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Q+A – Firat Akin, Istanbul Telesine

Seeking superlative sound. A demand for higher-quality audio is driving the Turkish installation business forward, says Istanbul Telesine’s system designer/ product manager.

A demand for higher-quality audio is driving the Turkish installation business forward, says Istanbul Telesine’s system designer/ product manager.

Founded in 1989, Istanbul Telesine incorporates four specific business units with interests in audiovisual distribution and installation. A prominent player in Turkey and beyond, the company currently employs 15 people and has distribution responsibilities for brands including Meyer Sound and Martin Professional.

As an installer, the company is active in many different venue types, including auditoria, nightclubs and bars. It recently completed work on a major audio system installation based around Meyer Sound M’elodie line array speakers at the MTN Theatre in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

The California-based manufacturer’s products are also playing a pivotal role in an ongoing project at the refurbished AKM Istanbul Opera and Ballet House.

How did you come to be working at Istanbul Telesine?

My background is in the recording studio world. I spent quite a few years as an engineer in recording studios, before eventually jumping across to the live arena. I really got into the live sound world, and even dug into my savings to go on a four-month live sound engineering course.

Eventually, I decided it was time for a further change and came to work at Istanbul Telesine on system design and product management. I have been working for the company for two years now. I don’t personally get involved in the hands-on installation work, but I provide all the necessary information – specification, rigging points, angles, etc. Once the installation is complete, I go on site to make the final adjustments.

To what extent has the Turkish installation business been affected by the global economic crisis?

Of course, the country has been affected by the changes in the world economy, but the situation in the installation business is definitely not as bad as we had expected. Part of the reason for this is that Istanbul will be the European Capital of Culture in 2010, and a lot of new projects are being commissioned in advance of that. The government and various organisations are financing a lot of major installations, and that is good news for our industry.

For Istanbul Telesine specifically, I am happy to report that we are as busy as we were last year. Business is really good and we have lots of major projects going on, including the refurbished AKM opera house in Istanbul. This is being equipped with a Meyer Sound system and the installation is now in its final stages. It should be complete in early 2010. We are also working on some installations in nightclubs, restaurants, small conference halls, etc. There are plenty of those sorts of installations in the pipeline.

In what ways are install customers’ expectations of audio systems changing?

There is a real drive towards better quality systems. This change in customer behaviour has become very apparent during the past couple of years. The number of customers who are prioritising quality over price is increasing all the time. Meyer Sound equipment is not inexpensive, but it is becoming more and more attractive to customers seeking high-quality systems. Coupled with the high number of installations that we are working on, this makes us very optimistic for 2010. Are more customers demanding networked solutions? Yes, an increasing number of customers are interested in having a networked installation, so clearly we are paying close attention to that and the general trend towards integration. But, above and beyond everything, there is this great demand for quality sound.

What does the future hold for Firat Akin? Any unrealised career ambitions?

No, I am very happy to carry on with my work here at Istanbul Telesine. I’m part of a great team with lots of shared interests; my boss is an engineer so there is a great rapport there. The business is growing continually thanks to our installation interests and distribution responsibilities – in addition to Meyer Sound, we work with Martin Professional and Digidesign, among several other major AV brands.

We also have a manufacturing side, and that is doing well. All in all, it’s a very dynamic time for us and for the Turkish installation business as a whole. From where I stand right now, I see exciting times ahead!

Firat Akin was talking to David Davies.