by Tamara Starr
While growing up within the performing and visual arts space, Evan MacKenzie always felt inspired by theater and museums. “My background in art and literature—along with getting to work with some brilliant brand strategy people at prominent ad agencies—got me to feeling I had found my career path,” he said. “Plus, I love music, the artists who make it, engineer it and the ones who produce it.”
That fascination with music paved the way for a long career in pro audio that led to his present position as vice president of Marketing and Sales for ASI Audio, a startup that produces in-ear headphones and monitors. “I have direct access to the R&D [research and development] persons who are making it—a marketing person’s dream,” he said.
ASI Audio was formed by two partner companies, Sensaphonics and TAM RD. Sensaphonics was founded by Dr. Michael Santucci, a respected audiologist and inventor of the original 3D IEM and now the new 3DME IEM system. “The mic-equipped 3DME and its companion belt pack lets performers combine the mic signal with their monitor mixes to connect with band mates and their audiences for an unparalleled stage experience,” MacKenzie explained. TAM RD, run by President Jim Harris, builds IEMs and headsets for organizations such as NASA, the NCAA and NASCAR.
“Michael has his clinic and custom shop in Chicago, where he has been for over three decades,” said MacKenzie, “serving just about every musician you can name. Jim has been guiding TAM for nearly two decades in Cleveland, Ohio. They have experience with designing and building robust, durable IEMs, which has been a perfect match for the in-ear monitor needs of musicians and DJs, I’m blessed by a plethora of great relationships which have given us entrance to some very potent sales opportunities.”
MacKenzie noted that one of the most vibrant aspects of the company’s culture is the mutual curiosity that they all have for each other’s capabilities and experience. “The TAM RD team comes from a very different perspective than the Sensaphonics people. Then, there is Charlene Clements, an amazing operations person, who came from over a decade with Etymotic Research, and Gregg Stein, an industry veteran and our business growth expert,” he said. “The cool dynamic is that we have a very comfortable environment to share insights and ask any question with no fear of judgment.”
Since ASI’s debut at NAMM 2020, touring and club musicians, House of Worship and DJs, mainly in the US, have been the main clients for the company. The company is broadening not only its product line—it will be shipping a fully custom-built version of the 3DME soon— but also its reach, as it has recently started shipping to Germany, Scandinavia and Canada.
“One key to successful marketing,” MacKenzie says, is to clearly “stand for something” rather than make comparisons to Brand X: “Have a great product, make its promise clear and share it to the target audience in a compelling and honest expression.”