NHT Emerges Yet Again
Throughout the course of history, innumerable languages and cultures have been lost to us and forgotten, unable to survive in an environment where they were either co-opted by larger forces or simply ignored into oblivion. In the short history of home tech, there are many similar stories. Names like SAE, Apogee and Garrard are only a few immediate examples of innovative CE companies that for one reason or another did not stand the test of time.
With so much competition in the loudspeaker business, Now Hear This, better known as NHT, might by all rights have been another such ad-dition to the dustbin of tech history. Since starting out as the brainchild of current General Manager Chris Byrne and design guru Ken Kantor in 1986, the small, Benicia, California-based manufacturer has seen the gamut, from hot startup to fast-track growth path, from an acquisition by a much larger parent company to eventual sell-off to another much larger parent company. In its 17 years of operation, the bus-iness itself has weathered much, but through it all, NHT's products have kept the company alive and well via an unwavering and often fanatical popularity with music lovers and audiophiles of almost every stripe.
Now under the umbrella of Rockford-Fosgate after being sold off by Recoton in late 2002, NHT is in the enviable position of being able to reinvent itself in its own image, only this time, from a position of strength. According to Byrne, the plan is to build on what the company has always been able to accomplish. "We've always been an application-oriented company," he says. "One of the reasons why we've done well is that we've always taken rifle shots. We've never designed products to meet a price point, or done a good-better-best assortment. We try to look at usage — where things have to go and how they would sound best there. That's what has sepa-rated us from the competition, both for the end user and the installer."