JHAudio – Making An Audiophile’s Dream In-Ear Monitors
JHAudio‘s founder, 50-year old Jerry Harvey, has been mixing rock bands as a sound engineer since the age of 16. He’s also lived a roadie’s dream, having spent some 20 years on the road with some of the music industry’s most famous names, such as Van Halen, KISS, The Cult, k.d.Lang, Linkin Park and Morrisey.
In 1995, Jerry decided to capitalize on his knowledge of audio equipment and founded Ultimate Ears while on tour with Van Halen. “The first IEM (in-ear monitor) I designed was for Alex Van Halen,” says Jerry, who would be Ultimate Ears‘ chief IEM designer leading the company’s innovation in the development of earphones and audio circuits until his departure in 2007. Ultimate Ears would later be acquired by Swiss peripheral device maker Logitech in 2008 for US$34 million. “I’m proud of what Ultimate Ears has become, considering when I started the company my goal was to make enough to pay my car payment.”
After leaving Ultimate Ears, Jerry founded JHAudio, a designer and manufacturer of premium, custom in-ear audio monitors for professional musicians, audiophiles and music lovers, as well as avionics equipment for pilots. It’s where he continued to create cutting-edge audio products such as the newly-introduced JHAudio PRO series of custom-fit, premium in-ear audio monitors that promises to deliver the most accurate sound quality, greater clarity, more effective noise isolation and better comfort than any other in-ear audio monitors on the market.
Making In-Ear Monitors Professional Musicians Appreciate
The PRO series of in-ear monitors features JHAudio’s proprietary precision-balanced armatures and integrated three-way crossover to reduce distortion and deliver more accurate sound quality. Noise isolation of up to -26dB reduces background noise for greater sound clarity without increasing the volume to prevent hearing loss that often results from loud music. “Everyone who tries our products is absolutely blown away by the new sound elements and audio levels they hear with our PRO series even from music they’ve listened to a million times before,” said Jerry. “Listening to music through the PRO Series is like sitting right there in the studio mix down room with the sound engineer.”
“Not only is the sound quality unprecedented, but the PRO series is designed to be exceptionally comfortable,” adds the audio pioneer. “They’re custom fit to stay put and built to withstand the head-banging, over-the-top, soaked-with-sweat on-stage performances of professional performers.”
Custom-fit, because customers who order the devices need to visit a professional audiologist who takes an impression of their ear canal. The mold is sent to JHAudio, which will then design the shell piece to precisely match the mold for a truly custom fit. Shells are available in clear and over 50 other custom colors, for an added personal touch. Which also explains the premium pricing – the JH|13 PRO, the world’s first-ever six-driver in-ear monitor that features dual low, mid and high range drivers on board, a frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz, retails for a whopping US$1099. Despite that, JHAudio has found an audophile fan base who revere its products and counts the likes of Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow and many other professional musicians, as fans.
Either You Rock, Or You Suck
JHAudio is fully owned by Jerry Harvey and his wife, and they have no plans to take on any outside investment. “We became profitable in 12 months and the cash flow of the company is enough to fund any future projects.” What keeps Jerry jumping out of bed every morning, he says, are his children, his wife, and the desire to make sure that his business will always be the leader in IEM technology and audio quality.
Jerry admits that, right from the beginning, he never thought of himself as an entrepreneur. “I was tasked with building Alex Van Halen (of the band Van Halen) a better IEM than was available and my goal was to design a tool that worked for him and I,” he says. “It wasn’t until the opening act (Skid Row) asked me if I could build them them same IEM that Alex was using that I realized there was a need for this product in the pro musician market.”
“I think this path actually chose me.”
Jerry says that as entrepreneurs, when beset what seems to be a catastrophic event in business, it is important to look for the silver lining in any dark cloud. “I’ve had at least three (that) actually opens the door for a better opportunity. Learn from the setback, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with the fight.”
“Choose your partners wisely,” cautions Jerry, “and make sure they offset your skill set.” He says his wife and partner Brittany brings to JHAudio the business chops that he himself does not have. “I am creative and she is the business mind of JHAudio.”
To stay competitive and grow his business, Jerry says his strategy continue to introduce ‘a line of cutting-edge universal-fit earphones that outperform the competition’. Continuing to pursue the musician and audiophile market, he says, will be key.
“In my mixing career and in my IEM ventures I have lived by one motto: either you rock, or you suck.” Spoken like a true rocker.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.