Celebrating a Decade of Innovation

by Michael S. Eddy
Point Source Audio is celebrating 10 years of innovations
Point Source Audio is celebrating 10 years of innovations

A Q&A with Point Source Audio Founder & President James Lamb

In January, Point Source Audio (PSA), a manufacturer specializing in the development of miniature microphones and headsets, kicked off its year-long 10th Anniversary celebration. To commemorate their ten years of microphone innovations and express their appreciation to the arts and audio community, PSA will donate $10,000 worth of products to nonprofits through their ‘Decades of Innovation’ contest. Stage Directions recently spoke with James Lamb, founder and president of PSA to discuss the company’s commitment to anticipating and meeting clients’ needs, their anniversary, and how PSA supports the unique requirements of theater.

SD: Over the past decade, PSA has had three patents granted for its in-house designed and engineered microphones and headsets, including two patents for its Embrace earmount microphones and another for its CM-i3 and CM-i5 modular intercom headsets, so the company has plenty of reasons to celebrate. Talk about your R&D team and the expertise that they bring to the product line.

James Lamb: It really is a team approach. We get input from our salespeople speaking with our customers, talking to the industry, or just out observing. From there, we have marketing, sales, and engineering; all three entities speak with an equal voice. And it’s been a matter of collaboration; in some cases, maybe a bit of compromise, but never a compromise in quality. It’s a collaborative effort as we finally come up with improvements to the original idea. We’ll start with a general concept like, the industry really needs to address X. Then through that process, we always work to refine the solution to be better than where we started.

Is there one product you think really exemplifies that process?
The Embrace product really has been well accepted by the industry; it’s something very unique. That product started with us at a client’s site, just seeing what they’re doing; that’s so educational for us. We saw how, behind the scenes, they were trying to achieve a particular technique. We looked at it and said, ‘I think we can do that better.’

We go out and see how the people are working in their day-to-day lives; how they’re trying to solve the problems in their unique setting. You hear the perspective from customers and it’s important to listen for what they’re not saying; as opposed to just simply reacting to what they say.
James Lamb, founder and president of Point Source Audio

You are a musician, composer, and a band leader. How does this inform your work at PSA?
I do look at products from a performer’s standpoint, not just in fidelity and quality, but also ease of use and features that make using the product simple, and enhances the performer’s talent as opposed to needing to manage a piece of hardware on their head. We always try to ask ourselves, ‘How do we solve problems for our performers and their suppliers?’

We want our customers to feel our investment in them, from their first phone call to our salespeople to when they open the package. We want them to see the care that we take in boxing and packaging each and every microphone. Each one is quality tested 10 times before it goes out the door. Plus, we want to be there for the follow-up and deal with whatever questions or support that they need on the back end. We treat every customer—whether they buy one or 100 microphones—the same. That’s our company philosophy and we hope that’s reflected in the product that we ship out.

Talk a little bit about your Decade of Innovation contest, and giving back to end users.
For years, we’ve always tried to support various performing art centers and different entities that are non-profit, wherever we can because what they provide to their communities is important. We recognize the fact that for 10 years we’ve enjoyed some success and want to recognize that we have a debt of gratitude for our customers by helping get some tools out into different nonprofit performing arts organizations that can use the help.

How do you see the theater market and how do you cater to its specific needs?
Every production is unique with its own challenges. You’re trying to put technology onto actors, but ultimately, there’s a story to be told. Our little part is to help tell that part of the story.

There are immense challenges that you must deal with in theater, whether it’s from production, or budget, or directorial challenges. You’re trying to put high-tech products, say on a Victorian lady, and obviously you can’t have that seen. So, every production is different, every production is unique, and you just can’t walk in with a cookie-cutter product. You take a show that’s travelling, each theatre they enter is different, the acoustics are different, the size, the shape, etc. Every time they have to adapt and adjust, so that the production is consistent. We are proud that our products are able to help them do that. 

The Point Source Decades of Innovation Contest $10,000 product giveaway is split into three prize packages of PSA microphones, headsets, and other gear with a retail value of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 to three lucky nonprofit groups. It began on January 8, 2018 and runs through March 31, 2018. For details and to enter go to www.point-sourceaudio.com/10years
Point Source celebrates a Decade of Innovation with a contest