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April Issue Feature: PowerBass - More Than A Brand

4/1/2016, Mobile Electronics, April Issue -- Defining PowerBass is a particularly interesting exercise. The reason lies in the fact that PowerBass is more than your standard 12-volt manufacturer. PowerBass is the parent company of Image Dynamics (ID)—a storied, high-end car audio company with deep roots in as much retail as competition car audio. The old timers of the industry will remember ID for making some of the first car audio compression horns, the IDQ, and IDMAX subwoofers.

Despite merging in 2010, each brand has its own unique set of lines, its own website and its own identity in the marketplace. While they share some common staff, the gear and its respective positioning in the marketplace is kept quite intentionally separate.

One of the factors that makes PowerBass unique is the way their products come to market.

“PowerBass is a vertically integrated company,” said Brad Fair, sales director of PowerBass. “The [parent] owns the manufacturing facility in China, but the research and development goes on here in Ontario, California.”

The company also employs a pair of dedicated acoustic engineers, with Fair acting as the third acoustic engineer. “I do a lot of the follow up work,” he said “And I do a lot with the sales and marketing departments as well.”  

The Drawing Board

Defining the viability of prospective products starts with a team asking questions, both from the consumers as well as the retailers. Once that team starts comparing notes, the round table discussion evolves into the beginnings of a product. Can it be made in a certain target MSRP range? Is it unique enough to warrant production, and if so, is it an Image Dynamics product or a PowerBass product? All these questions get bandied about, refined, experimented with, dissected and refined again. Fair believes strongly in the importance of “taking a particular product, and making it ours.” Quality and market considerations invariably come into play.

In addition to establishing if a potential product concept is financially viable and sufficiently unique, Fair’s team assesses how it could be sold and marketed. Fair offered Bluetooth enabled products as a prime example. “Bluetooth is the biggest thing that’s been out there for the last year or two. We put our twist on to it. By that I mean price point, a feature, and so on.

For example, we now have a Bluetooth sound bar for UTV’s. There are a couple of other companies that have this already, however, the R&D is much different than what we do. We added a DSP processor to two of the new sound bars we just released, which makes a world of difference to the way it sounds at low and high volume. It’s pre-programmed to account for dips and peaks as well as a distortion limiter. It allows the user to turn it up louder than the competition, and sound better at low volume. We do the same thing when we develop a speaker, woofer or amplifier.”

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