Sandy Gross of Definitive Technology

Relying on his "golden ears" to judge the quality of his work, Sandy Gross founded Definitive Technology in 1990 to create affordable high-performance speakers for the masses. From its first Supertower, which wedded a bipolar speaker and a subwoofer in a single enclosure, through the constantly evolving Mythos line of flat-panel-friendly speaker designs, Gross's company has consistently broken new ground in the audio world.

When you started Definitive Technology, how were you able to reconcile your goals of high performance and affordability? I don't know that it was a question of reconciling those goals as much as being able to achieve them. Speaker design is very complex, and there are many, many decisions to be made. First of all, to create a really good high-performance loudspeaker, you have to know what good is. Then you have to have the engineering talent available and make the correct compromises as you go along to end up with a speaker that offers that ideal balance of performance and value.

Was it just a coincidence that you started your company right as home theater was taking off? When we started in 1990, home theater was beginning to evolve, but that wasn't the impetus to launch the company. It was fortuitous that home theater was happening at that time because back in the '70s and '80s, I was predicting that when audio married video it would be the most important thing to ever happen to the A/V market - which, I think, it turned out to be. But even though our company has a tremendous reputation with home theater, we develop our speakers using music almost exclusively. The ability of a speaker to perform well in a home theater isn't antithetical to its ability to sound good with music.

What led you to merge bipolar speakers with subwoofers? As home theater developed, the subwoofer became a big part of it. But it's a long process to blend a sub properly with the rest of the system, even when it's part of the speaker as it is with one of our Supertowers. When you have a separate sub, its position in the room can be anywhere relative to the speakers, and in many cases it's not even designed to go with any specific speakers. In that case, the blending is being done by the listener in his home, and that's not ideal. We felt that by designing the sub as part of the speaker we could achieve higher performance - and a lifestyle advantage by not having separate subs in the room.

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