard of equipment which was available only in Europe, so we started importing some of the equipment like mixers and the basics to cater to the needs of these groups.

3. At what point of time did you decide to brand your own products and get into manufacturing and how much would you says you employ state-of-the art design in the RD brand of products?

It’s only four years ago that we started branding our own products. We realized that a lot of professional brands were very expensive (especially after paying the duty), making it tough for people to purchase equipment. So we decided to manufacture our own equipment which was not overly priced. I would say our equipment are mid-priced and cater to the middle segment like night clubs and auditoriums.

I wouldn’t say that we employ state-of-the art design and we are not even attempting to be like the top brands because that requires high-end R&D and we can’t afford to do that as it will ultimately make our products too expensive to sell. That’s a different ball game altogether.

I don’t think anybody in India is really manufacturing per se. We all are assembling, because otherwise it’s not feasible. Ours is a product that we finally came up with by looking at the other products. People want lower priced products that also sound good and that’s what we are aiming at. We are very clear that we want to make products that are affordable and of good quality. If somebody wants to buy an expensive product then they can buy a product which is already available, why will they buy your brand?

4. Your impressions of the pro audio scene - then and now

A big difference! Pro audio scene at that time was only one or two players and today we have hundreds of players in the market. Today India has trade fairs for pro audio, licensing has become easier and even duties have reduced thereby facilitating easy import of equipment. In the early days we had to travel abroad and take a decision on what to buy, but now you just acquire information off the internet, take a decision and approach the company. Today we even have so many majors like Yamaha and Harman based in India.

5.What were the biggest challenges that you faced in the last 4 decades that you have been around in the industry?

In the early days the equipment used did not require very high power from the main supply. As technology advanced the need for higher power became very important and the organizers of the event were never able to understand this new demand. So to get a good power supply or good high power generator became a difficult task. Today we don’t face these problems but we have different challenges like noise pollution and time limits and no open grounds in the cities. Other countries have big venues in non-residential areas but in India it is not so. It has become impossible to do a proper concert, given the required permissions and the pressure that the police are putting on us.

6. Would you say that there is any major differentiation in design in Chinese brands from the American or other first world design styles?

Most Chinese brands are generally copied. Very few Chinese in the sound industries have come up with their own designs. They basically copy the designs of good American and German companies. As the manufacturing cost in China is very low and the raw material is cheap, is the reason why some top companies have manufacturing plants in China. The amount of licensing and red tape that is involved in starting a manufacturing plant in India is not funny, but now that Prime Minister Modi has given a boost to the manufacturing industries through the “Make in India” Program, I hope we can look forward to a brighter future.

7. How come we don’t see much of Japan in the pro audio manufacturing race?

That’s true in a way but some Japanese products and companies are in the fore-front like Yamaha. Yamaha mixers today are among the best in the market. Electronic-wise - the amplifiers and mixers have made their mark. It’s only that the speakers are not as successful and up to the mark.

8. Today there is a growing awareness in the Indian market for quality - is it true or myth?

It is true, but then quality comes with a price tag. Definitely there is a growing interest in getting better sound but they want everything to work in their own budget. In today’s age the money market is so tight that people don’t want to pay the price for the product they actually want. They want quality but don’t want to pay more.

9. Do these high-value products have commensurate designs that justify the value?

Yes. They have spent a lot of money on research. Sometime you come up with the product after couple of years of research which costs a lot of money and that recovery comes only from the high end products. Research plays a very important part in designing quality equipment and the cost is justified as they have to recover the money and time they have spent on extensive research.

10. Over the last few years, the sheer number of concerts and events in India stand as testimony to the fact that there is demand. Doesn’t this increase pressure on inventory which hopefully leads to more players?

Definitely; the number of live events happening all over the country has gone up by 10 times and that’s the reason for so many sound systems coming up. Across India, all major and smaller cities are coming up with the sound system and therefore the competition in price and quality has increased. Mumbai, itself boast of many sound players.

11.Tell us about PALA?

PALA is formed by a group of people who have elected me as the President. The main objective of PALA is to unify the people from the sound industry as we do not have a unified body following one code. The whole idea of PALA is to unify and to sort out the problems regarding noise level and time restrictions etc. and follow one code. Different people in different areas are facing different problems and if we have to address and solve these problems then we have to unify everybody. We have a member base of 400-500 in Mumbai alone and we are happy to see cities like Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur also joining in and we are getting a positive response. We are not differentiating between big and small players. Anybody dealing in sound can be part of PALA.


Palm Expo Magazine Nov Dec 2023 Palm Expo Magazine Nov Dec 2023
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