The True Technologies Story
This is me, Bob True. I founded True Technologies, a consultancy that has served dozens of customers in the loudspeaker industry since 1998. The following is a narrative of my professional history. If you are considering hiring me, then understanding my background might be helpful to your decision making process.
After reading the text below, if you're still not sure if I am a good match for your project, then give me a call and we can go through it as it relates to my experience. I'm always interested in taking on new challenges, but if I don't believe I'm the right person for the job then I will not waste your time or mine. If that turns out to be the case, I will try to help you find someone that can help.
Prior to establishing True Technologies, I directed the engineering and corporate quality functions for International Jensen - one of the largest speaker manufacturers in the world at that time. I joined the company after getting my BSEE from the University of Wisconsin where I focused on electro-acoustics and DSP technologies. My tenure at Jensen began as a research engineer. Our group was charged with technology development and supported design and testing efforts for 4 factories and the numerous brands the company held including Jensen, Advent, Acoustic Research, and Phase Linear along with the large OEM automotive division. It was a dream job and I was lucky enough to work on a wide array of interesting projects that included the development of test, measurement and modeling systems. I built a laser vibrometer based modal analysis system and developed the company's Finite Element Analysis modeling capabilities (to this day, FEA is a big part of what I do. In fact, True Technologies is a Certified COMSOL consultant. Click here to learn more.) I created a suspension measurement system that is now an industry standard. During that time I earned my MSEE at night at the Illinois Institute of Technology and my research thesis involved developing a machine vision system that precisely measured voice coil ovality. Out-of-round voice coils was a million dollar scrap problem for Jensen at the time and the measurement system helped reduce our defect rate from 10% to 0.5%.
After a few years I eventually came to lead the Jensen engineering site in Schiller Park Illinois that housed corporate quality, engineering, and the prototyping and validation team. Our group spear headed the effort to achieve QS9000, the automotive ISO spec at the time. We were the first speaker company to attain the certification and I gained a true appreciation for the value a data-driven and continuous-improvement based quality system can bring to any company. It was a great pleasure to work with that team and I still see them as one of the best speaker engineering groups ever assembled.
Jensen met its demise at the end of 1998 and True Technologies was born. I liked my job at Jensen and probably would have stayed there forever had the company survived. But the disappointment of losing my job was short lived as I soon found myself facing new and interesting challenges. Since becoming independent I have had the pleasure to meet dozens of great people from around the world and to work on projects that have really enhanced and expanded my engineering and management skills. I have worked for speaker companies in most markets - automotive, high-end, consumer electronics and pro-sound. I have done a lot of product development work for companies that need to incorporate sound in their products but don't have the internal resources to do so. These industries include the railroads, gaming, medical devices, safety devices, and marine. I have worked on transducers from 1/2" to 24" and from $0.25 to $500. I have done some loudspeaker systems work as well, much of which was in the OEM automotive industry.
Developing custom test systems has always been one of the most interesting sidelines of my business. Examples include large scale power test systems, cone resonance checkers, spider testers, anechoic chambers, plane wave tubes, end of line acoustic test software and testing booths.
My management experience has opened doors as well. I have supported M&A due diligence assessments and technology strategy evaluations. I supported the top management of one company with the planning and execution of moving their engineering operations. That project included finding and training new hires and establishing new product development and program management systems.
One of the more interesting projects I worked on was a device now known as the Linear Array Transducer (LAT) that I was a primary inventor of for Tymphany Corporation (AES paper here.) (We found out later that Oscar Heil first conceived the idea in the 70's - it is indeed rare to do something that is actually new in this industry.) The LAT attracted great attention from the biggest companies in the flat panel TV business. We were able to demonstrate the best sounding TVs I've ever heard. The abundant enthusiasm for the product caused the venture capitalists behind Tymphany to bet heavily on the LAT. They eventually purchased the venerable Danish Sound Technology (DST) that owned the famous Peerless, Vifa, and Scan Speak OEM transducer brands. At that time Tymphany made me an offer I couldn't refuse to join the company full time, so I put True Technologies on hold. I was first sent to China as the VP of WW Operations to manage the factory that housed the manufacturing, engineering, quality, project management, and logistics functions. Under my direction, Tymphany invested over $3 million building up the original DST factory and a second one from the ground up. We transferred over 500 products from Denmark to my China factory. Eventually I came to manage the Denmark Engineering and Program Management teams as well. It was a great experience and the multinational team I worked with was phenomenal.
Tymphany acquired Premium Loudspeaker a few years later and we merged our China operations with theirs. That gave me a chance to move out of operations and serve the company as the Chief Technology and Chief Quality officer. In that capacity I developed a Quality Road Map that put us on track to get TS16949 and IS14001 certified. I also managed the company Technology and Product Road Maps. I coordinated the research activities and developed new product line strategies for Scan Speak, Vifa, and Peerless. We planned and developed over 100 new products and invested over $1 million in new tooling. These products were designed by the amazingly talented Danish engineering teams and are now being manufactured at Scan Speak in Denmark and at Tymphany in China (Vifa and Peerless.) The drivers are finding their way into the world's best speaker brands and DIY designs.
The financial meltdown of 2008 forced the Tymphany US company to close its doors at the end of that year. Now I'm back at True Technologies and already working on a new set of interesting projects, some for my original customers and some for new ones. This time around I'm also developing some niche testing products. The first offering, LifeTest, was introduced at the beginning of 2010. Finally, I'm working with some of the great people I built relationships with in Denmark and China. We're establishing a network that is versatile, highly skilled and well connected. We can get just about anything done in the speaker business. See the Services page for an idea of what we can do for you.