Partners Brian McCormick and Sean O’Malley, owners since 2007 of Stewart Audio, were eager to discuss this afternoon the fundamental remaking of their company over the past two years. The company still serves its original live-sound amplifier clients, but the new owners, who bought Stewart after lengthy stints in the semiconductor industry, decided to “re-engineer the company and seek new markets,” according to O’Malley.
Thus, today at InfoComm 09, they debuted the company’s new portable (palm-sized) power amps—the AV25 (2-channel Class D amp at 35W and 25W) that weighs less than .5lbs. and is plenum-rated, and other versions of similar size and different power capabilities. Both men say the technology is aimed at the education market—new for Stewart—and is the first of many upcoming moves into new vertical markets. O’Malley suggests that in a difficult economy, the education market is particularly ripe, at least for a certain period of time, as bond and TARP funds for modest infrastructure upgrades begin to circulate in major districts.
They also proudly emphasize all their products are American-made, in Northern California. They suggest that more small companies, unlike many huge corporate players in the AV world, will be opting to do their manufacturing in the U.S. or Mexico in coming years to save on fuel and transport costs, which can offset labor savings in certain cases, and they claim the model has worked well for them thus far.