Kevin Nelson may be homeless, but his story isn't so different from countless other speaker designers I've met. Aspiring speaker designers never had it easy, but nowadays it's a lot tougher to break into the business.
Nelson says he first started building speakers when he was a kid in high school, tinkering with drivers and building cabinets. With a few investors lined up, and prospects looking good, he was planning on exhibiting his inventiveness at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year.
The U.S. Navy veteran's personal life, however, took a turn for the worse. He is currently living in a shelter in California.
Nelson never wanted to build just another speaker. No, his Zealth speaker produces stereo sound from a single box. Nelson devised special "Crossfire Imaging" crossover networks to produce stereo sound from a single speaker (the crossover is the part of the speaker that routes treble frequencies to the tweeter, bass to the woofer, etc.).
In other words, there's a right and left channel in each Zealth Audio speaker cabinet. He started working on the stereo from one speaker concept in 1989, then spent years of hard work refining the design.
Nelson isn't opposed to using two speakers, and he feels the sound is even better with two. He says, "When the speakers are set up just right, and you're sitting in the zone, the two speakers disappear."
I was impressed with his drive to succeed. Before he was homeless, Nelson sold 35 pairs of speakers through word of mouth and on eBay. When compared to those of Polk, KEF, Klipsch, and others, the Zealth speakers, which sell for less than $1,000 per pair, have come out on top.
Nelson, whose company is called Zealth Audio Loudspeakers, is currently looking for investors so he can start full-scale production.
Interested parties can contact Kevin Nelson via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.