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PRO SOUND NEWS: Rat Sound enters install biz By Clive Young - From: Pro Sound News

Disclaimer: ICIA has republished this feature with the original grammar and spelling intact. ICIA reserves the right to modify the article for language or claims that may be offensive to competing companies.

SOURCE: March 2005 issue · POSTED: 04/29/05

OXNARD, Calif. -- To date, Rat Sound has been primarily known as a live-sound supplier catering primarily to alternative acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, AFI, The Offspring and so on. Now the Oxnard -based company is venturing into sales and installations.

While the company has quietly offered these services for a while, Rat Sound is now placing a stronger emphasis on them. "It is a totally different field which requires a lot of patience and knowledge," said Daniella Shepherd, head of sales and marketing, remarking on the process of assisting customers. "We are now expanding this facet of Rat Sound, as we had never really had the manpower or expertise to dedicate to this effort before."

That said, the company isn't jumping into the install market blindly, having completed installs in about a dozen venues; three more installations are currently underway. The variety of the installations speaks to the company's aim to appropriately recommend gear suitable to a job, rather than to take a "one size fits all" position. Some of Rat's more notable installs include the Glasshouse (Pomona) The El Rey Theater (Los Angeles) and the Bossanova (Portland, Ore.). "We also just completed a monitor upgrade of MicroWedges for the Ventura Theater," said Shepherd. "We have sold equipment to Bimbos 365 club in San Francisco; Lunars Pro Audio in Ventura for their install at the Chumash Casino; and the University of California Santa Barbara, which approached us to quote out an entire PA. Also, several independent contractors came to us to recommend and buy the gear they needed for their own installation projects, which included several churches along the West Coast."

Co-founder Dave Rat commented, "There are clients that know exactly what they want, and then there are clients that want advice and recommendations for their budgets and applications. We came to the realization that there was no better way to share our knowledge and experience."

Shepherd noted that while Rat sells a variety of brands such as Sennheiser, Mackie, Shure, Whirlwind, QSC, Littlite, Crest (and Radian MicroWedges, which Rat designed and licensed), it makes its recommendations on a case-by-case basis. "It depends on the application and the budget," she said. "A lot of clients come to us knowing exactly what they want; for those who don't, when we are asked to recommend, we take a good look at … their situation, budget and application."

If it sounds like a knowledgeable but relatively relaxed sales atmosphere, that seems to be exactly what the company intends. Rat explained, "I want Rat to be that friendly, helpful and honest pro sales company that I was searching for when I started 20 years ago."

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