By Kirsten Nelson On April 05, 2011
Stealth Acoustics Comes to a Boardroom Near You
COMPANY NAME: Stealth Acoustics
HEADQUARTERS: Mount Vernon, WA
HIGHLY VISIBLE: Stealth was founded by
Paul Hagman and Steve Olszewski (pictured)
of Dimensional Communications, an integrator
with 37 years of history in the commercial AV
Very often in this industry, product innovation arises from the
integration channel—whether it’s through custom products that
eventually make it into manufacturers’ catalogs, or enterprising
integrators who themselves go into hardware production. The latter
case is how 37-year AV veterans Paul Hagman and Steve Olszewski at
Dimensional Communications (DCI) in Mount
Vernon, WA launched Stealth Acoustics in
DCI’s experience as a systems integrator
fuels the product development and customer
service at Stealth. “We’re systems integrators
to the core, and we think that way—the way we treat our customers, the
way we handle inventory is based on how we’d like to be treated as an
integrator,” Olszewski emphasized.
Proof of its success in business lies in how Stealth prospered during
the recent economic downturn, its international business increasing so
rapidly that it now represents 41 percent of total revenues. The growth
brought about the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot production
and warehouse addition, doubling DCI and Stealth’s shared headquarters.
At its roots, Stealth was borne out of Hagman’s conviction that
he could improve upon invisible loudspeakers. Today, 10 generations
of product later, Stealth is working hard to create a great-sounding
speaker that happens to be invisible, rather than the other way around.
The company’s products were initially sold primarily into the
residential market and are still holding their own there, with growing
market share, but the latest generation of technology is well suited to
the commercial AV space, Olszewski said. “We’re at a point with our
speakers now where you could install them in a commercial venue and
be more than satisfied.”
By example, at the Stealth and DCI headquarters, the training
room boasts a 7.1-channel surround system comprised of Stealth’s
invisible speakers. The center channel is hidden in a wall painted with
a projection screen surface. Rear sub panels are made with a wood
veneer panel to blend into millwork. A new conference room currently
under construction also will include a rear-projection setup with a
5.1-channel Stealth surround system.
The move from in-wall to freestanding speakers was not taken lightly, but the audiophile engineering team at Stealth
was so impressed with the LR-4 in the R&D phase that they decided to pull back the curtains and put the Monolith
front and center on the stage.
Lately, Stealth has been expanding into electronics, with a subwoofer
amplifier filter, and the brand-new model 8400 multi-channel amplifier
with DSP optimization that “you see all the time in the pro world, but
you don’t see it in the consumer world all that much and you certainly
don’t see it in the invisible speaker space,” Olszewski said.
This year, Stealth is making another leap in the invisible speakers
space, and it will also prove that its audio technology
can stand on its own, literally. The new LineaResponse
LR -4 invisible speaker system is a three-way, fullrange
system of two panels, a mid-high panel and a
low-range panel. It was made available early this year,
along with a freestanding model called the Monolith.
The move from in-wall to freestanding speakers was
not taken lightly, but the audiophile engineering team
at Stealth was so impressed with the LR -4 in the R&D
phase that they decided to pull back the curtains and
put the Monolith front and center on the stage.
These new models and all Stealth products will
be submitted for third-party electro-acoustical
measurement this year, Olszewski pointed out,
adding, “Proving the legitimacy of invisible speakers is
our number-one goal.”
Kirsten Nelson is editor of SCN.