Both their ported and sealed subwoofer models tend to be considered the “last word” for many fans while the value they present when weighed against the performance they provide is unquestionable. And yet over the last number of years the company has successfully branched out with a couple of different speaker lines (both for stereo and home theater), wireless systems, and accessories. I was reminded that SVS is located in Youngstown, Ohio, only a 2-hour drive from where I live, just outside Columbus. A mental note has been made to drop in for a visit to the SVS mothership sometime in the future as the COVID-19 restrictions continue to expire.
Until that fateful day, SVS CEO Gary Yacoubian and VP of Marketing Nicholas Brown kindly agreed to sit in on a telephone interview with me where we discussed all manner of things SVS, and audio in general.
CL: Nice to finally meet you, Gary and Nick. Thanks for agreeing to meet up for this interview.
GY: Thank you, Carlo. Nice to meet you as well. Sorry, we can’t be in the same physical space, but maybe someday soon.
NB: Thanks for taking the time Carlo.
CL: My pleasure! To start things off, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving me a little bit of back history on SVS? I’m familiar with the company for about the last 10 years or so but it would be a good opportunity to get a refresh on the company background for our readers.
GY: Of course. You know, it’s kind of funny but this month will mark my 10th anniversary with SVS. I joined in June of 2011. So back then, when this team came on board, SVS had been around for something like 10 years before that already, functioning as essentially an internet-direct subwoofer-only brand. From its beginnings, the company started literally in a garage, and just grew from there, it was a brand that was very focused on bringing extreme performance and extreme value at the same time. I think the difference in what we’ve done through these last 10 years is we have looked at creating products and form factors that are more flexible for different kinds of listening rooms, while still keeping to the values of bringing people, incredible performance, reference performance, at price ranges that are inclusive and available to more people. All SVS had when I came aboard were these big, ported subwoofers that were about the size of a small coffin! We still have the big subs and the cylinder subs for people who want that, and plenty do, but getting reference performance into form factors that would better integrate into more home theaters and more two-channel systems was a big goal for us.
And then of course our first speakers were launched in late 2012, just a little more than a year after we came on board. Since then, we have just continued to expand our offerings, always with an eye on great sound, making aspirational and wonderful products, but available in price ranges so that an everyday working person can have those products in their life and have the joy of great sound whether it’s multi-channel or two-channel.
CL: In terms of your customer makeup, it’s a given that you have the traditional older audiophile as a clientele but are you seeing much in the way of younger customers coming to SVS? And, if so, are they looking more at “lifestyle” types of products?
GY: It is running the whole gambit. We hit those audiophile guys definitely, but we also get millennials (Gen Y) and even some Gen Z. We like to think that we are helping bring them to the idea of great sound in their living space, maybe for the first time.
CL: Do you think that maybe younger generations may not be marketed to correctly when it comes to high-quality audio?
GY: I think there’s a dirty little secret in the audio industry, in my opinion, which is that a lot of the audio industry is predicated on a belief that no one cares about great sound anymore. And so, we use code words like “lifestyle product” to say this is not a product where the first priority was having great sound. The first priority was some other thing, right? Like it works wirelessly or it’s small, or it’s this, or it’s that. And we don’t believe that that should be the first priority. The first priority should be that it sounds amazing. Will that order of priority appeal to every single human on the planet? Probably not. But I think what we’ve found with our younger customers is that they do love, great sound. Before the pandemic, they went to movie theaters and saw blockbuster movies with massive sound. They went to live concerts and EDM shows in record numbers. They love great, immersive sound, but no one was helping them to understand they could have great immersive sound in their living space. And that’s a lot of what we’re about.
CL: So, jumping from there, what sorts of things determine the products you decide to develop and eventually bring to market? Where do your ideas come from?
GY: So, everyone at SVS at every level is enthusiastic and passionate about great sound, so the ideas can come from any of us. My only constraint is if we’re going to enter into a product space, we’re going to go into it all the way, a hundred percent. And we’re going to bring products to the world that are not being brought to the world right now, meaning there’s a reason for them to exist. So, if there’s no reason for it to exist, because it already exists out there, then that’s not a product we’re interested in. I’ll give you an example. We get asked all the time, how come you don’t make an in-wall or in-ceiling loudspeaker? And the answer honestly is, do you really need SVS for that? There’s nothing easier to bring to market than in-ceiling or in-wall speakers. They don’t even have a cabinet there. If there was some twist, where we could come up with something different than what others are doing, that would be compelling. Then we would seriously look at that. That sort of thinking brings me to the 3000 Micro subwoofer, which is our most recent product launch. Now there’s a product that, in our opinion, nobody has done it before. Nobody had created reference subwoofer performance in a 10-inch form factor. And we hadn’t either, after 20 years of existence, we never figured out how to do it, until now. And I think there’s a reason for that product to exist. And it’s been very nicely embraced by both the audiophile community and regular folks looking for a quality sub in that form factor.
NB: I can throw out another example and that’s our Prime Elevation speakers. They’ve got an interesting backstory to them. In the early days for Dolby Atmos, there wasn’t a lot of content, you know, and everything was relying on that ceiling bounce from those add-on module speakers. And Gary, along with our chief engineer Smith Freeman, were basically sitting around the factory looking and listening to all these horrible executions of Dolby Atmos add-on speakers and the inconsistent results from these various ceiling bounce effects. They would sort of work in some cases, but it was mostly a deflating experience listening to these things. And they’re like, well why can’t we make something direct-radiating that doesn’t rely on the bounce effect but won’t need you to punch holes in your ceiling either? Fast forward to today, and the Prime Elevation is one of the most popular speakers that we offer. And they work great, both with our own speakers or when matched with other brands of speakers in a home theater. So, in the end what we thought would be a niche product has now become one of our most popular speaker models because again, it’s a solution that didn’t exist at the time. Now we’ve noticed a few other speakers recently that are essentially using the same direct-radiating/angled Atmos idea.
CL: In regard to subwoofers, you guys have almost done it all. From cylinder subs to traditional sealed and ported designs, incorporating app control, etc. What is there left to improve or explore on the subwoofer front?
GY: There’s lots to do because there’s always room for improvement and we’re constantly challenging ourselves. I would say some areas that we have made a lot of progress on are, you know, being able to create the experience of a massive subwoofer in a more compact package, but there’s always work and refinement to be done there. One thing I will share with you is that one of the final frontiers of reference subwoofer performance has to do with the wall outlet. Some work on this has already been done in our top two ranges. We include a voltage regulator so that an owner doesn’t need to worry about whether they have the current coming from the wall to enjoy the subwoofer performing to its fullest. But as we extend what’s possible in future generations of subwoofers, we are looking at ways of doing more with less power. Things that involve deploying DSP in ways that will allow for subwoofer performance to go to a new level, without anyone needing to hire a master electrician to install special, dedicated high-capacity circuits for their system. That’s about as detailed as I can get at this stage about that specific path but there are lots of other frontiers that we continue to do work on too. We make it such an obsession of how we can push the envelope of performance, and we find ways. It’s fun and we’re not going to rest on our laurels in any way.
CL: I’ve been a believer in using subwoofers in a 2-channel system. I’ve had a 2.2 channel stereo system as my main listening setup for years. Have you guys had any thought to producing an external box with bass management and/or room correction to help integrate subs into a Hi-Fi system or do your subs already have much of that functionality onboard?
GY: So just for you to know, approximately one-third of our subwoofers are placed in two-channel systems. And now in our full range of subwoofers, we have everything you just described (except for full-on room correction) built-in and accessible by an app control that connects via Bluetooth to the subwoofer. So, it doesn’t even need to be line of sight and it allows you to set up to three bands of Parametric EQ, adjustment of the crossover point, the slope of the crossover is continuously adjustable, and phase and polarity adjustments to. The app just gives you all kinds of ways of making the subwoofer, the perfect match in a two-channel system, and you don’t need an AV receiver and all the things that AV receivers do in a home theater environment.
CL: Similar to the earlier subwoofer question but this time talking about loudspeakers. What does SVS look to achieve when designing a loudspeaker and what is there still to improve?
GY: Again, that’s another one where we’re always looking at continuous improvement. I would say our sweet spot was captured in a relatively early review of our Ultra series speakers which are still on the market. Paraphrasing here, the description was “the excitement and dynamics of a home theater speaker with the refinement and accuracy of an audiophile two-channel speaker.” In the past it’s always felt to me like you sort of had to choose one or the other, it’s that old chestnut of, oh, you know, which speaker you get? Do you want to listen to music, or do you want to watch movies? We believe that a great speaker should sound accurate, refined, and amazing with music, but when you want to crank it up and have an exciting home theater experience, you should be able to do that with the same speaker. In other words, a great speaker should be a great speaker with every kind of content that you want to use it for. So that’s really our sweet spot. We focus hard on that. We don’t want somebody to feel they need to choose between one or the other. And I think there’s always work to be done to improve on that, improve on what’s possible within people’s budgets.
CL: To those of us that don’t live and breathe this stuff daily, most people think deep bass is what you hear coming out of some pimped-up ride that pulls up next to you at a stoplight. Shaking everyone’s seats and windows in the process. In the context of a home theater or music system, what should someone expect to hear or feel when talking about a successful subwoofer installation?
GY: That’s a great question. And you frame it up in the perfect way, which is, I think the subwoofer world, prior to us and some other manufacturers, was almost like a tractor-pull mentality. Where it’s not about how accurate and musical or faithful to the content the sound was but did it just blast your eardrums, and did it rattle the windows enough? And clearly, that’s part of the fun, but if it’s not doing certain other things then it’s also detracting from the believability of the experience. I don’t know if you want me to pontificate here, but we identify five things that a person should listen for when integrating a single or multiple subwoofers. Would you like me to quickly say what those are?
CL: Please do!
GY: Okay. And I would say this applies to any subwoofer, regardless of brand, that you’re listening to. If it does these five things well, in a price range that a person looking at, then that’s probably a really good subwoofer.
So, the first one, obviously, is extreme low frequencies. A subwoofer should reproduce low frequencies below the threshold of audibility. That’s because some of the bass occurs below the threshold of audibility and being able to hear the bass is super important but being able to feel it is just as important. It’s part of the excitement and fun and believability of the experience.
Secondly, it should do this at whatever volume level the user would like. And the point of this is because a subwoofer is an ecosystem with an amplifier, driver, and cabinet, and the amplifier in some subwoofers, especially the speaker-branded ones, is limited. And so, the subwoofer cannot rise to the volume levels of the passive full-range speakers, which are dumb. They can’t tell you that there’s no more for them to deliver. They just play as loud as the person tells them to. In that case, the subwoofer may run out of steam trying to keep up, and then the listener is kind of saying to themselves, where did all the bass go? A good subwoofer shouldn’t do that and ours certainly don’t do that. We have very effortless, powerful amplifiers with minimal limiting. They play as loud as the listener wants and correspond to the volume that the passive full-range speakers are at, whether it’s a two-channel or a multi-channel setup.
Third, a subwoofer needs to have an accurate frequency response, meaning all the frequencies that the sub is responsible for are there in the exact proportion that they should be. So again, this is crucial in creating that believability and convincing aspect of the experience. And this goes to what you were talking about with somebody just blasting you with, with the same obnoxious bass note over and over again, that’s not believable and that’s not an accurate frequency response.
Fourth is speed and transient response, meaning the subwoofer(s) should be able to deliver the sound almost like stopping and starting on a dime. When you hear a door slam in a movie you should only hear that noise of the door slamming as though it really is a door and not a bunch of decay and resonance after the sound that you were supposed to hear, was heard. And for music, you want to be able to hear, for example, the pluck of an acoustic bass, and it should sound like it’s being plucked. That’s the speed and transient piece of it and that helps cement the believability of the experience.
And then the final one, the fifth one is a little bit more subtle. The subwoofer should seamlessly blend with the full-range speakers. We work very exhaustedly to make sure our subwoofers do that because nobody wants to hear a subwoofer AND speakers. They want to hear a totally convincing, and immersive experience.
So, with those five things, I think you lose the tractor-pull mentality at that point.
NB: If I could add just a little bit of color to that, too. I think one of the vastly underrated qualities of a really good subwoofer is how subtle they can be. You know, a lot of people think that a subwoofer has got to be loud and in-your-face and bombastic. But, for example, if you’re watching a thriller or horror movie where they’re just trying to build some suspense, you’ll feel a sort of rumble that gets you right in your gut. It’s those infrasonic frequencies that Gary was mentioning. That is an effect and experience you will miss from a bad subwoofer or from having no subwoofer. I think it adds so much to the entertainment experience to have that sort of feeling and the subtlety where even if you’re not listening at loud volumes, you still know something’s going on. You still kind of get the sense that, oh, something’s building. Even with music, it’s like, you’ll hear a bassline that’s strumming throughout a song that you might not pick up on otherwise. It sort of runs counter to that example you provided with the car and the loud, blasting bass in your face. A great subwoofer really adds to the experience in ways that can be very subtle and nuanced, not just in an overpowering and action-oriented sort of way.
And then the other thing I just like to always mention is we see this in our customer reviews all the time where people write in claiming that their speakers just sound so much better after adding one of our subwoofers. It speaks to the blending that Gary mentioned, but they’re actually benefitting from improved dynamics and lower distortion in their speakers now that the subwoofer has been integrated and is taking the bass load off the main speakers. The entire experience from both speakers and subwoofer improves.
CL: From the consumer’s perspective, why should I make my next major speaker or subwoofer purchase from SVS? What sets you apart from everyone else?
GY: I think what we do that distinguishes us from the other alternatives you have is the following: in the price ranges where we live, mostly what you’ll see are what I would call speaker-branded-subwoofers. They are basically chosen by people who think that if I have a “brand X” speaker, I need to get a “brand X” subwoofer, and the speaker companies don’t necessarily put as much emphasis on creating an amazing subwoofer experience. Now, there are subwoofer companies that make very expensive subwoofers that are legit, but they’re so expensive. They’re just not for everyone. What if you had a subwoofer brand that lived in the price ranges of the speaker-branded subwoofers, but was committed to reference subwoofer performance that you normally would have gotten from the subwoofer specialist? And that’s what we do. An SVS subwoofer is a perfect match for any brand/model speaker. And it lives in the same price ranges as speaker-branded subwoofers, which are for the most part, really mediocre. We create really wonderful uncompromised, aspirational, subwoofer experiences in the price ranges where people don’t normally get that.
NB: And if I, if I can add on to that a little bit more, not so much from the product side, but I think it’s important for people nowadays to have a level of transparency when they’re making these bigger ticket purchases. We have regular online events like our “Audiophile Happy Hours” where we’ve had our director of technology and our chief engineer involved and you get to see and know who is behind SVS. That’s taken on more value to people.
We pride ourselves on having very consumer-facing policies. Gary who is always a part of the Happy Hours, even has his email listed on our Customer Bill of Rights page. I mean, there’s a direct line to the president, so if you have a complaint or if you have an accolade or, you know, you want to just share your thoughts on the experience you’ve had, you can do that directly to Gary from anywhere in the world that we serve. And I don’t know that there’s a lot of other brands, audio or otherwise, that are doing that kind of thing. It’s being that transparent. We try and take care of every single customer, on many occasions even when they are out of warranty. So, you know, it becomes very important to us to engage our market directly. And, you know, that’s obviously a buzzword way of saying that we love our customers, and we want to hear from them. We have two-way communication with them all the time, whether it’s through social media, through these happy hours, or email.
Again, that’s just something that we’ve prided ourselves on. Everyone says they deliver great customer service, but, you know, we really, truly back it up and even on the public side of things by trying to be as transparent, constructive, helpful, and fun as possible.
CL: Are there any trends you see coming in the audio and home theater market that you consider significant?
GY: Nick, I think this one’s in your court.
NB: I think you have a question here about the pandemic and how it’s brought some things more into focus. Being an audiophile, recently it’s been seen almost like a negative or it’s had a stigma attached with it. For a while early on, having a great level of audio and the associated gear was super cool. Over time it became sort of like a game for the affluent or the obsessed and you know, more money than sense. And you’d have situations where you went onto the forums, you have a question, and you got a bunch of people shouting at you and making you feel ashamed for your purchase or for whatever your question was. Now I feel like we’re progressing beyond that. You see younger people with YouTube channels starting to embrace high-performance audio and telling the story differently. It’s more about looking at all this amazing content and how you’re not getting the most out of it. You’re not experiencing it fully. It’s greatly grown from just this sort of two-channel music conversation and moved to the whole world of audio. And, you know, whether it’s a wireless audio experience where you’re just trying to get something that’s better than background music or someone wants to be more involved or immersed with their music, it boils down to now more people are looking for more from their music. Gary always jokes because me and Smith, our lead engineer, always want to talk about vinyl and how’s vinyl has got this great resurgence. And Gary is like, well, if you look at the numbers it’s not quite as big as it’s being made to look, but still, it’s a great thing to see. Younger people are buying LPs again, investing in turntables and the rest of their systems. They’re slowing down and taking the time to listen and savor the music again.
From a different direction, one of the vast untapped landscapes is the world of gaming. I mean, gaming is insanely huge. The number one selling game out there grosses more money than some Hollywood blockbuster movies. There’s an increased level of immersion with gaming now, thanks to the use of Dolby Atmos and the height effects channels that have been incorporated with some of these newer consoles. That is really opening the door for a lot of people. And these things are entertainment consoles, they’re not just for gaming. You can buy and rent movies that you can stream through them, access your music library, and experience other kinds of content from an increasing array of services. So, people have begun seriously looking to invest in this one best listening experience in the house. And whether that’s the home theater or a two-channel system or wireless speakers or even distributed whole-house audio, it almost doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that they’re learning to appreciate the benefits of great and immersive sound and just wanting to have more of it in their life. I think from a trend perspective, in general, the pandemic has helped people focus on having a better experience at home and to get the most out of their content, whatever it might be.
CL: Speaking of the pandemic, how has SVS fared through it all? Many manufacturers saw surprising levels of sales. Has that been the same for you? Do you anticipate a slowdown as things seem to be returning to normal?
GY: Well, I hesitate to say anything that in any way makes light of what we’ve all gone through, you know, people have suffered, people have died, and so we don’t want to make light of this situation, but the pandemic did a couple of important things for us. Since the situation left people kind of locked up at home, they started thinking about ways to make being at home a more fun thing. And that obviously plays to our company and our product’s strengths. So yes, we were busy. But the other thing is that we love to talk to our customers, and while some other companies, and I know this for a fact, laid off customer service people because I guess they assumed that there’s just going to be less physical service on products in the middle of a pandemic, we actually added to our customer support team. The reality was that our customer service team has been engaged in record numbers of phone calls, chats, emails during this time. We were constantly talking to our customers while they’re stuck at home, helping them to be as happy as possible with their equipment and setups, even if it didn’t necessarily include SVS gear. And we also do a lot of virtual talking to the community, through the “Audiophile Happy Hours” that we mentioned earlier, and Nick is one of several of our team that is constantly talking to people via social media and other ways. We’ve been in a constant state of virtual conversation with our community, and that works well when people are locked up at home.
NB: I’ll speak to one other challenge, which probably isn’t as interesting to your audience, but, you know, operationally with the supply chain and some of the resulting issues that have happened, we’ve made some smart decisions regarding sourcing which I think will help us going forward. I don’t want to get into too much detail on this, but COVID created a lot of supply challenges for companies, and I think those still exist today. I don’t think the pandemic is over yet in the way that’s going to ease how brands, SVS and others included, can maintain products within dealers, and within their own online sales. It’s made business life more challenging, but we’re in a pretty good place now, and it is something that you need to look at a lot harder now when planning for the future.
CL: What is something important about audio/video that you feel is overlooked or doesn’t get enough attention?
GY: I think this is sort of an obvious answer, but I actually think that the general concept that people are extremely attracted to the idea of great sound is overlooked by so many audio companies, component companies, speaker manufacturers, it’s sort of not believed by a lot of people. And what we believe is that approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of humanity loves great sound and, whether they may know it or not, seeks it out in their life. But they haven’t really been shown the “math” of how they can have great sound in their living space. So, to me, that’s the most overlooked thing. And, you know, one company can’t change the tide of that. I think we all need to sort of embrace the fact that great sound is something that’s of great value to almost everyone. I mean, yes, some people don’t care. They may be perfectly happy ironing while listening to talk radio, but they’re not the ones that I’m talking about here. The other three quarters go (or did go) to movies, went to concerts, went to other events that included immersive sound. Those people just need to be told and shown that they can have great sound in their living space that compares with or is even better than the sound that they’re experiencing out in the world.
CL: What is the biggest audio myth that you wish people would stop buying into?
GY: Oh, I can’t do it! Nick, you better take this one because I’ll make some snide comment that might upset a bunch of people, like spending more money on cables than the cost of your components or something like that!
NB: That’s actually a good one. Don’t overthink the cables. I don’t think it’s offensive to anyone. As if having unicorn hair in a cable is somehow going to make the sound transcendent versus just a very well-built cable that passes the signal with purity.
My audio myth pick would also be a softball. The old chestnut that a ported subwoofer is for home theater while a sealed subwoofer is for music.
GY: True! That’s a good one!
NB: We’ve done a lot to narrow the delta between the performance of sealed versus ported subs. But there is still a general sense out there that this so-called rule still applies. The decision should be based more on what your listening preferences are, which is what we always tell our customers. There are a lot of other determining factors like the size of the room and what kind of music do you listen to? There are about five or six questions we ask a customer first before we make any sort of recommendation. So, that would be mine. It’s an easy one. And it’s germane to what we do.
GY: I like Nick’s better. I’ll get myself in trouble with mine!
CL: For someone setting up their first serious music or Hi-Fi system, what sort of advice would you give?
GY: Well, you got to talk to people and sort of understand what their priorities are. I think sometimes we come at people with our priorities and tell them what they should do based on what gets us excited. But the truth is they want to have some advice based on their needs.
I would say this, ask yourself, what is your favorite content to enjoy? What’s your favorite thing to do? Is it going to the movies, going to the ballpark to see a game, or is it going to a concert? Then have that be the priority of what you want to replicate in your own home and start with that point of view. And also, unless you have just an unlimited budget, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t expect to iron out the whole system all in one go, for two reasons. Number one, as I said not everybody has a massive amount of money to invest all at once in a system. And number two, it’s great and fun to make changes based on changing technology. And technology is always changing in audio. We sometimes overlook the fact, you were asking earlier about what gets overlooked, we sometimes overlook the fact that audio is absolutely a part of the technology space, and it’s always changing. And, you know, thinking about the systems that we have today from home theaters to smart speakers, a lot of those you couldn’t have imagined even 10 years ago for the things that they do.
NB: And the one thing I like to always mention too, especially for people who are just getting into this, is when you invest in audio and you get a decent system, it’s likely going to stick around for 10 to 15 years. It’s not that disposable technology we’re so used to these days where you spend a thousand bucks on a smartphone that you’ll be replacing a year and a half. It’s not like that with high-performance audio. These are products that retain their value for a long time. And so, I would say, don’t skimp, but don’t spend beyond your means either. Find your sweet spot, get stuff that you’re going to be happy with for the long-term because it is going to last unless you completely abuse it. But I think that gets lost sometimes in the whole equation. Can it be expensive? Sure but, relatively speaking, what technology can you buy for a thousand dollars that’s going to last 10 to 15 years and not go obsolete? At least when you’re talking about passive, full-range speakers, and things like that. That’s something that I don’t think it’s communicated enough by the industry, the longevity of these experiences you get from great audio products.
CL: So, to wrap things up, you’re on a desert island and you only have 3 albums. What would they be?
NB: You’ve probably agonized over this question the most, huh Gary?
GY: This is hard because I like a lot of music and I don’t necessarily have a “favorite thing.” But if I really were on a desert island, I would want something that I’d never get tired of because I’m going to have to play it over and over again. So, I want to be able to get a box set. Am I allowed to get three box sets?
CL: Yes, you are absolutely allowed boxed sets on the desert island.
GY: Okay good, so my three box sets are, and you might find them surprising, the first one would be The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach of course. I’m endlessly discovering that one, and that’s played by Glenn Gould a fellow Canadian of yours. Then the second one is the Miles Davis Bitches Brew sessions box set. You can see that these guys who were some of the most amazing players ever in the history of jazz, created enough music for three double albums during these sessions, and you’ll just never get tired of listening to it. And then the final one is because I need a little bit of metal in my life, Tool’s Fear Inoculum.
CL: Great choices! And Fear Inoculum is my son’s favorite album so you’ve no doubt made him happy!
GY: Yeah, they kind of defy categorization. Maybe not really metal altogether. I want to hear Nick’s choices! You’re doing this too, right?
NB: Well, mine are going to be a slight departure, but I went with three very distinct genres. The first one, and this is one of my favorite hip hop albums of all time, Stankonia by OutKast. I love that album. Next, for classic rock, because I also love classic rock, A Decade of Steely Dan by Steely Dan. It’s kind of a greatest hits album so it may sort of be cheating here.
GY: That’s good though. That’s how you cheat!
CL: It’s a legit album so it counts! Love Steely Dan too.
NB: However, I can get the most Steely Dan in one album, that’s what I’m after. I’ve always loved their music. And then the last one, you guys have probably never heard of this. It’s a compilation of punk songs from the label Fat records and it’s called Survival of the Fattest, and it’s just songs from a bunch of different punk bands. I used to rage to this when I was an angst-ridden teenager with my buddies.
GY: I know you’re still kind of an angst-ridden teenager at heart, Nick! Those were some good picks.
NB: I took some deliberation. Trust me it wasn’t something I pulled out of my rear, that took some thought!
CL: Those were all interesting picks! I appreciate you both being willing to play along.
GY: I don’t think interviews are supposed to be this much fun. I really had fun doing this with you, Carlo.
NB: Same here, thanks for taking the time to chat Carlo.
CL: It was my pleasure! Thank you both for your time during this call, it’s much appreciated! All the best.
Gary Yacoubian is President, CEO and Managing Partner of Specialty Technologies, doing business as SVS. SVS is a successful global direct-to-consumer and retail marketer of premium, specialty audio products that has been in business since 1998 and is known by its enthusiastic, almost cult-like following to produce some of the finest speakers and subwoofers in the world.
Prior to joining Specialty Technologies, Gary was Vice President, Strategic Development, of Monster Cable Products, Inc. in Brisbane, CA.
Prior to joining Monster, Gary was President and Chief Operating Officer of MyerEmco AudioVideo, a 10-store specialty audio/video retail chain and Custom Installation Designer/Installer that served the Washington, DC market for more than 50 years.
Gary has served on the Executive Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the organization that holds International CES is Las Vegas.
Gary is the holder of a B.A. degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Maryland. He and his wife Silvia reside in the Washington, DC area with their two boys John (17) and Chris (14).
Nick leads the marketing team at SVS, guiding the general direction for the brand’s omni-channel strategy, while taking a hands-on approach with the tactical execution. He is the resident wordsmith and creative spark behind nearly all of the social media posts, website copy, advertisements, blog entries and other pieces of SVS content. He has become synonymous with the brand as host of the popular SVS Audiophile Happy Hour live stream events and as the lead demonstrator at live events and trade shows.
Nick is also the chief liaison who works with media to set up reviews, launch new products, contribute to articles, manage sponsorships, and guide PR and social media initiatives. He’s the driving force behind the SVS featured home theater profiles and artist/producer spotlights.
In his spare time, Nick spends his time listening to new music and debating its artistic value with his 16-year-old and shuttling his 5-year-old son to soccer practice and play dates. He also enjoys cooking gourmet meals with his wife, going to the beach, walking the family dog, having an Old Fashioned, and making his friends laugh.