Interviews

Interview: Tony Martin, manager of industrial design at Klipsch

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Tony Martin is an industrial designer at Klipsch. Over the course of his career, he has spent more than 10 years transforming ideas into products and today is manager of industrial design for Klipsch Group, Inc. He works on a wide variety of projects, including designing headphones, soundbars and speakers. 

What is your role at Klipsch?

I am the manager of industrial design. Our team of product designers create initial concept artwork for potential products, then help to define the form, fit and finish of each speaker or pair of headphones as it is developed and then manufactured.

Is it a natural process to wed traditional hi-fi with wireless and multiroom technologies?

Everything we do at Klipsch is in the realm of traditional Hi-Fi. We have stayed true to the sound principles our founder Paul W. Klipsch established in 1946. The key to adding wireless and multi-room technology ensures that we view the product through the lens of traditional Hi-Fi and stay true to our legendary audio heritage. This is the reason the materials and details on the exterior are heavily rooted in Hi-Fi, and the technology exists on the interior.

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Do you think wireless connection is the future of hi-fi?

We always want to improve upon and deliver the ultimate sound experience. Wireless connectivity allows the user to easily access and control content from their device to our speakers. Any technology that can improve the customer experience will find a place in the future of Hi-Fi.

How long have you been working on the release of connected speakers like the Klipsch The One, The Three, and The Sixes?

About 18 months from early concepts to initial launch of the product.

How important is the design aspect to the creation process of the Heritage series of connected speakers?

Speaking as a designer, the design aspect is very important. We have gained an immense amount of material knowledge from our Heritage series products. We used this knowledge for veneer {wood species}, grille cloth and control selection. The controls themselves took on a life of their own, in that they became a tactile experience and had to be simple to understand and use. Despite the amount of wireless technology inside, a consumer is able to control the speaker with relative ease.

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What was the reason behind launching a special edition series of “Capitol Record” speakers?

These two iconic brands united to celebrate over seven decades of bringing the power, detail, and emotion of live music to life and into homes. Capitol is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and Klipsch is at 71 years. In essence, the Heritage wireless speakers take familiar design elements from our most well-known, legendary Heritage speakers and add wireless technology. Part of the Capitol Records anniversary was to look back at their history and highlight its diverse array of music and artists. It is a natural partnership.

The Heritage wireless speakers put the vinyl record at the heart of the audio system, do you have any projects related to turntables?

Our focus is audio. With the Heritage Wireless speakers, we added components such as an integrated phono pre-amp and analog inputs for use with turntables. Ultimately, we want customers to easily access and enjoy their music collection, regardless of the media.

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Your first connected speakers integrate DTS Play-Fi technology: are you planning to also integrate Chromecast Built-in technology?

We are keeping a close eye on wireless technologies, including Chromecast.

Can we expect voice-control-enabled Klipsch products in the near future?

We are looking at all voice technologies and how they seamlessly work with our connected products.

On a more personal note, can you tell us about your audio installation?

My current setup uses our wireless speakers to create a whole home audio system. There is a Klipsch RSB-14 soundbar in my family room, a Heritage Wireless The Three speaker in the kitchen, and a pair of The Sixes speakers in an office that are linked into the wireless ecosystem via a Klipsch PowerGate.  

Lastly, what is your most memorable musical moment?

In 2005, I saw Tony Bennet in concert. He was amazing. He finished the show with “The Best Is Yet To Come”, followed by a full-spin dance move next to the piano. He was 78 at the time. Needless to say, the crowd went wild.

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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