Renkus-Heinz: A 45-Year Legacy of Audio Excellence

Published: May 29, 2024
Photo courtesy of Renkus-Heinz.

It’s not every day that a once-small business that has since grown into a pioneering force in audio technology marks its 45th anniversary, a milestone that underlines the vision it has brought to our industry. But Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Renkus-Heinz isn’t an everyday audio company. Its founding values of innovation, commitment, integrity and passion suffuse the operation to this day, laying the foundation not only of its remarkable past but also for its exciting next chapter.

Renkus-Heinz: A Family Business Success Story

Renkus-Heinz was founded in 1979 when partners Harro Heinz and Algis Renkus created a small business with the rather daring mission — namely, to redefine the audio technology space and raise the bar for audio and loudspeaker performance. Since 1979, the company has grown exponentially, burnishing its reputation as a world leader in sound engineering. Renkus-Heinz has been a family-run business since Harro Heinz bought out his partner in the early years. Today, three generations of the Heinz family, including Harro’s son, Ralph Heinz, continue to drive the company’s success.

Ralph Heinz, the company’s CTO, brings extensive experience and a deep understanding of mechanical engineering to the team. Indeed, his mechanical engineering experience has driven many of the company’s sound technology advancements. Perhaps the best example of his innovative contributions can be found in the proprietary UniBeam algorithm, a technology that crafts asymmetric beams and utilizes the entire array for all frequencies. This unique approach allows louder beams to be projected further into the room, ensuring consistency from front to back.

UniBeam is, of course, only one Renkus-Heinz creation that Heinz has contributed significantly to. And, in an interview with Commercial Integrator, he spends some time reflecting on his ongoing career journey. He holds his first loudspeaker design, the C2, especially close to his heart. This personal investment in product creations underlines the unwavering dedication to, and passion for, sound technology that typify company associates.

Renkus-Heinz Audio Technology Wows at Industry Events

Not coincidentally, Renkus-Heinz, over its 45-year history, has steadily expanded its influence worldwide, building partnerships and being represented at events in France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Indonesia and beyond. The growth across four-and-a-half decades is remarkable, and it underpins why Renkus-Heinz is a traffic magnet at industry events like InfoComm, where the company will exhibit (Booth #C9620, Demo Room N113) next month.

Heinz views these trade shows and conferences as an incredible way to gauge the future of audio innovation. “I think these events are great opportunities to learn what is trending in the industry; what is important to our customers; and their needs outside of what we may be presenting at the show,” he reflects. Heinz also points to the hundreds of brands alongside which Renkus-Heinz and its technologies sit. “Competition is good for the audio industry,” he adds. “It inspires ideas for improvement that would not come from working in a lab. We like to contribute to the audio industry’s education where we can; an example is the Consultants’ Breakfast we host each year at InfoComm.”

Although Harro Heinz and Algis Renkus might not have foreseen it 45 years ago, Renkus-Heinz is now central to the sonic experience at major event spaces, retailers, healthcare facilities, commercial buildings and other demanding environments. Also worth noting is the company’s integrator-friendliness. In fact, on Renkus-Heinz’s website, designers and integrators will find a step-by-step guide to help them choose loudspeakers and sound solutions that fit the unique needs their environments present. What’s more, Renkus-Heinz boasts the production capacity for quick turnaround of customized products, a capability largely attributable to its fully operational in-house manufacturing facility in Foothill Ranch.

Renkus Heinz: The Vantage Point of an Audio Innovator

Some 45 years on, Renkus-Heinz speaks from the vantage point of being a recognized audio innovator. Heinz reflects on some of the developments that created that reputation, explaining that the company’s ICONYX range of steerable speakers was an early innovation “which elevated the category from simple, though effective, voice systems to being capable of true high fidelity, while still providing the best intelligibility in the worst acoustic environments.” Heinz further explains that the company’s focus on finding improvements in transducers, amplifiers and software has allowed Renkus-Heinz to maintain and grow its lead on competitors. According to Heinz, “While some competition is coming out with their first iterations of steerable columns, we have been busy expanding the category to larger and higher-powered concert-level systems like the ICLive X Series,” which Heinz counts as his personal favorite.

Renkus-Heinz’s ability to innovate in loudspeaker manufacturing and sound design is deeply rooted in its loyal customers. The company’s process begins with active listening with its end users and consultants; in so doing, Heinz and the team aim to understand the unique challenges and requirements that their applications present. This valuable feedback, including customer insights regarding other industry players, forms the basis of the company’s ever-evolving vision. Renkus-Heinz’s customer-centric approach is evident in its focus on steerable speakers, which offer high directivity and adaptable coverage to suit a wide range of venues. The steerable ICLive X, the current “halo product,” reflects this adaptability, earning industry acclaim in the process.

Building an Audio Legacy

In Renkus-Heinz, the Heinz family and their associates have spent the past 45 years building an audio legacy. And to mark this milestone anniversary, Renkus-Heinz is looking to the past for guidance and the future for inspiration. Asked about his father’s legacy, Heinz reminisced about how the business has always been operated efficiently and professionally. “My father, Harro, has always operated Renkus-Heinz as a professionally run, fiscally conservative business,” he remarks. “He is proud that we have never had to go to a bank for a loan. All our growth has been self-funded by reinvesting all after-tax profit into the business.” Importantly, fiscal conservatism is perfectly compatible with wide-ranging innovation. Heinz continues, “[Harro] has given me near free rein with all my R&D pursuits despite that [conservatism]. Early innovations like CoEntrant, Complex Conic and, more recently, scaled-up steerable arrays like ICLive X and steering tools like OmniBeam all came about because of his faith in me. He let me try!”

Just as Renkus Heinz’s past is storied, its future is promising. Nowhere is that truer than in the software department. According to Heinz, software is the first point of contact for their end-user operators. After all, software is central to system setup and control, which naturally precedes hearing a sound. In recent times, Renkus-Heinz introduced the OmniBeam algorithm within BeamWare, significantly reducing the effort required to steer speakers’ sonic output directly to the audience. Heinz also hinted at some exciting developments, including 3D steering and next-generation network platforms, which are set to enhance the company’s product offerings further.

More broadly, as Heinz and his family look ahead, Renkus-Heinz will continue to build on its legacy of innovation. That means focusing on software development and other exciting advancements already in the pipeline. But it also means an ongoing commitment to meeting client needs, ensuring its products remain fixtures in any and every environment in which sonic excellence cannot be compromised.

B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East