Altec Lansing Takes Us Behind the Scenes: Creating a Speaker Prototype

Safari

When I visited Altec Lansing’s headquarters back in January I was able to spend some time in the back area of the complex where the company develops their speakers. I didn’t write a great deal about it at the time because I had signed an NDA, and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t mistakenly share anything that I shouldn’t have. [That’s how we do things here at Gear Diary]

Well, I can now share with you a good deal of what I was able to see in January because a video of Dave Burke, an Altec Lansing acoustics engineer, who was kind enough to spend the better part of an hour with me, just went live on YouTube.

The video shows Dave creating a prototype speaker from scratch. That’s right, while other companies buy speaker boxes “off the shelf” Altec Lansing makes them from the ground up. The video gives an idea of the tremendous emphasis Altec Lansing puts on the quality of the audio their speakers provide. That’s why their speakers tend to sound far better than units from other companies that may be larger, heavier and most costly.

Preview

This, though, may be the Achilles Heal of the company. They products sound GREAT but often look smaller and feel lighter than other speakers. They also may seem to have , although that is changing as the company begins releasing apps that add features via iOS devices.

Preview

The problem is, if someone sees Altec Lansing speakers side by side with offerings from competitors the competitors’ products may LOOK like the better choice. They aren’t but it is difficult to HEAR the differences in the store.

Anyway I digress; here’s the video of Dave showing how he creates a speaker from the ground up. It’s an interesting look at Altec Lansing’s development area and a guy who loves his work. How passionate is Dave about it? Here’s what he has to say at the end…

I wouldn’t trade my job for the world… As you can see I can listen to music 80% of the time during the day and… I’m doing my job. Because if the music stops playing back here then we’re not making products.

That gets balanced against his other quotable quote from the video… “That water smells like a fart.”

The five minute long video is definitely worth watching.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.