Hemp Acoustics has been around for a few (couple) years, and yet many have never seen, let alone heard a Hemp Acoustics driver. Why is that? Why is it that in a seemingly expanding universe of loudspeaker manufacturers and driver companies this name keeps on coming up? And yet, virtually no one has heard them? (many people have I would say a few thousand people just so you should know we aren’t an enigma) In an attempt to provide our readers with a little insight and to help answer some of the questions that inquiring minds wanna know, I’ve decided to interview Perry Pecker (Hemp’s vice president). In the best W5 style (both regarding the interview style and as a tip of the hat to CTV’s long running new magazine program), here goes.
HFR: Perry, I’ve seen your website and had a few conversations with you regarding your past experiences in audio, but can you elaborate on for the A$$A readers who may not have visited your website?
PP: If I count today I would say I have been involved in this industry for a little over 30 years now. Like many of us, it started out as a hobby, the catalyst being one of my high school friend”s Dad, who introduced me way back when to a fringe faction of society –“ the audiophile”. In truth, he introduced me to music,–blues and large orchestral works mostly.. .all of them played through (at the time a very high fidelity system). Leading the pack was the venerable Linn LP12, Koestu cartridge , Audio Research SP9C to a bi amped system with a Dunlop Clarke boat-anchor driving a modified set of Dayton Write Mk 10 with some Decca ribbons driven by a Grandson of Ampzilla and a SAE parametric, Pederson phono amp all tied together by Fulton cabling! I was hooked, line and sinker! From there I worked in this industry while going through school to eventually buying the store I worked in to acquiring another store to opening a third concept store featuring live music, art and a great café surrounded by audio products. Then decided to get involved into the OEM part of the industry so I went from the trenches into the war room and that’s where we are today.
HFR: Based on your retail experience, what would you say is the most overlooked criteria that many overlook in regards to their audio reproduction systems and why?
PP: Tough question really, I would have to say three areas are overlooked all too often:
The room, probably the most important aspect in overall sound reproduction, firstly due to the fact that most stores don’t educate the client in the aspects of acoustics as they are most likely too busy trying to make the sale of the gear and often they themselves are as much in the dark as the client who depends on them.
The manner in which they purchase or choose a system or component. Example we have for years been taught that the source is the most important piece of gear in the chain parse. I personally feel it’s the speakers as they are the only piece of gear that physically interfaces with your environment and more then any other part of the system really is an extension of ones personality once you have established the speaker the rest is easy –that is, what is best for the speaker.
(Bath water, don’t drink it). Be true to yourself, listen to yourself, don’t buy into the trends or reviews even ours! they are but guidelines. If it moves you on an emotional level go for it, if it doesn’t –don’t, its pretty simple. Don’t make it too complicated and try to have some fun.
HFR: What made you make the jump from retailing to loudspeaker driver manufacturer, and why hemp as a cone material? Are you secretly an environmentalist?
PP: The jump I think was simply an evolution really, I like to help, to educate to improve things and above all to create, what better place to be then an OEM designer and manufacturer. It satiates all those desires and more, its where I belong. As for why HEMP? Everyone in the know knows that paper always sounded eminently more musical and natural then all the other diaphragm materials and hemp by far is the best natural fibre available. Not only does it have excellent properties from a technical perspective but its also renewable resource that for the last couple of years has experienced a tremendous comeback as a natural resource in many countries. Canada’s government in particular have been very enthusiastic about the use of industrial hemp and has contributed greatly to our R&D among many other companies who are developing environmentally friendly products. So for my company it was pardon the pun a natural progression of you will. As for me being a closet environmentalist no it is no secret I have been an active environmentalist for a long time and feel fortunate that Hemp Acoustics plays and active role in the preservation of our planets environment.
HFR: Who do you see as the primary market for the Hemp Acoustics drivers?
PP: Mostly we target OEM loudspeaker manufactures, but recently we started to produce drivers for the medical community in ultrasound machines as well as multimedia and public transportation! But mostly we aim our sights at Hi-Fi, and professional audio companies.
HFR: So, the DIY community is not your primary market. Why bother with it at all then?
PP: Well the truth is that I like the DIY movement I am a DIYer.. where would audio be without DIY? It all started with DIY. Truthfully I enjoy that part of it most from and emotional standpoint its fun and I believe that Hemp Acoustics can add to that enjoyment by bringing something positive to the DIY table. Remember I like to educate and improve things I guess that’s part of it too.
HFR: Other speaker companies offer hemp based drivers. What makes yours different and why should we care?
PP: True enough, but that’s like saying there are so many places that offer smoked meat sandwiches but then there is Schwartz’s in Montreal. There is smoked meat and there is smoked meat! If we want to get technical we can, but the bottom line is we make great products backed by legitimate technology some patented and all are proprietary. Furthermore our products are designed by some of the finest engineers in our industry. To date our team has designed over 700 drivers not all of them were hemp acoustics mind you but, all of which reached commercial success. And remember this, hemp in itself is a wonderful ingredient but producing a great speaker is more akin to preparing a great meal. Which in my humble opinion is comprised of many ingredients supported by a proven innovative recipe and executed by an experienced and well respected chef within the environment of an excellent establishment. That’s HEMP Acoustics, our team, our technology our ingredients our meal. Bonne appetite.
HFR: Why does there seem to be very irregular web page updates on your site and why so many “coming soon” indicators. Do you enjoy teasing people?
PP: As a matter of fact I do I’m a horrible tease…and quite the prankster to boot, but that’s not the reason. Frankly there were a few reasons all of which steps are being taken so we don’t repeat the same mistakes too often! For one there is the matter of growth, we are growing at a rapid pace and need to hire more people period. Also the whole website DIY distribution business model was new for us so at the beginning we did jump the gun a bit we have realized that’s wasn’t the way to do things. Remember our OEM division doesn’t work in the same manner so it was a new experience, we learned. Now we pretty much have a handle on things. Currently we are preparing a large update which includes new models of drivers, a newly designed products page and a new DIY kits page which includes 4 new kits. Plus general updates. Once this is done we will incrementally update more often to keep things fresh and interesting…