Wisdom Hires Herron

Carson City, NV loudspeaker company Wisdom Audio has been aggressively reorganizing itself lately. The first part of the program was re-uniting founder Tom Bohlender with erstwhile partner David Graebner to refine and perfect the magnetic planar speaker technology used by Wisdom's hybrid planar/dynamic loudspeakers. Then, in October 2006, the company appointed industry veteran Mark Glazier president. On February 8, Glazier announced that Jon Herron would join the company as vice president of sales.

Long-time industry watchers will remember Glazier and Herron as significant contributors to the rise of Madrigal Audio Laboratories from small manufacturer to one of the industry's technology leaders. "It feels like I've come home," Herron told Stereophile. "There's my long-lived respect and admiration of Mark, of course, but Tom Bohlender has assembled a team of talented people that I recognize as where I want to be."

Herron most recently served as national training director for Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, where he led enterprise-level training and technology initiatives for sales people and installers. He has a degree in economics from Dartmouth and wrote a book on product development that is considered the most comprehensive of its kind—two trade groups use it as the core text of their product training programs. He also wrote DVD Explained back when DVD was essentially an unknown technology.

But it was the stint as product development manager at Madrigal that made Herron's reputation within the audio industry. He helped Mark Levinson and Proceed develop into two of the most respected marques in the high-end sector.

"High-end audio has been my central passion for a long time," he told Stereophile. "Wisdom is such a great fit for me because this team is only interested in building special products—and, in a field that is increasingly becoming commoditized, that's a unique mission.

"My official title is vice president of sales, but any small company has just as many job functions as any large company, but many fewer people to do them, so if a small company is going to be successful, everybody has to wear a lot of hats. In my years in audio, I've worn a lot of hats, so I think that helps, since, yes, I can do the VP of sales thing, but I can also contribute to product development, write owner's manuals and advertising copy, and do all the miscellaneous things that have to get done."

So, we begged, tell us about the products.

"Even though I’m the VP of sales, as of this moment I've got nothing to sell, because we are completely re-thinking the line. I'm looking forward to the time when we're back in production and have stuff to sell—which should be relatively soon.

"The new products are going to be pretty cool. The line will be available as small, medium, and large versions of bi-ampable planar-magnetic/dynamic hybrids. The big difference between models will be how many square inches of planar magnetic driver you have. We'll have a combination electronic crossover/Audyssey multi-EQXT system-room-correction "black box" that will support up to 7.3 channels, depending on what you want to do with the system. In addition to small, medium, and large in-wall, on-wall, and in-room incarnations, there will be several subwoofers and an on-wall and in-room center channel. So that's 13 products we'll bring to market just as soon as we possibly can."

And how soon is that?

"I'd rather under-promise and over-deliver, so I just won't tempt fate—but Stereophile will be the first to know."