The Channel: Interview with Dave Dysart, President of HHB Canada
by Terry Hardin
HHB Canada, Ltd. has very adroitly managed the exclusive distribution of Universal Audio's complete line of products in Canada for approximately three years. HHB has done a terrific job of developing and maintaining the Universal Audio presence in the Canadian Pro Audio and MI markets. HHB Canada's president, Dave Dysart, consented to the following interview, even though he was in the midst of final preparations for the MIAC (Music Industries Association Canada) show taking place on August 21 and 22, at the Toronto International Centre. This event also includes the Pro Audio & Lighting (PAL) Showcase and is the Canadian equivalent to the Winter NAMM Session in the U.S.
HHB Canada: Pretty Good, eh!
Where is HHB Canada's world headquarters located?
HHB Communications Canada Ltd is a subsidiary of HHB Communications Limited [UK]. HHB UK is located in London England. HHB Canada is located in Toronto, Ontario. We are located in Toronto for a number of reasons: It's home and we like it here, it is the largest city in Canada, and it is the center of media production--music, post-production and video--for English speaking Canada. also, there are great restaurants and entertainment here!
Does HHB Canada have satellite offices? Where?
HHB Canada has independent sales reps located in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Montreal, Quebec; Mississauga, Ontario; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
How and when did HHB Canada get its start?
Dave Dysart, President of HHB Canada, visits with Bruce Swedien at the recent MIAC show
HHB Canada was formed on April 1, 1997. HHB Canada is a subsidiary of HHB Communications limited, who are the largest Pro Audio reseller in the UK and a manufacturer and distributor of pro audio gear. The three founding employees of HHB Canada were previously employed by the original Canadian distributor of HHB. Over time, it became obvious that an HHB subsidiary in Canada would be a viable business, offering a dedicated distribution path for HHB products as well as products from other like-minded pro audio manufacturers. Seven years later, we are still enjoying ourselves, working with great suppliers, reps and dealers, and selling lots of product.
How many people does HHB Canada currently employ?
Four full-time and one part-time staff members in Toronto, and six independent sales reps scattered across the country
Tell us about HHB Canada's history in our wild and wacky industry.
Seriously, all of us at HHB are pro audio and MI veterans (some would say lifers). We go back to the glory days of analog recording, and have enough of a history to remember when recording audio on a hard drive was akin to alchemy.--Dave Dysart, president, HHB Canada
HHB are known for finding the best restaurants regardless of what city we may be in.
Norman Verall: HHBs Sales Manager and technical guru
Also, we know our way around a wine list better than any other girly-man pro audio company I can think of.
Seriously, all of us at HHB are pro audio and MI veterans (some would say lifers). We go back to the glory days of analog recording, and have enough of a history to remember when recording audio on a hard drive was akin to alchemy. Ask Matt Ward [U.A.'s president and CEO]; he remembers those days. I would like to think that we can be as crazy as the next guy in the business, but when it comes down to the crunch, the customer is serviced, the gig goes off without a hitch, and when the red record light comes on everything works as promised.
What were some of the first product lines that HHB Canada distributed?
The first product line that HHB Canada distributed was, and is, HHB product. We make a number of highly regarded products: digital recording media, CD recorders, and portable location audio recorders--both minidisk and hard disk-based. Some of our other early product ranges included Soundtracs digital mixing consoles and Sadie digital workstations.
What makes HHB Canada unique in the MI and pro audio distribution world?
HHB Canada is unique in that we are experienced in both the MI and Pro Audio/Broadcast worlds. Roughly half of our business is in MI distribution, with the
Rob McKibbin: HHBs UA Sales Rep for Canadas Western Region
other half being high-end recording, post-production and broadcast. Our two biggest clients are Canada's largest MI chain--Long & McQuade--and Canada's national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcast Corp.
We are also known as an engineering-driven sales organization. Most of us at HHB Canada use the products we distribute after hours in our own music and recording endeavors.
How many dealers are in HHB Canada's distribution network?
We have over 200 dealers across Canada.
Why is Universal Audio important to HHB Canada?
UA is very important to HHB Canada for a number of reasons. It is one of our top selling lines, and sales are steadily growing. It is a prestige line, with a lineage that stretches back to the earliest days of music recording. UA offers both analog and digital solutions, with products that suit a wide range of resellers. Also, we have a great relationship with the crew at UA, and they are some of the nicest people we deal with! Sales and technical support from UA are top-notch.
What is cool about selling UA products?
They sound great, work well and have a cool factor to them that many other products don't. As well, we make good margins and so do our retailers.
What makes selling UA products a pain in the neck?
Nothing really. I suppose I could complain about product availability if I really had to complain about something.
Peter Chapman gets a rare break from his expert UAD-1 demos at the MIAC show
The principle staff members and independent reps of HHB Canada
- Dave Dysart - President
- Dianne Dunford - Office Manager
- Norman Verrall - Sales Manager
- Curtis Faux - shipping/receiving/tech support
- Peter Chapman - Sales/Marketing support
- Gain Marketing - Atlantic Canada Sales
- Shawn Crockard
- Matt Miller
Le Groupe A1 - Quebec Sales
- Pierre Beaupre
- Philippe Rodrigues
Lebanna Solutions - Ontario Sales
McKibbin Marketing - Western Canada Sales