|Phonic’s new AM Gold Series mixers offer uncommon aesthetics as well as integrated Bluetooth and recording capabilities.|
Driven to innovate, a leading Taiwan-based pro audio manufacturer pairs
reasonable pricing and product reliability with “widest dealer profit margin possible”
With a background in engineering and passion for all things audio, Stephen Wang founded Phonic Corporation in 1977. By the ’80s, Phonic was the number-one manufacturer of DJ mixers in the world, OEMing for many of the category’s big names and supplying more than 85% of the total units sold worldwide. The brand was also strong from the start in powered mixers and amplifiers. Some of its earliest models can be found “still going strong” in the field. Wang’s original vision and focus on quality and innovation have guided the company from its formative years into the dawn of its fifth decade in business.
Unlike many of its direct competitors, Phonic designs and manufactures all of its products in its own ISO-certified factories. This gives it complete control over not only the entire manufacturing process but also the individual components and their source. Management leverages access to “phenomenal engineering talent” in Taiwan and China to design its products and fine-tune its processes. Its “world class” lead DSP engineer, for example, has led the development of some exceptional digital products over the years. “Whenever possible,” says Wang, who remains Phonic Corporation’s CEO, “we like to implement features that are not found elsewhere. Furthermore, we tend to work closely with musicians and recording engineers as well our distributors to craft products that reflect their expertise.”
Following the 2008 financial crash, Phonic navigated an “adjustment period” as many in the sector focused on capturing market share through competitive pricing. However, as the dust settled, its leaders found that “a good segment of the market preferred what we’d call reasonable pricing paired with product reliability. Since then we’ve made a push for ‘built-to-last’ quality and adding useful features instead of fighting it out just to be the ‘cheapest’ on the market. Because, really,” he adds, “who wants to be known as ‘cheap’?”
Operating from headquarters in Taiwan and factories in China, Phonic sells to more than 60 nations worldwide, working closely with distributors to help navigate their respective local import regulations. According to Wang, despite recent global economic uncertainties, Taiwan’s economy in general is still strong. Conducting business predominantly in U.S. dollars “offers some protection,” he explains, “because it’s a stable currency.”
Many of Phonic Corporation’s product lines are region specific and tailored to local demands. For instance, its powered mixers, once among Phonic’s hottest categories worldwide, are still selling well in many South American countries even after they declined significantly in North America in favor of active speakers or bundled systems.
In music retail circles, Phonic deals primarily in professional audio, with a focus on mixers, amplifiers, and speakers. But perhaps adding a dash of credibility among the audio tech crowd, it has also made a name for itself with its audio measurement devices. Many of today’s audio engineers will remember its PAA2 and PAA3 handheld analyzers. The PAA series, including its current PAA3X and PAA6 models, has remained one of the company’s biggest sellers for almost two decades.
Phonic’s AM “GE” Series of recording mixers have sold well since their introduction earlier this year. They offer a number of new recording options with a “unique yet classic” design that has proven popular with musicians.
Top-sellers in the company’s loudspeaker range include its Smartman “Intelligent” active models with integrated DSP. This line offers a host of built-in signal processors and remote iPad control.
Phonic Corporation’s product design philosophy is guided by one simple principle: “releasing products that no other company is making.” For example, its AM Gold Series mixers, unveiled in 2018, were of a style and design that wasn’t available elsewhere, with a few simple yet then-uncommon features such as integrated Bluetooth and integrated recording capabilities. And for today’s market, integrating remote control capabilities, whenever possible, is a strong selling point. “More specifically,” says Wang, “we love to target niche markets where possible. We genuinely don’t believe there’s any point in releasing products similar to those already available.” At the Winter NAMM Show next month, Phonic will introduce a new series of mixers that it calls “drastically different to anything on the market.” In general, company management plans to “continue to make products our customers want and give our dealers the widest profit margin we can.
“We enjoy innovating,” Wang concludes. “Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t—but in this industry and market, if you’re not making something new and interesting, then you’re falling behind.”