The Channel: Interview with Techrep Marketing's Jeff Mac
By Sierra Dunton

This month's edition of "The Channel" features a company whose employees are not only our good friends, but also our lifeline to the Southeast and the Ohio Valley: Techrep Marketing. Headed by industry veterans Jeff Mac and Ted Bahas, both driven by technical proficiency and experience, Techrep was the first independent rep firm to work with Universal Audio in 2001 and has been a continually invaluable extension of our field sales team ever since. Many thanks to our very own industry professional, Jeff Mac, who agreed to take time to give our readers a closer look at this unique company.

Techrep's intrepid leaders, Ted Bahas and Jeff Mac (aka Hans and Franz), on a recent trip to Germany to attend Mussikmesse.
Briefly, what is Techrep Marketing?
Techrep Marketing is a professional manufacturers' rep firm. We cover a specific territory and in that area we act in the manufacturers' behalf.

Where are you based? When was the company started?
Techrep has many regional offices (Atlanta; Indianapolis; Greensboro, North Carolina), but our main offices are in Nashville and Cleveland. Our company was formed in 1999 to cover three states (Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama), and we have grown to cover Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, Missouri, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida as well.

What services does Techrep Marketing bring to the professional audio industry?
Techrep is first and foremost a factory representative company. We set up the dealers, train the salespeople, organize seminars and demonstrations and interface with the people who use the products, some famous and some not so famous!

What makes your company unique among other rep firms today?
One of the things we feel makes us unique is our technical proficiency. Everyone in our company has an area of expertise that they thrive in, and we try to use that expertise to benefit our customers. We have experience at the highest level in this industry. Our staff have work experience with companies like Digidesign, Mackie and Yamaha. Among our staff are people who have professionally recorded, edited audio and video, composed music for film and production, played live, run sound and installed and integrated system sound reinforcement. We have a long experience in the industry at the retail and wholesale levels, but we have not forgotten what it is like to be a consumer of these products because we use them personally every day.

How long has Techrep been working with Universal Audio?
Techrep has had the pleasure of working with UA since 2001. We were the first independent rep firm that UA had ever worked with, and we look forward to working with them for a long time to come.

What other product lines does Techrep Marketing represent?
We are fortunate enough that we have been allowed to represent the best of the best. In addition to UA, we represent Genelec, Neumann, Sennheiser, QSC, Tascam and Waves. Further information is available at our website.

Why is Universal Audio important to your business?
Universal Audio is important because it is a company that shares our no-compromises approach to the business. You know that if you plug in to a 610-based mic pre it will sound like a million dollars, and that if UA says it sounds like the original, it does. We like being associated with that kind of excellence-and we get to play with really great gear!

What types of people are buying UA gear?
All types of people are buying UA gear, but they have one thing in common: they want the best!

Is it easy to sell UA products? Is it a challenge? Why?
The only challenge in selling UA gear is having enough product to fill the demand. The crafting of hand-wired, lovingly restored classic analog processors and mic pres cannot be rushed. Unfortunately, that sometimes means we can sell more than they can make!

What brought you, personally, into this industry? What role does music or recording music play in your life?
Everyone in Techrep has a story about that, but I can only speak for myself! I came to Nashville in the '80s to pursue a songwriting career. I figured it would be cheaper to starve here than in New York or L.A.! I knocked around Nashville chasing the dream and doing the demo scene. In 1992 I inked a publishing deal and spent most of the next year drinking way too much coffee and tossing ideas around with co-writers. I scored a couple of PlayStation games and did some cool stuff, but I finally got tired of the corporate nature of the Nashville song-writing grind. I still write and perform occasionally, but most of my time is taken up with directing the activities of Techrep Marketing.

The marketing gang at Techrep in Nashville
What do you envision, or what would you like to see happen, for Techrep Marketing in the next five years?
One of our goals has always been to cover a lot of territory in what we do (we currently cover 11 states) to make the job of the manufacturers that hire us easier and more efficient. Most of my personal goals for Techrep Marketing have to do with trying to institutionalize our culture and what we do to make that expansion easier and more efficient. We would really like to have the opportunity to expand our model within the States, but also to cover Europe. I believe that the things that we do in the channel could be hugely beneficial there. Really, though, I just want to take my wife to Italy and have it be a business expense!

What do you envision, or what would you like to see happen, for Universal Audio in the next five years?
UA has been so amazingly good at reincarnating and emulating classic technology. Sometimes they have put their own stamp on these products, but there has always been the taste of something vintage in everything that they make. I would really like to see UA take their ability to make something sound pristine and wonderful and apply it to something new and completely outside of the box. I can't wait to see products with vintage roots but all-new ideas. I would also love to see them bring some of their disparate technologies together into a single product. Wouldn't a Solo/610 with a UAD-1 card built into it be incredible!

Thank you, Jeff. Any final words, thoughts, or advice to leave our readers with?
Mainly, not to settle for "good enough." While there has been a huge revolution in the audio industry because of descending prices and computer-based recording, there are a lot of really marginal products out there. It is not that something inexpensive can't be good, because there is some really great economical equipment out there. The issue is to stop and listen to it. If it is not good enough, it doesn't matter if it is cheap, it won't get what you hear onto disk (or tape for all you proud retro people!) Listen, experiment, make some mistakes in the studio just to see what will happen! How do you think people started recording kick drums with an NS-10? But it all comes down to listening, because your ears are the most valuable tool you own. As Duke Ellington said, "If it sounds good, it IS good!"