Though it may have faded in to memory, the country''s first
home-grown sound label Sonodyne, once a key player in
the audio hardware industry in the 1970s, is now planning
a comeback in the domestic and overseas markets.
Sonodyne has seen exports of high-end studio monitor speakers
to around 20 countries, and is seeking to enter the home
audio market overseas, once it establishes its credibility
in this highly critical and specialised space.
the home audio segment, Sonodyne offers complete music
solutions through dedicated experience centres, better
known as "Listening Rooms", which are set up
via tie-ups with brand partners like Hitachi (for plasma
and LCD TVs), and Monster of the US (for cables).
company, founded by Ashoke Mukherjee and Aikat Mukherjee,
and was a leader of its time, bringing in innovation like
hi-fi stereo systems under its sub-brands of Uranus and
Orpheo in the 1980s.
in the ''90s, the government imposed stiff trade barriers,
including stipulations that required large amounts of
margin money to be kept in banks against imports. This
effectively ensured the demise of the brand, as Sonodyne
has a very high import content.
partnership too, ended with the brand, though Sonodyne
survived somewhat by banking on "sound engineering
outsourcing" (SEO), which saw it supplying extremely
high-end speakers and amplifiers to niche global players,
while maintaining an almost invisible presence in the
diversified into home audio, installed sound, professional
sound, and studio monitoring, building on learnings and
technology from the SEO experience. The domestic mass
market continued to be out of the brand''s reach, on account
of MNCs and their cheaper products, high volumes and wafer-thin
in its specialised niche, Sonodyne is present in most
Bollywood studios and All India Radio stations, various
cinema halls, restaurants, auditoriums, and retail chains.
In the installed sound segment, the London and Sydney
Opera houses, the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, and
a host of other establishments rely on Sonodyne equipment.
SEO continues to be the breadwinner for the brand, bring
in 70 per cent of its revenues.
company now has three "Listening Rooms" in Bangalore,
Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and is looking to expand its retail
footprint in Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad over the
next two years, during which time it plans to open 20
outlets, with some of them being based on the franchisee
also see : Other
reports on Advertising/Branding