Tag’s New Collingwood HQ and Training Centre
Hipsters, craft beer, and Q-SYS Training on tap
Opening during last year’s Integrate tradeshow and perfected since, TAG’s new multi-storey Collingwood complex is home to a slick and flexible training room built to service the industry as a whole, including the insatiable market for QSC’s Q-SYS.
It’s refreshing to visit the office of a major AV supplier that isn’t in a distant industrial estate. Easey St in Collingwood is as inner-northern Melbourne as it gets. Right next door, the famous train carriages on the roof that house Easey’s burger joint provide Insta-perfect photo ops.
The neighbourhood is thick with graphic designers, web gurus, fashion, art, design and other creatives. TAG’s building blends right in with typical Melbourne understatement – industrial look, tiny signage, and effortless cool.
Inside you’ll find the office that houses TAG’s Melbourne staff, including National Sales Manager & Q-SYS Product Manager Giles Brading, and Q-SYS System Design & Support Specialist Jason Foord.
The centre of the operation is the beautifully and functionally fitted out training room on level two – Swiss-made tables and chairs, touch panels and QSC cores on every desk, QSC and Martin Audio speakers on swivel mounts around the room, great lighting, and city views.
It’s designed to be reconfigured at the touch of a button to deliver training across TAG’s brands, including QSC’s Q-SYS, Allen & Heath, Audio-Technica, and Martin Audio.
“We needed a space in Melbourne that could deliver training to the same standard as our space in Sydney,” explains Giles Brading. “That’s partly because of the scale of activity in the industry here in Melbourne, and partly because of its sheer density of AV consultants.
“Since we opened, we’ve had both integrators and consultants coming in for Level 1 Q-SYS training. We’ve got a great ‘Lunch n Learn’ programme that we host in the room and it’s all just easy.
“We’re 12 minutes on a tram from the city, and Jason has got all of the infrastructure in the room to the point where you just walk in, press a button, and get on with what you’re doing.”
Easey Street has already hosted the big guns of AV integration for hands on Q-SYS training; Engie, Rutledge, Corporate Initiatives, and Fredon. Hospitality installers working across restaurants, pubs, and clubs have also been through the doors.
“We’ve had a total cross section of the AV industry come by for training,” elaborates Giles. “While you can do Q-SYS Level 1 training online, a lot of people prefer to come in and do it in a classroom environment, which we feel is the best way to learn anyway.
“We offer Q-SYS Level 1, 2, and 201 here, with 201 being the control-focussed programming training. We’re seeing a lot of Crestron and AMX programmers coming in for that, many of whom may not have looked at Q-SYS up to this point.
“What we find interesting is that 64% of our Q-SYS cores shipped out last year with a UCI license, which means they were going to installs where they were going to be controlled by a user interface, be that QSC’s panels, an iPad, computer, or third-party hardware.”
Anyone working with AoIP, distributed audio, and DSP has noticed QSC’s increasing presence in the field, as they have relentlessly innovated out of their HQ in Boulder, Colorado.
Uptake of the range has spread across the board, from basic audio distribution installations right up to heavily featured integrated solutions.
The biggest install in Australia in 2019 was at Melbourne’s own MCG, where Q-SYS’s revolutionary software-based platform is delivered on a redundant pair of Dell servers with audio ins and outs via QSC’s I/O-8 Flex Channel Expanders and CXD-Q networked amplifiers.
The amount of plug-ins being created to control third-party devices via Q-SYS is constantly growing. Whether it’s a Shure MXA910 ceiling mic array or Atlona video switcher, tools are available in the Q-SYS Designer software, created to QSC’s standards and managed with updates and improvements.
Interesting synergies are afoot, with QSC recently acquiring Attero Tech, who manufacture a huge range of ‘Swiss Army Knife’ networked AV widgets, including wall panels, converters, and extenders. ‘Attero Tech by QSC’ products are expected soon in 2020.
So why should an AV professional take time out of their work schedule to come to TAG in Collingwood for training? “Do it for the catering!” jokes Giles.
“But the reality is that professionals need to make sure they’ve informed themselves about all the options, whether they use the product in the end or not.
It’s not going to cost anything to attend, bar your time out of your workplace. There’s a level of knowledge our staff can impart, whether on a deep technical level, or a sales architect level, that helps people understand how a system goes together. It’s always beneficial.”
For all training enquiries, contact Giles and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
CX Magazine – February 2020
LIGHTING | AUDIO | VIDEO | STAGING | INTEGRATION
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