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Industry Audio Pioneer Bill Hecht, 89, Dies

Bill Hecht, who founded United Speaker Systems in 1955 and patented the soft dome tweeter in 1967, passes away at age 89.


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Industry audio pioneer Bill Hecht has passed away at age 89.

Based in East Orange, N.J., Bill started building speakers in 1955 when he designed and built a corner horn that got a great reaction during an audio fair at the New Yorker Hotel. The orders soon followed, but Hecht “could only build one per week,” he recalls.

The following year he formed United Speaker Systems and by 1959 was “almost broke” when he got a contract to build speakers for Avery Fisher. “I built them in my factory for $46 apiece and sold 10,000 in the first year,” he told CE Pro back in 2006.

Other significant milestones in the company’s history include the patent for the first soft-dome tweeter (first built in 1963 and patented in 1967).

“It’s the biggest change in the audio industry,” says Hecht told CE Pro humbly. “Until then, no one ever thought a soft dome could ever be anything more than mid-range.”

That patent expired in 1984. Over the years the company has also OEMed speakers for Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony, Dyneco, Kenwood, Bogen and JC Penney.

The company became Phase Technology in 1981 and moved to Jacksonville in 1982. For many years, Phase Tech, which is run by Bill's son Ken today and is part of MSE Audio, built its own coils and even had a wood shop in house to construct its speaker housings. Today, Phase Tech is known now for its Digital Audio Reference Theater System (dARTS).

Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 14 in Jacksonville, Fla.




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Article Topics

News · Audio · Speakers · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

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