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Never sounded better: Klipsch & Associates Inc. of Hope introduces two more lines of speakers.

There's a musical at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

What does the audience hear?

According to Woody Jackson, the audience hears "symphonic sound" created by speakers made at Hope.

Jackson, the president of Klipsch & Associates Inc. since 1988, says Klipsch speakers can be found in 22 countries.

The company began building its reputation in 1947. With 200 employees, Klipsch consistently exceeds $20 million in annual sales.

Paul Klipsch, the company's founder, is a fan of symphony orchestras. He began experimenting with speakers in the late 1920s in an attempt to recreate what he heard in symphony halls.

As a student in electrical engineering at California's Stanford University in the 1930s, Klipsch began even more serious efforts to reproduce concert sound. By 1942, Klipsch had received his first patent on the "Klipschorn." Jackson says it continues to be the company's flagship line.

Although Klipsch speakers can be found in such famous locations as Radio City Music Hall, Jackson says home entertainment speakers, not industrial speakers, make up the vast majority of the company's business.

"Ninety percent of our business is in home entertainment," Jackson says.

The New Lines

Klipsch is enhancing its home entertainment series with two new lines of speakers.

The "Tangent" line was introduced to overseas military markets and select U.S. markets last year. The speaker, available in five models priced from $299 to $799, features a cabinet made from vinyl rather than wood.

"Vinyl cabinetry makes this line more affordable for servicemen," Jackson says.

Klipsch also has designed a line of "Architectural" speakers.

"People who purchase hi-fi products are buying them from a lifestyle standpoint as well as a performance standpoint," Jackson says. "Fewer people want to see speakers on the floor. They want them to blend in with the room."

Klipsch is not the first company to design a speaker that can fit into the wall of a room, but it may be the first to use horn-loaded speakers in such a way. The Klipsch "Architectural" line will go on the market this month.

Jay Tucker, owner of Custom Audio & Video of Little Rock, has been a Klipsch dealer for two decades. He says the "Architectural" line will "probably get a large percentage" of the store's business. Klipsch is Tucker's best-selling brand of speakers.

Few Arkansas retailers carry Klipsch speakers. Jackson says Paul Klipsch traditionally has maintained a small dealer network in order to maintain high customer service levels.

"Paul always says the finest speaker in the world will sit on a shelf forever without an active and knowledgeable dealer," Jackson says.

Although Paul Klipsch, 87, no longer owns the company, he continues to serve as a technical and marketing consultant. Klipsch sold the company to his cousin, Fred Klipsch, in 1989.
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Title Annotation:stereo speakers
Author:Harper, Kim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Mar 9, 1992
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