What Kind of Audio Visual Professional Do You Need?
published onAugust 14, 2012

Park East, with video systems designed and installed by New York AV consultants JD Pro

Are you ready to re-vamp, upgrade or install new professional audio visual systems in your New York tri-state area retail or corporate space? Are you confused by all the audio visual contractors advertising different services at widely varying prices? Do you think a bid process is the way to go, but you’re concerned about going with the lowest bidder because the quality of your audio visual system design installation might suffer? These are all valid questions and concerns when you’re shopping for an audio video contractor.

We’ve been in this business a while, and it might surprise you that we’ve struggled with the terminology, too. Ultimately, you want to find an audio visual professional (whatever they call themselves) that offers options — the choice to install your own gear based on their designs, the choice to have an audio video contractor install the gear based on someone else’s designs, or turnkey service that offers design consultation, sales, installation and service after the sale.

Let us clarify some of the terms for you so it’s easier to make the right decision as you shop around for an AV integrator, consultant or installer.

Audio Visual Integrator – Technically, this would be the person who integrates — that is, installs, programs and fine-tunes your audio video systems, making sure they all work together. In today’s world of ITAV convergence, an audio visual integrator might work with your IT staff, or bring in IT experts of his own, to make sure all your technology systems work together.

Today, “audio visual integrator” has become a catch-all term to describe the audio visual professional who might design, install, tune and service your audio video systems. If you’re set to hire someone who calls themselves an AV integrator, it’s a good idea to find out exactly what services they provide.

Audio Visual Consultant – Sometimes called an audio visual design consultant, this person or firm does a lot more than what consultants in other industries might be perceived to do. A consultant in most industries will advise you on the best business decisions in specific circumstances, but leaves it in your hands to make the ultimate decisions. They may recommend best courses of action, or even best product purchases.

An audio visual consultant can come in to your venue and do exactly that, if you’d like. But they can also take the wheel and actually design your new audio video systems based on what you’ve described as your needs. If you’re not sure of your needs, or the technology required to make it all happen, they’ll speak your language to help you determine what audio video systems will best help your company achieve its goals. This is where the “consulting” part comes in.

But a design consultant will also design the systems to exact specifications, right down to the makes and models of flat screens or projectors, speakers, amps, equipment racks, audio visual processing gear, control systems and more. They might have audio visual specialists on staff who can install the systems, as well, or you may want to hire a separate audio visual contractor to install your new audio video systems. (If you’re brave, you can try to install them yourself!) You can read more about how an audio visual consultant can help you in this post.

Audio Visual Designer – This is the person who determines where to hang the speakers and screens, (which isn’t always as easy as it sounds!) and how to integrate it all successfully for a seamless technology experience. This AV expert might also specify the equipment to be installed. Audio visual designer or audio visual design specialist and audio visual consultant are often used interchangeably.

Audio Visual Contractor or Low-Voltage Contractor – Anyone who deals in audio/video or ITAV and other low-voltage systems is an audio visual contractor. On the job site, this often means the person doing the legwork to install your new audio video systems per the design consultant’s specifications.

Today, many audio visual specialists provide it all, from consulting and design to sales, installation and service-after-the-sale. You may want a turnkey service, so that if something goes wrong, you’re dealing with one point-of-contact. Or you may find you can save money by ordering your AV services ala carte. Whatever you need, JD Pro is here to help, with full-service design, sales, installation and service.