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EVE cock-a-hoop at fifth anniversary

Dave Robinson 5 September 2016
EVE cock-a-hoop at fifth anniversary

PSNEurope first visited EVE Audio in September 2012. Your correspondent documented how Roland Stenz, formerly of ADAM Audio, had set up the company with his (life and business) partner Kerstin Mischke in May of 2011. The business was small but ambitious: the huge ‘painting hall’ that cradled them, in a Berlin ‘media city’ development park, certainly suggested the couple’s confidence and determination.

Five years later, Mischke and Stenz celebrate their fifth anniversary at Prolight and Sound with a party, guests, and a lot of smiling faces. That ambition is being realised, it seems.

Speaking after the bash, the couple reflects on their experiences. Mischke describes how their first HQ was part of a huge building built in the mid 1970s for the “one and only” GDR broadcaster, ‘Fernsehen der DDR’. “The building used to house the scenery making department for the broadcaster. Our paint hall is Europe’s largest, for when printers/plotters did not exist and all large-format posters for movies and theatres were hand-painted.”

It was a no frills, no ornamentation affair. “You knew you were in East Germany!” smiles Stenz.

With company growth has come a new facility. “We are still in the same building, but in a larger part. Now we have a new space. We had 750sqm, now we have 1,100sqm, with separate spaces for production and storage.” The 2.0 EVE factory is newly decorated, with a new production facility and – importantly – new windows!

GDR planning didn’t extend to double-glazing, certainly: “One of the reasons not to be there was it was quite cold in the winter…”

A more significant reason has been the bigger models of speakers which have been delivered in the last few months. “Four-way systems, the 3010s, the 3012s, the big subwoofers, they all take a lot of space if you store them,” details Mischke. “And with increased production too, we needed more room.”

Since PSNEurope’s first visit, the staff has grown to 15 from five. “More people in production,” notes Mischke, “[including] guys from the SAE (School of Audio Engineering).”

This isn’t just a cheap way of getting labour: you sense the couple have a genuine interest in giving young people a start, and harvesting the enthusiasm they bring: “They have a fresh brain,” underlines Mischke, “they don’t care about the industry, and they have energy, which is something we appreciate.”

Not only that, but EVE receives regular visits at the factory from the SAE and dBs Music school in Berlin, plus Sonic College from Denmark. “They come here for an education programme we offer, to learn about acoustics. With our anechoic chamber and reverberation room, we can demonstrate to them things they have only learned theoretically.”

EVE’s smaller speakers are manufactured in Asia, while the larger ones (3010 and 3012 main monitors and the large TS subwoofers) are assembled in Berlin, and that includes the building of the drivers. Inside the cabinets, you’ll find Hypex power amps from the Netherlands (Stenz: “I like these products! They are special”).

“We test every speaker,” notes the designer. “We unpack the units and check every one. The LED ring, for instance, we make sure they are the same brightness and so on.” Then there’s a 24-hour power test, and a switch- on-and-off procedure too: three minutes on, one minute off, for 24 hours. “That means around 400 times on an off – and we can connect up to 72 speakers [for concurrent testing] like this.”

While fail rates may have been a slight concern when the business started, now they are “negligible” says Mischke. “Quality control was very much in focus from the beginning,” she adds.

Obviously, with this intense QC procedure, the company avoids later problems, which makes support easier, notes Stenz. “People say the products are super reliable. We are all about establishing good service, reliability, solid social networking… with all these things coming together, you can establish the brand step-by-step.”

So, who, in this competitive marketplace, are EVE’s customers? Who is buying the speakers?

“We are in 60 countries,” reveals Mischke, “and the only markets we are having a hard time to get into is South America and the Middle East. But the rest of the world, we are nicely covered – because the impression to begin with was of having a complete range of speakers.”

It was a strategy that worked: start your business with as full catalogue of products as possible, rather than one or two, and not only can you better-serve a wider range of customers, you can also impress upon distributors and dealers that you are here for the long haul. (“There are not so many full-range monitor manufacturers,” opines Stenz.) Mischke continues: “…so this ‘complete range’ approach attracted ‘Grade A’ distributors in a lot of regions. The more we work our way up, by adding to the ranges, the more other distributors take notice…”

Regarding end users, Mischke says “they don’t call us but we hear about them… the more high-profile they are, the less they want to talk about it!” She notes that EVE customers come “right across the board” in terms of occupation or status – though she does highlight “gamers” as fans. The two-desktop-speakers-and-sub bundles that EVE offers is certainly winning some bonus points (and possibly extra lives…) Meanwhile, the company will keep chipping away at the higher end of the market. “You have to remember, the bigger speakers have only available for 18 months, and five years is still young for a company.”

And in that five years, EVE has found many friends for the SC207 (2-way 7” active monitor) and 205 (2-way 5”) – these are the bestsellers (“I like the 203 – it’s a killer!” claims Mischke.) Up until February of this year, around 30,000 total units shifted in all in fact.

What does EVE still need to do as a company, what could be better?

“We are quite surprised at how fast our growth is, and how stable we are in the market,” says Stenz after some thought. “We don’t have sleepless nights because something is wrong.”

What about the trend for digital networking? Stenz seems unfazed. “All this networking stuff: we don’t have any yet… lots of people are asking for a networking solution, but, really, no one is using it very much. It’s the same with digital inputs and 192kHz: they are asking for it but they are not using it.”

No major investment in Dante or AES67 any time soon then, perhaps. Instead, says Mischke, they’ll keep on with some tough marketing, and establishing the company further. See you in another five years’ time, then?

“Oh definitely!”

www.eve-audio.com

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