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Home Audio Maker NHT Going On Hiatus

Benicia, Calif. — Home audio supplier

“It’s time to turn down the lights: NHT is going quiet,” said co-founder Chris Byrne in an email to industry members. “Over the next 60 days, we’re going to sell the remaining professional and consumer inventory through our existing dealers and distributors, pay our bills, and then spend time rethinking the future of NHT.”

March 31 will likely be “the last day of ‘regular’ business, at least for now,” he said. “We intend to offer customer service and repair services for both in and out of warranty, available ongoing.”

Byrne said the company is not bankrupt but that “this difficult economy provided the right opportunity for the change in strategy we felt has been necessary for some time.” He continued, “It’s all about the realities of the world and how consumer attitudes are changing, and how we as a brand and an industry can best respond to the need for real invention. We’re anxious to get moving. When we do, it will be in the right direction.”

NHT began life in 1986 as a co-venture of Byrne and speaker designer Ken Kantor. In 1990, the company was purchased by International Jensen, the home and car speaker company, which in turn was later purchased by Recoton. In late 2002, Rockford purchased NHT from Recoton, which was selling off assets in an unsuccessful attempt to stave off liquidation.

In November 2005, as part of a restructuring plan to focus on the 12-volt business, Rockford sold NHT to Niwot, Colo.-based Vinci Labs, a former Flextronics division that designs DSP and surround processor chips and boards. In early 2008, Vinci sold NHT to a trio of people, including Byrne. The other owners are former NHT sales and marketing VP John Johnsen and Jim Pyle, a former owner of two logistics businesses and no relation to the founders of Pyle car audio.

NHT, owned by multiple companies since it was founded in 1986, is going on hiatus for an undetermined period of time, company owners announced.