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In Profile: Merging Worlds with Loudspeaker Engineer/Designer Dave Gunness

Checking in with loudspeaker engineer/designer Dave Gunness.

By Kevin Young February 10, 2017

Dave Gunness

The essence of Gunness Focusing is providing correction, via digital filtering, to several loudspeaker anomalies, including time-smear from the compression driver/phase plug interface, horn and cone resonances, and crossover phase problems.

It was incorporated in numerous product lines at EAW, and via the UX8800 digital processor, could also be applied to notably improve the performance of select pre-existing products.

Seeking Singularity

Engineers, Gunness believes, fall into one of two classifications: divergent or convergent thinkers.

“Divergent thinkers generate new ideas/inventions. Convergent thinkers finish things.”

He’s worked at residing in both camps, noting, “For me, divergent thinking was natural, but I had to learn to focus on finishing things, otherwise I’d be generating inventions that would never see the light of day.”

Convergent thinking played a role in his decision, in 2008, to go into business with partners Stephen Siegel and Chris Alfiero in creating Fulcrum Acoustic, also based in Whitinsville. His vision was to streamline and shorten the development process while also being able to fully concentrate on the technologies and products most appealing to his interests and the marketplace.

Music’s still a part of Gunness’ world, even if it had to take a back seat role.

The TQ Install Series of coaxial loudspeakers for the installation market were the first result of the quest. “Coaxials are a common thing throughout my career,” he says, citing the EV Musicaster 100 and at Fulcrum, his goal was to eliminate some of what he sees as the primary problems of traditional coaxial designs: intermodulation distortion, bulk, and weight. “It’s not that we decided to make coax the core of the company,” he adds, “It was just that once we figured out we could make multiple patterns work in the coaxial format, there was no good reason not to make the next thing coaxial.”

Fulcrum’s priorities in terms of R&D and product development varies from year to year. Early on, working with noted club system designer John Lyons as a major customer, the focus was nightclubs. But it’s gradually fanned out from there, encompassing numerous markets. Most recently, attention has turned to overcoming excessive low-frequency radiation with what the company calls Passive Cardioid Technology, first introduced in the FL283 and FLS115 line arrays and now the basis of a line of cardioid subwoofers that includes CS118 (18-inch) and CS121 (21-inch) models. And yes, it’s patent-pending.

As the company has grown, Gunness says, it’s become increasingly difficult to spend as much time as he would like on advancing design concepts. While recent staff additions, such as the addition of director of engineering Nathan Butler, will ultimately open up his schedule, the real break won’t come until Fulcrum completes its new 32,0000-square-foot Whitinsville factory in 2017.

Even the briefest glance at the company’s website will tip off anyone unfamiliar to a decidedly non-corporate culture and sense of humor that comes from the top down – Gunness, for example, in addition to being listed as vice president of R&D, is also touted as “lead coffee maker.”

“It’s important not to take yourself too seriously,” he concludes. “We’ve all been through the corporate wringer, so we don’t use terms like ‘onboarding employees’ and that kind of stuff. In fact, we cringe when we hear things like that – let’s not forget, we’re doing this for enjoyment and satisfaction, not just to make money.”

Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, as well as professional musician and composer.


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About Kevin

Kevin Young
Kevin Young

Freelance Music and Tech Writer, Professional Musician and Composer
Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.

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