SpeakerCraft


SpeakerCraft

Infobox_Company
company_name = SpeakerCraft
company_
company_type = Private
foundation = 1976
location = Riverside, California
key_people = Ed Haase, Founder
Jeremy Burkhardt, President, Brand Co-Founder
Dave Donald, VP of Marketing
Jeff Francisco, VP of Engineering
Jason markley, Director Retail Sales
Rick Schnell, VP of Finance industry = Audio
products = Loudspeakers, Home audio, Architectural speakers, Home cinema, Theater electronics, Theater control systems
homepage = [http://www.speakercraft.com/ www.speakercraft.com]

SpeakerCraft is a manufacturer of custom-installed audio/video and home theater products based in Riverside, California.

History

SpeakerCraft, America's original manufacturer of in-wall speakers and custom install retail store and manufacturing company was founded in 1976 by Edward Haase, Ken Humphreys and Eugene Humphreys.http://www.speakercraft.com/#About%20Us:3:Our%20History] Beginning as a retail stereo store and original equipment manufacturer of loudspeakers for companies such as Niles, Bang and Olufsen, JBL and Polk Audio, and many others the company evolved into a designer and installer of custom audio systems. In 1988 Humphreys sold his interest to Jeff King, Sr. Jeff Francisco managed the custom installation business and retail store where he studied product development and developed custom systems for the company. In 1994, Ed Haase, Jeff King and Jeremy Burkhardt founded The SpeakereCraft Brand of architectural loudspeakers as a line of high-end custom speakers, they were set on making a new brand for the CEDIA market place. Haase and King took on Burkhardt as a partner. Haase was the engineer, King the operations and finance guy, Burkhardt The Director of Marketing and the Salesman. From 1994 to 2000 this team invented and patented products, grew the brand and took marketshare. The guiding principles of providing the best sounding products for the money, 100% retailer [www.altavox.se/docs/sid4_insidetrack_2004.pdf ] satisfaction programs and the CEDIA industries firstlifetime warranty were founded here and stand to this day. Burkhardt and a team of investors bought out Haase and King for 15 million dollars, with Haase and King exiting the company in 2000. Burkhardt remained with the company leveraging his ownership with new partners Kinsman Capital, Jim Munn and Bob Cavasos. This team up lead to the fastest growth in company history Munn's business background and Kinsman's [www.twice.com/article/CA374125.html ] access to capital vaulted SpeakerCraft to the number one position in the industry. Burkhardt, Francisco, Management and Kinsman Capitol sold SpeakerCraft again in 2004 to Nortek,Inc, for 58 million dollars [http://www.cepro.com/article/qa_jeremy_burkhardt_speakercraft/ Q&A: Jeremy Burkhardt, SpeakerCraft - CE Pro Magazine Article ] ] Munn and Cavasos steped out and Burkhardt [ [http://www.avhub.com.au/Features.aspx?MagazineID=4 AVHub - Sound & Image - Features - Learning the Craft ] ] remained as a 32 year old with a vision for growth seeing the ipod as grounds for SpeakerCraft's future in distributing audio through the home. [ [http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/audiovideo/2149/speakercraft-mode-multiroom-audio-system.html Sound & Vision Magazine - SpeakerCraft MODE Multiroom Audio System ] ] . Selected by CE PRO magazine as a top ten industry leader Burkhardt again leveraged his ownership and became an owner in Nortek, Inc and was promoted to company CEO. Since 1994 SpeakerCraft has reinvented its self based on a common vision of innovation, best of class products, business training and close partnerships with their retailers. Burkhardt has lead this charge and is relentless in the industry for speaking his mind about running a great business and providing the best customer service possible. SpeakerCraft continues taking marketshare, SpeakerCraft is one of the largest in-wall speaker company in the world. The company currently produces more than 1000 products, which include loudspeakers, amplifiers, ipod multi-room music distribution systems, and accessories that allow for various system configurations and sizes. SpeakerCraft's Patented AIM series of speakers is known to have changed the industry by allowing Home Theater to be installed in the ceiling. AIM is available in ceiling and wall versions, these were patented by Haase, Francisco and Burkhardt are the largest advancments in architectural speakers. In 2007 Haase returned to SpeakerCraft as Chief technical Officer, due to his bad hearing Haase resigned. Developing some of the finest SpeakerCraft inventions Haase is known as the man that invented the in-wall speaker. [ In 2008 SpeakerCraft released the first iPhone interface allowing consumers to control whole house audio from their iPhone's. [http://svconline.com/mag/avinstall_inwall_speakers/ In-Wall Speakers ] ]

Early research

Ken Humphreys and Edward Haase developed a series of architectural speakers, speakers that use the structure of a building as the “cabinet”, at the request of Fleetwood Enterprises of Riverside, California, which wanted to incorporate high-end speakers in its motor homes without taking up much space. Their first experiment with replacing bulky box speakers was a speaker featuring an in-wall mounted woofer, a loudspeaker used to produce low-pitch sounds. [ [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/woofer woofer - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ] ] They then tested the feasibility of using walls and ceilings as alternatives for speaker cabinets all experimenting was done with anechoic chambers, microphones, and wall enclosures. Soon Humphreys and Haase reproduced the high quality sound produced by large, space-consuming box speakers in flush-mounted architectural speakers. Much of this early work was done in conjunction with Sonance (Dana Innovations) and both companies are credited with many early developments for architectural speakers.

[ [http://www.cepro.com/article/burkhardt_industry_leaders_tell_integrators_whats_next/ Burkhardt, Industry Leaders Tell Integrators What’s Next - CE Pro Article ] ] [ [http://www.cepro.com/article/13_invaluable_marketing_tips/ 13 Invaluable Marketing Tips - CE Pro Magazine Article ] ] [ [http://svconline.com/mag/avinstall_inwall_speakers/ In-Wall Speakers ] ] [ [http://www.ehxweb.com/news/1560.html Electronic House Expo § EHX Spring 2005 Opening Keynote to Spotlight Industry Leaders ] ]

Proprietary technologies

Architectural speakers

SpeakerCraft’s first innovation was the development of the architectural speaker. Architectural speakers are built into either walls or ceilings and use the structure of the wall or ceiling as the “cabinet” to enhance performance. Components of an architectural speaker include the driver (actual speaker), cross-over (which sends the correct frequencies to the correct driver), and termination point (which is where the speaker wires connect to the frame). Driver configurations typically consist of two or three drivers that provide for the playback of the bass (low frequencies), the midrange (mid-level frequencies), and tweeter (high frequency) signals. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudspeaker]

AIM

To overcome the directional limitations of in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, Haase invented and patented the AIM speaker technology fully represented in SpeakerCraft’s directional in-ceiling loudspeakers. AIM speakers pivot in a patented ball-and-socket arrangement toward the listener while recessed in the ceiling. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:24:AIM8%20Five]

TIME

TIME (Theater In Motion Experience) Series speakers are flush-mounted ceiling speakers that descend and rotate to direct sound to different positions in the room. This type of “directable” speaker was first invented by SpeakerCraft in response to customer demand for customizable sound configurations. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:80:TIME%20Five]

WavePlane

SpeakerCraft invented the WavePlane, a baffle that isolates the tweeter from the woofer in a coaxial ceiling speaker, which results in improved high frequency dispersion and fidelity. [ [http://www.hometheatermag.com/inwallspeakers/1003inwall/index1.html Home Theater: 1003inwall ] ] [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:60:Products:%20CRS8%20Four] [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:429:Products:%20WavePlane]

MODE

Music On Demand Experience or MODE is an audio control system that connects the Apple iPod to a house-wide music system.

Current product lines

In-ceiling

In-ceiling speakers are a type of architectural speaker designed to flush-mount into the ceiling of a structure. SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers include TIME and AIM Series, CRS, and DT. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:293:In-Ceiling%20Overview]

In-wall

In-wall speakers are a type of architectural speaker designed to flush-mount into the wall of a structure. SpeakerCraft in-wall speakers include AIM LCR, AIM7 MT, The Rogue, AIM Cinema, AIM Cinema Dipole, AIMLCR3, and AccuFit IW7. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:294:In-Wall%20Overview]

ubwoofers

Subwoofers are loudspeakers designed to respond to only the lowest acoustic frequencies. [ [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/subwoofer subwoofer - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ] ] SpeakerCraft’s subwoofers include powered compact subwoofers, passive in-ceiling subwoofers, powered floor subwoofers, and powered in-wall subwoofers.http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:296:Box%20Speaker%20Overview]

Box speakers

Box speakers are speakers with their own integrated cabinet (compare with architectural speakers). SpeakerCraft box speaker products include AIM Monitor and AIM MDU.

Outdoor speakers

SpeakerCraft’s Outdoor Elements (OE) and Rox lines are specialized box speakers meant to be used outdoors. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:297:Outdoor%20Speaker%20Overview]

Control systems

Control systems are a variety of remotes and keypads that allow the users to operate their speaker systems. SpeakerCraft control systems include MODE, Multi Zone Controllers, EZ-Pad System, and SmartPath. [http://www.speakercraft.com/#Products:301:Control%20Systems%20Overview]

Market share

SpeakerCraft competes with major brands in the home audio and home theater markets such as the following:
*Paradigm Electronics
*JBL
*Klipsch
*TruAudio
*Snell
*Triad
*Def Tech
*NHT

Opinions about SpeakerCraft

SpeakerCraft is viewed by trade publications and magazines as a niche producer of audio equipment on par in quality and price with Klipsch and JBL, but has been distinguished from its competitors for its innovation and ability to adapt to and incorporate new technologies such as Apple’s iPod. [ [http://www.cepro.com/article/ce_pro_names_high_impact_products_of_the_year/ Press Release: CE Pro Names High Impact Products of the Year - CE Pro Article ] ] [ [http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/audiovideo/2149/speakercraft-mode-multiroom-audio-system-page4.html Sound and Vision Magazine - SpeakerCraft MODE Multiroom Audio System ] ]

Criticism

Consumers have criticized SpeakerCraft for the cost of its products [ [http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7813_102-0.html?forumID=60&threadID=193848&messageID=2096313&tag=reldisc speakercraft - CNET Home audio & video Forums ] ] and for its lack of technical support [ [http://www.techmall.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2019 Smarthome Forum - Speakercraft MZC66 Install Question ] ] . However, audiophiles also praise SpeakerCraft for its lifetime warranty on products [ [http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?forum=hug&n=13993&highlight=SpeakerCraft&r=&session= High Efficiency Speaker Asylum ] ] and the quality of its product design, features, and sound. [ [http://www.hometheatermag.com/inwallspeakers/605speakercraft/ Home Theater: SpeakerCraft Starlet 4 In-Wall Loudspeakers ] ] [ [http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7813_102-0.html?forumID=60&threadID=98802&messageID=1154936&tag=reldisc speakercraft - CNET Home audio & video Forums ] ]

Legal action

In 1995, Dana Innovations (Sonance) sued SpeakerCraft for infringement of patents on a method of retrofitting a wall to mount speakers. The speaker mounting system Sonance claimed to have patented was in fact largely invented by the SpeakerCraft partner Ken Humphreys as is evidenced by his name as an inventor. This invention is composed of a bracket attached by screws through the wall to the speaker support. The speaker is then wedged between the bar and the support surface in a hole in the wall, resulting in the speaker being flush-mounted to the wall. SpeakerCraft moved for a summary judgment of invalidity. The district court of California held that the patents were invalid because they were anticipated by an in-wall speaker offered by Boston Acoustics Inc. more than a year prior to the application dates of each patent. The U.S. Court of Appeals held that the patents were not anticipated by the Boston Acoustics product and reversed the district court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. The circuit court affirmed the district court’s decision. [Dana Innovations v. SpeakerCraft, Inc. (1996) 107 F.3d 30, Unpublished opinion]

SpeakerCraft then developed Mounting System 540040014, which eliminated the need for the separate bracket used in the Sonance design.

External links

* [http://www.speakercraft.com The official SpeakerCraft Web site]
* [http://www.avhub.com.au/Features.aspx?MagazineID=4 SpeakerCraft Company Story 2007]
* [http://www.hometheatermag.com/inwallspeakers/1003inwall/index1.html Home Theater magazine AIM Four review]
* [http://www.m-w.com Merriam-Webster online dictionary]
* [http://www.cepro.com/article/ce_pro_names_high_impact_products_of_the_year/ CE Pro magazine’s Products of the Year list for 2007]
* [http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/audiovideo/2149/speakercraft-mode-multiroom-audio-system-page4.html Sound and Vision magazine’s review of MODE]

References


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