I recently sat down with Tom Hannaher, CEO and Founder of ZVOX Audio, to talk about the company’s history, affordable pricing and the revolutionary AccuVoice TV Speaker.
Maureen Jenson: I have been a fan of ZVOX speakers for a long time. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your company’s history?
Tom Hannaher: For 15 years, ZVOX has been disrupting the business of TV audio. We created what CNET calls the first commercially successful soundbar, then went on to develop the “soundbase.” Both of these categories revolutionized home theater sound. But our biggest breakthrough is our patented AccuVoice feature — which uses hearing aid technology to make dialogue crystal-clear, even at low volumes. No other company makes such a product.
It is hugely successful due to A) Decreasing sound quality built into TVs, B) Millions of baby boomers (the first generation to grow up with LOUD music) reaching “senior status” and C) An ongoing trend by Hollywood and TV audio mixers to focus on drama, not vocal clarity.
AccuVoice TV Speakers are consistently top-sellers in the soundbar category on Amazon. Over 135,000 AccuVoice Speakers have been sold. Later this year, ZVOX is poised to disrupt the $3 Billion hearing aid category by being the first audio company to segue into the hearing aid business with ZVOX VoiceBuds, which features the same features and technology found in $1,000-$1,600 per pair hearing aids, but at a much lower price.
MJ: Your speakers have always been so tonally accurate and high quality, at such an affordable price, …please tell us about some of the design that goes into a ZVOX speaker?
TH: ZVOX sound systems are engineered by Jarl Salmela, our VP of Product Development. Jarl is a 30 year veteran in the speaker business, having worked at ADS, MB Quart and Cambridge SoundWorks, where he worked with audio legend Henry Kloss. The ZVOX design philosophy is, in many ways, an extension of Henry Kloss’ approach. Henry and Jarl did pioneering work in early PC audio systems, using electronic contouring to make affordable speakers with “high end sound.” Jarl has perfected this design approach at ZVOX (Read the TAS mini review of our SB500 soundbar.) It turns out you don’t need to make speakers out of esoteric materials if they are meticulously designed — and paired with skillfully tuned internal amplifiers.
MJ: As you said earlier, you have been paying particular attention to audio for the hard of hearing….can you tell us some more about your AccuVoice TV Speaker?
TH: AccuVoice Speakers are, arguably, the most sophisticated loudspeakers ever made. Other speakers may use digital technology for various wireless connection schemes, but AccuVoice uses advanced algorithms to modify sound in ways that other manufacturers have not even imagined. Our patented design modifies sound dynamically using a wide variety of parameters, some of which have never been deployed outside of the audiology (hearing aid) arena. The result is almost magical — even for people with no hearing issues. If you’ve ever had to turn on closed captioning, or rewind your DVR, or ask the person next to you “What did he say?” — you should try an AccuVoice Speaker for a week. Then try living without it!
MJ: Where can our dealer/integrators readers find your speaker range?
TH: The Expert Warehouse division of BrandSource.
MJ: Why should retailers and integrators care about the AccuVoice TV Speaker?
TH: The AccuVoice TV speaker may not provide integrators with the margins they are used to with thousand dollar home entertainment systems, but it’s an easy product to sell to customers for their secondary and tertiary TVs. The speaker also helps address a major issue facing thousands of baby boomers and millennials; hearing loss is an epidemic among these two demographics. What better way to continue to build a relationship with your customer than to offer them a solution to a frustrating issue.