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What's next for Acoustic Frontiers?
by Nyal MellorAugust 18, 2011
We're gearing up for a big rest of 2011 and 2012. I wanted to share with you some of the details of the things we are working on to whet your appetite.
Overall company strategy:
All of these are related to increasing customer satisfaction and making Acoustic Frontiers a hub for high end audio and home theater acoustics
Increase average job size. I want to work on 12 or so big projects per year and do a fantastic job on them, significantly increasing sound quality for my high end audio and home theater customers.
Provide basic Home Theater custom integration capabilities. By bringing on some very carefully selected sub-contractors we will be in a position to offer single room control device programming, rack installation, low voltage wiring and in-wall speaker installation.
Offer more Home Theater product lines. At least one other subwoofer vendor, a couple of home theater pre-pro options, some control options and mounting fixtures.
Become the US center for DEQX. I've got some big plans in the works for making a real community around the DEQX HDP-Express and HDP-3. I like what Parts Express has done with their community and feel that DEQX need to gear themselves more toward the DIY segment and away from their failed OEM work.
Create a world class Acoustics University. I'd like to be able to provide a set of training videos that can take a complete acoustics newbie and teach them about how important the room is in producing high quality sound. I like the 30 day challenge type approach and seeing as that has worked so effectively, I think the core of it is worth replicating.
Drive industry thought leadership. Jeff Hedback, of HdAcoustics and I have been working on a game changing white paper describing the acoustical targets for high end audio reproduction. It's going to be be published though our websites as well as a couple of online publications.
New marketing plans:
Increase referrals from other custom integrators and high end audio stores. A peer group of companies who are the NEW face of home theater and high end audio supporting each other in making sense of how to connect with the customer and move the needle in the age of Best Buy and internet retailing.
Demo at a couple of consumer shows. I want to showcase what is possible from an unconventional (my) approach to sound reproduction. What is up with the high end audio community? Why on earth we are still stuck in passive crossover box speaker land is quite beyond me.
A revamped blog. I'm thinking four articles per month covering: 1) company news - what's new with Acoustic Frontiers 2) education - an indepth article examining one facet of acoustic measurements, calibration or acoustic treatment 3) response - to provide context to another blogger or industry news story 4) opinion - something controversial that provides more insight into our philosophy and what's wrong with what most other companies are doing
New product development:
I'm working on a Subwoofer EQ system. There is a definite need in the marketplace for a parametric EQ system that can work with multiple subwoofers. With the trend for using two, three and four subwoofers in home theater systems the 'Sub EQ' will allow each sub to be setup with 6 individual bands of parametric EQ as well as time delay and polarity. You'll be able to set up the DSP via software that you can run on OSX or Windows
New product offerings:
We are now representing Pro Audio Technology (PRO), a company formally known as Professional Home Cinema (PHC). They have a low marketing profile but their products are out of this world. They've been used in a lot of Hollywood private screening rooms and installed in a number of celebrities homes. What's different about PRO? Well, they use compression drivers, digital active crossovers and DSP, that's what! Constant directivity is a hot speaker design at the moment amongst the DIY community thanks to the significant advances in compression driver and horn technology over the last 5 years. PRO SCR-12Hearing our first PRO system, in a dedicated home theater in Atherton, CA, was one of those rare audio epiphanies when you realize your whole concept of what is reference level reproduction has been reset. And I wasn't even listening to their top of the range setup either....we don't have a demo system, and don't have room for one either, but I am working on a 'mobile home theater demo system' concept to see if I can bring these products out into the world. They could even compete and maybe better the Geddes Abbey / Nathan / Summa line (which are on a 6 month + waiting list BTWPRO SCR-15sm
USB to SPDIF converters. We are also now signed on with AudioPhileo. This company makes THE BEST USB to SPDIF converter out there. More to come on this, but if you are looking into computer audio or even have an existing USB or Firewire DAC you'd be stupid not to give this device a whirl. I actually sold my Weiss DAC2 after hearing that this unit, plugged into the Weiss's SPDIF input, produced better sound quality than using the firewire input. Yes I know it shouldn't work like this but it did. The reason, I think, is the exceptionally low phase noise characteristics of the unit...we have demo units of both the AP1 and the AP2 so if you want a in-home trial just let us know.
What do you think? I would really like to hear your thoughts on how we might explore more of the frontiers of acoustics - please leave a comment below!