TORONTO, ONTARIO: For Phase 3 AV, when it comes to everything they do, the watchwords are always quality, reliability, and accountability. That, in part, drove Phase 3’s recent purchase of Meyer Sound Ultra-X20 and Ultra-X40 self-powered point source loudspeakers to their already substantial inventory of Meyer products. “We run Leopard and Mina line arrays, 900-LFC subs, X20s, X40s, and Meyer Sound’s Galaxy-816 processors,” explains Shane Fine, Phase 3 Founder and CEO.
The Toronto-based audiovisual company specializes in ‘all-inclusive production services and equipment rentals.’ They bring lengthy experience and a wide range of technologies to the table, including many products represented by GerrAudio, among them, Meyer Sound, DiGiCo, Clear-Com, and DPA Microphones.
“For DiGiCo, we deploy SD9s and SD12s,” Fine says, “and our Clear-Com inventory consists of traditional beltpacks and main stations for wired partylines, and FreeSpeak II for wireless communications. For DPA, we rely on their lapel mics. We’re a full-service audio/visual company. We specialize in live events and do equipment rentals for just about every industry, including other AV and entertainment companies. We supply full service for live events - whatever the application, whether it’s a meeting, conference, gala or concert.”
Since Fine and business partner, Alan Vegotsky, founded Phase 3 in 2006, and the company has grown substantially. “Al and I had always been in the DJ Entertainment circuit; not in clubs, more at parties, dances, Bar Mitzvahs. We found a niche in that market, servicing DJ/entertainment companies. And I always had a love for the equipment, but it was more that DJ side of things that drove it.”
“We started as two guys out of high school with a cube van, running the business out of our parents’ garages,” he continues. “Then we got too big for that and moved into an auto shop. A friend of Alan’s father had this big warehouse, and we got a little corner at the back with a loading door.”
In the late-2000s, they moved into their own 3000 square foot shop and then upgraded to a 6,500 square foot space before purchasing their current 17,000 square foot facility in 2014. “As we started to grow our customer base, they grew with us. Those early customers were saying, ‘we have a meeting, a conference… Can you help us?’ We grew organically by way of warm referrals. People liked the way we responded and did our job.”
Phase 3 consistently updates its large inventory of audio, video, lighting, and staging equipment with an eye to providing ever more effective, hands-on customer service and comprehensive solutions tailored to their clients’ needs across North America.
“With the Ultra-X40s, we were looking for a heavy-duty, powered point source speaker, and they fit the bill in every way, shape, and form. We bought twelve of them right when they came out and recently took delivery of eight Ultra-X20s to fill in with the X40s. Now that we have had the opportunity to deploy them, we feel that we will be able to do more than what we originally expected. We are looking forward to getting them out working on a lot of shows this summer and fall.”
Mostly, the purchase of Meyer Sound Ultra-X loudspeakers was about quality. "They did what they said they would do.” That’s factored into all of Phase 3’s gear purchases from Gerr over the past decade. “We use DiGiCo as our higher-end line for larger-scale jobs. With DPA, it just fits the level of jobs that we’re doing, and we bought quantity. Other companies found out we had DPA, so they rent from us instead of buying their own. I’m happy to be the guy with thirty DPA lapel mics that everybody can come to us for. And we’re happy to make those investments because we know quality product pays off in the long term. That’s why we continue to invest – the quality of products is there. And Gerr keeps them in stock.”
As for Clear-Com: “We’ve always had Clear-Com systems. They’re a staple in what we do and what we need on the regular. We also started investing in Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak wireless, which we’ve been super happy with. It’s reliable, solid, just really good quality.”
Having high-end equipment – and plenty of it – on offer, helps Phase 3 expand its client base - 100 percent. “That has definitely helped Phase 3 grow from a dry hire/rental standpoint. It accomplished two things. It’s allowed us to keep our corporate customers that are doing massive meetings and conferences happy because great products allow us to deliver great results. It also helped on the rental side because we had all these great toys everybody wanted. So, their shows go well. Then other people come to us because we have the products and expertise with them.”
The relationship with GerrAudio began roughly a decade ago, Fine says. “And it’s been solid ever since. At the time, we were looking for a small line array or something along those lines, and the Meyer product line stood out for us. So, we made that decision and started investing in the products Gerr represents.”
In Fine’s assessment, the equation is pretty simple – bottom line, GerrAudio does precisely what they say they will, as do the product lines the company represents. And, he adds, they, like Phase 3, emphasize being engaged and responsive to clients. “If you’re not - if somebody has to wait two weeks to hear from you, how reliable are you?” Fair to say, that’s not a problem with Gerr. “They tick all those boxes, and if something doesn’t work, they take responsibility for it. Which is exactly what I’d expect from any supplier.”
It’s also how Phase 3 does business. “Anyone who does business with us, if something doesn’t work, if we sent you the wrong thing, we’re getting in the car or doing whatever we have to do to correct the problem. It doesn’t matter what it costs; somebody has to make it right. We do what we say we’re going to do. If you ask me for X, you get X and not Y. And if we mess up – which doesn’t happen often – we own it. I don’t care if it’s a twenty-dollar speaker rental; you still have to own the mistake.”
“Another big thing, and something that we’re very good at, is coming up with solutions rather than just giving people a hard ‘no’. If we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, we’ll say, here are your options; here’s what we can do for you right now."
Again, that’s right in line with what they expect, get, and share with GerrAudio. “100-percent,” Fine concludes. “We do business in a transparent way. If we say we’ll do something, we’ll do it. We’ll deliver and offer a solution in the time frame we’re given because we just want to help our customers.”
Author: Kevin Young