ZVOX Blog

39 Years Ago Best Buy Was Named After a Julie Andrews Movie, ZVOX Founder Had Full Head of Hair

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Sunday, November 21, 2010
In the "About Us" section on the ZVOX web site we point out that our company was started by industry veterans. Evidence in support of this claim comes in the form of this clipping from the Sound Advisor newsletter of September 1971. It shows me, smiling and with a remarkable amount of red hair, as one of several new employees of The Sound of Music, the Minnesota chain of stereo stores that later morphed into Best Buy. It says "Tom's specialties are communications and live recording. He has consistently displayed a real determined instinct in helping our customers find the equipment that's best for them."
I did, in fact, get into the audio business to support my live recording habit. Revox tape recorders and Shure ribbon microphones weren't cheap, so I got a part time job at a store that sold them. Within a couple of years I had been named Director of Advertising and was one of the top five people running the company when I left to join Advent Corporation in 1976. Many of the guys I worked with at Sound of Music -- including Dick Schulze and Brad Anderson -- went on to become multi-millionaires (or in Dick's case, multi-billionaire).
They were good people. Hard working and driven. The same was true at Advent, where Henry Kloss had built a company that magnetically attracted smart, interesting people with a passion for music, video and unorthodox, high-value products. Looking back, it seems odd that we actually manufactured speakers and big-screen TVs in a building across the street from MIT.

The audio business has changed a lot in 39 years. But we'll do our best to keep coming up with unorthodox high-value products.

Fast-Tech vs. Slow-Tech: Why We Don't Build BluRay Players Into Soundbar Systems

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Thursday, November 18, 2010
When we started ZVOX in 2003, one of our first ideas was to create a single-cabinet home theater system that included a DVD player. The idea was appealing because the product would save shelf space and reduce wiring needs. But it was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea now for one simple reason. "Fast-tech" products should not be integrated with "slow-tech" products.

Fast-tech products like Blu Ray players, Apple TV and Google TV are constantly changing. Buy one and a year later it's out-of-date and over-priced.

Slow-tech products like high quality speaker systems tend to be much more stable. An early ZVOX prototype system from 2003 is still in use in our founder's kitchen. And Henry Kloss enjoyed the same KLH stereo system for 40 years.

So if we had integrated a DVD player with a ZVOX system in 2003, the whole system (not just the old-technology DVD player) would now be out of date. By keeping our slow-tech ZVOX speakers separate from all those fast-tech products, we extend the useful life of our systems.
If you buy a ZVOX sound system today, it should continue to work well with your future electronic purchases for many years to come. That may not be good for our business, but it's good for you.

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