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EAW cofounder Kenton Forsythe returns

Forsythe left the company for three years before rejoining to work part-time, getting back to his roots and helping the company build its future

Eastern Acoustic Works has reclaimed its cofounder and former vice president of strategic engineering, Kenton Forsythe.

“When I left three years ago, I took a year off, and my wife and I worked on our ‘honey do’ list – and we’re still working on that,” said Forsythe. “But I want to make more speakers. A couple of years ago I started looking around but I didn’t find the right situation. Then EAW president TJ Smith gave me a call. EAW is pursuing some advanced product development, and TJ asked me to contribute.”

Forsythe’s design, the mid-1970s vintage BH215 dual 15-inch bass horn, became the basis of some of EAW’s earliest products. “When we started EAW, we kept on going with some of the designs we had used in our previous company, Forsythe Audio Systems,” Forsythe recalled. “We designed the CS-3 for Carlo Sound, an integration of the BH215 dual 15-in low-frequency horn with an MR102 12-inch mid-frequency horn and a Community BRH90 high-frequency horn in one big box. It was probably the world’s first integrated, flyable, touring rig.”

EAW’s well-known KF850 was the product that put the loudspeaker manufacturer on the map. Forsythe explained: “The KF850 was an outgrowth of those previous designs. It was a very good cabinet for its day, was time coherent throughout its full range, and helped us develop a lot of traction. It was the standard for tours for quite awhile, and it got us into the install world.”

Forsythe is returning to work part-time: “I kind of reclaimed my role as the transducer guru. Our head of engineering, Geoff McKinnon, is excellent, and he provides the leadership and vision. I collaborate with suppliers on component designs as well as new product development concepts, working with and under Geoff and director of product management, Jeremy Forsythe.”

Forsythe praises EAW’s current ownership, noting the benefits it brings that were not available to the company in the past. “Now we’re owned by Arturo Vicari, who also owns RCF and db Technologies, it opens a new toolkit,” he detailed. “We operate independently but are part of a group of companies, and the technology can be shared amongst the groups. RCF also has really good components that are now available to us, so we have resources we didn’t have previously.”

Although Forsythe is a foundational member of the team as EAW cofounder, he hammers home his return is not about the past, but the future. “We’re not getting the team back together,” he concluded. “We are assembling a new group of much younger people who have the energy and the passion that we brought to it 30 or 40 years ago. We’re trying to stretch the boundaries of what can be done with the technology, and we’re working on new products that are going to knock your socks off.”

This news comes as part of a wave of changes for the company as it reshuffles internally and continues to develop and grow, following its acquisition by RCF Microphones. The acquisition benefitted both parties: RCF strengthened its presence in the US, whilst EAW president TJ Smith provided insight into the ‘great opportunity’ for growth in an exclusive interview with us November last year.