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EXCLUSIVE: EAW president TJ Smith talks InfoComm, new gear and RCF

The US company unveiled some 15 new products at last month’s InfoComm

EAW product development team (L-R): Bill Hoy, Linda Murphy, Kenton Forsythe, Jeremy Forsythe, Dave Sherman, Zhao Zuo, TJ Smith, Geoff McKinnon, Steven Desrosiers, Marilyn Fernandes

EAW president TJ Smith has spoken exclusively to PSNEurope about the company’s recent trip to Las Vegas for InfoComm 2019, the array of new products it released at the show and how things are coming along under its Italian owner RCF, which purchased the company in 2018.

The US loudspeaker giant released some 15 new products at InfoComm last month, including a new KF800 Series loudspeaker and low frequency enclosures, two new series of contractor-focused point-source loudspeakers and new active portable models. Earlier this year, EAW introduced the KF810P installation line array, the latest model in the company’s KF800 series. Designed specifically for installed applications, the compact, lightweight KF810P is a three-way system with high quality output and true broadband pattern control.

At InfoComm, the company added to that with the new SB818P|F companion subwoofer for the KF810P. The SB818P|F is direct radiating, with a tuned, vented enclosure that houses an 18-inch neodymium transducer with long-excursion 5.3-inch voice coil and high motor strength, enabling reduced system weight and increased output response at all output levels. Its compact, flyable design is suitable for installs or other applications with minimal floor space. EAW has further extended the SB series with the new SB818F, SB828, and SB825 loudspeakers.

Also new at InfoComm was the RS Series two-way, self-powered loudspeakers, subwoofers and complete accessory line. RS Series loudspeakers, including the RM 121/123 and the RS 151/153, come in a portable, wooden enclosure housing bi-amplified electronics and designed around the company’s latest generation of touring-grade transducers. A rotatable, constant-directivity HF horn, inspired by the company’s classic MK series, offers precise pattern control. The RS Series’ DSP provides intelligent focusing for musical clarity and accuracy and DynO dynamic optimisation.

The companion RS115 and RS118HP self-powered subwoofers offer 1,500 and 2,500 watts of Class D power, and feature tuned, vented enclosures. EAW’s DynO algorithms optimise the power transfer from amplifiers to transducers for improved headroom and sound integrity at maximum output.

In addition, EAW introduced the new MKD family of point-source loudspeakers with dual low-frequency drivers in 8”, 10” and 12” formats and an improved Stealth version of EAWs flagship Adaptive Series.

Speaking to PSNEurope about InfoComm 2019, EAW founder Kenton Forsythe commented: “My impressions about the show was that we nailed it. In particular the demo room was great. Presentations were to the point and music selections were appropriate and sounded great. Reception to the new products, RS and MKD in particular were very well received. KF810 of course was a hit. The subs were excellent. The booth too was well laid out. I was particularly impressed that we actually had a cutaway of MKD on the booth! We had some great meetings and discussions with our partners.”

Here, TJ Smith elaborates exclusively on the latest additions to the brand’s portfolio and what’s in-store for the rest of the year…

EAW launched 15 new products at InfoComm last month. What can you tell us about these new launches (key products, ambitions for those products etc)?

These new launches are an example of the exceptional investment the RCF Group has put into EAW.  The increased pace of product introductions can only be expressed in triple digit terms.  For this latest round of developments, we started by talking to our partners to understand what they needed to make their business successful.  Foremost that is what you will see in each of these launches, products that our partners can use to drive their business and remain competitive.  This is our guiding principle.  Beyond that we made sure that each incorporated elements of EAW’s technology DNA that has been developed over our 41-year history.  Everything from the RS horn, to the dual spaced woofers in MKD, to the isophasic waveguide in the new KF810P line array has a technology story deeply rooted in our history.  From there we look to the future.  Each new product is a stepping stone forward.  Each stop in the process offers something completely “useful and lovable” but it is not the end we will be building on each of the developments you saw at the show this year as we push our portfolio of solutions forward.

Why was InfoComm the idea platform for launching these products?

InfoComm is the perfect show for EAW.  First the attendance is soaring.  Second, the attendees represent a perfectly addressable market for EAW.  Finally, we love demo rooms and InfoComm provides great demo rooms.  We work in a great industry where what we make must be experienced.  InfoComm demo rooms provide a venue that allows a large number of people to experience EAW in a short amount of time.

What was the response to the new products like at the show?

Wow, completely exceeded our expectations. We expected one or two to stand outs, but everything had great reviews and drew immediate interest.  This can be substantiated with orders for new products out of the show.  We have written orders for each of the series presented at the show based on the listening experience in our demo room.  We focused this year on creating a great listening experience with a, less talk, more listen mantra and it worked beautifully.  The feedback has consistently been ‘everything sounded great’.

It’s been an incredibly busy 12 months for EAW, what with the 2018 acquisition by RCF Group. How has the market responded to all of these changes?

The market has responded with support, anticipation, and patience. We’re a 41-year-old company but in some ways we are brand new.  The RCF Group set EAW up as a completely independent company registered in Massachusetts USA. As the president I control the bank account and report to a board of directors.  We went from sharing significant portions of the back office with our friends in Washington State to, in one day, having it all on us.  We are rapidly developing the process and systems that any business requires.  This is hard but rewarding work.  We get to come to work everyday and build something great.  Our partners appreciate the fact that they are dealing with an EAW that is focused on their needs first and foremost.

What else does EAW have planned for the second half of 2019?

The second half of the year will see an equal number of new product introductions, as you saw at InfoComm 2019. New series, new categories, new implementations of Adaptive technology. We’ll roll into Vegas with even more.