Recently, RBH Sound‘s new owner Todd Stewart sat down with CE Pro to discuss how he became interested in purchasing the company, the company’s new goals, and more.
How did the opportunity to purchase the company come up?
My son rented space next door to RBH for his cabinet shop. RBH was excited to have a cabinet shop with a CNC [computer numeric control machine] next door that could help produce speaker cabinets. So they decided to befriend us. Roger [B. Hassing] had owned and operated RBH for 43 years and was ready to retire.
We thought, why not let us takeover since we had equipment that made a good match? They demonstrated one of their speakers and I literally got tears in my eyes. The clarity blended with musicality was amazing. I thought I owned a really good pair of speakers but, little did I know how much better music could be.
From that point I was hooked on RBH and knew I wanted to be a part of the legacy. And, now that I have attended CEDIA Expo and have heard the competition, I know how special our products really are.
What goals do you have for RBH?
The initial goals are to restock our inventory and be ready to support our dealers. We also want to market to the world to let them know the little guy is still around but with a bigger roar. Additionally, we want to design leading-edge technology, U.S.-made speakers that rival any out there.
How important is it for you to work with the staff that you inherited?
The staff that inherited me has been amazing. Half with 25 years with the company and the other half with 15. RBH must be a great place to work, but it is more than that. They truly love what they produce. A real family that has healthy differences of opinion that keeps us strong. I constantly remind them they are the meat on the bones of the company. They make it what it is.
Shane [Rich, vice president of engineering] has the best set of ears any speaker designer could have. With the cabinet shop just next door and our design software, the enthusiasm to create new designs is stimulating. I constantly wonder what else could be created in the already high-tech world of audio. We are doing it with the speakers we introduced at CEDIA Expo, and I got to see firsthand people coming to the booth to see who was responsible for the unbelievably good music.
Where do you think RBH fits into the consumer audio market?
RBH has for many years received numerous accolades for the performance, quality and value of our freestanding speakers. Today, more people want their speakers to be hidden away and this is where RBH is intently focused. Since the mid-1980s, RBH’s custom installation products have allowed freestanding performance to be integrated into décor in a way that satisfies audibly and visually.
A prime example of our custom integration focus is the SI-831R, which takes our award-winning SVTR and aptly places that same performance behind an acoustically transparent screen.
What excites you most about today’s audio market?
Personally, I’m excited to see where wireless technology takes us and how we can leverage it to produce products that not only perform well, but also make our lives easier in some way.
What are your dealer relation goals?
Dealers are our most important asset. We try to support them as much as we can, and we try to protect them. We want to help them understand the product better so they can provide audio solutions that make their customers happy.
In an effort to keep our existing dealers and attract new ones, we are strengthening our inventory, updating our website with more relevant information, and educating our dealers with in-depth product videos.
What ideals do you want to set for the company?
Our company motto is “Redefining the Way You Experience Sound.” To that end, my desire for RBH is to let people know our products are different. These aren’t just speakers, they’re part of a lifestyle — a culture of striving for something better than the norm. To have an experience redefined can be life-altering. It was for me