1970 – HOW IT STARTED
A Brief History of RSL Speaker Systems & Rogersound Labs
RSL (Rogersound Labs) started building speakers in 1970. We felt that by selling factory direct and eliminating the profit the dealer and distributors make, we could save the customer a lot of money. In addition, it allowed us to use better quality parts and still keep prices low. As most customers wanted to buy their entire hi-fi in one place, we also offered matching stereo components. We made sure our salespeople were honest, knowledgeable and would never work on commission. At the time we were planning our first models, speaker design generally fell into two categories; East Coast sound and West Coast sound. The East Coast sound was represented by brands like AR and KLH. These were air-suspension speakers that had a smooth response and appealed to audiophiles. The West Coast Sound was represented by brands such as JBL and Altec. These speakers placed emphasis on certain areas of the midrange and bass. Normally, a person would like one type and not the other. We actually saw the validity of both approaches. As a result, we introduced 2 lines of RSL Speakers for fans of both the East and West Coast sounds. We built these speakers in the back room of our small store at 5706 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood (now known as ‘NoHo’), California. We even wound our own crossover coils with a machine that my father made from my mother’s old Singer Sewing Machine. News of our small speaker company spread fast. One day, one of the record producers from nearby Warner Brothers Records came in to listen to our speakers. He was impressed and had to have a set. When he told his friends, they told their friends. Soon RSL Speakers were seen in record companies throughout Southern California. So, it was only natural that we develop models that were specifically studio monitors. They became very popular and evolved over the years. Today people are still enjoying the speakers they purchased from us 40 years ago. In three years, we outgrew our little shop in North Hollywood. In 1973, we moved to a larger building on Van Nuys Blvd, in Van Nuys. Around that time, we designed one of the first high fidelity car speakers. The RSL 44 was a 6″ x 9″ speaker with a tweeter in the middle. By 1979 we had 3 locations and outgrew our Van Nuys headquarters. We decided to buy a new building and relocate our headquarters in Canoga Park. Then a recession hit. It was a difficult time for the entire industry as sales plummeted. During that time we designed the very first high-fidelity outdoor speaker and called it the RSL Outsider. It was quite successful and helped us weather the economic storm. By 1984, we had recovered and added video components. With the introduction of video projectors and laserdisc players, the home theater industry was born.
Our speaker business continued to grow. RSL became one of the largest selling brands of speakers in the recording and broadcast industries, as well as the general public. We went to great lengths to insure, that throughout our growth, customer service was always the top priority. We bought our first computer system around 1986. It was an HP3000. It had less power than a base model cell phone and cost over $200,000 back then (ouch!). We continued to work on speaker design and in the late 1980’s invented and patented our firstCompression Guide speaker. Compression Guide took many years of development and overcame some of our biggest objections to the way speakers were designed and are still being designed today. By 1989, Rogersound Labs had grown to 8 stores and became the #1 audio/video specialty chain in Southern California. In 1989, Rogersound Labs I sold the company and retired. The company was getting too big for me. I had less time to connect with customers and design speakers, both of which I enjoyed immensely. After the sale, I left the company and retired. Unfortunately, the new owners made a lot of changes to the formula that made us successful and the company did not survive. RSL went out of business in 1992, after which I was able to purchase the company’s name back.
The Re-launch Of RSL Speakers
I was enjoying my retirement from Rogersound Labs and decided to embark upon the project of building a home theater for the family. Over the years, I had been thinking about some new approaches to speaker design including refinements to our patented Compression Guide Technology. The home theater project would be an excellent opportunity to test these ideas. So I built speakers using my new design ideas and the finest parts available. The speakers were not intended for mass production. When my audiophile friends heard them, they got really excited and all wanted a set. My oldest son convinced me to re-launch RSL with a new generation of speakers. The problem was RSL Speaker Systems always stood for excellent sound at affordable prices. These new models were very expensive to build and would have to sell for around $2,000 each. Yikes! While they sounded better than other comparably-priced speakers, it’s never been our philosophy to build products that only few could enjoy. So, we decided to use our new speakers as audio standards to see how close we could come to matching their sound at an affordable price. After 3 years we perfected the new speakers. Everyone who heard them agreed that the production models sounded every bit as good as the costly original prototypes. The speakers were finally ready for production. We are thrilled that we can offer these speakers at very reasonable prices. We hope you get the same excitement as we do every time you listen to them…