Sandy Gross Departs GoldenEar Technology

Back in early January we reported that The Quest Group, California-based owner of AudioQuest, had purchased speaker maker GoldenEar Technology. The following week, I met with GoldenEar co-founder Sandy Gross in the AudioQuest suite at CES and was happy to learn he would be continuing in his old role at the new company for the time being. Well, that time is now up: Gross has announced he is leaving The Quest Group in order to pursue his “many interests.”

Having known Sandy for over two decades, I can attest that he does indeed have many interests outside of music and hi-fi, a key one being collecting art, specifically Mexican and mid-century American Abstract Expressionist painting. After first meeting Sandy at CES back in the mid-1990s, our shared art interest gave us much to talk about aside from audio, although we discussed that as well during his regular visits to drop off speakers at my home for review. Once he made sure they were set up to his liking, we’d then make our way to the nearby Albright-Knox gallery to check out that institution’s world-class collection of Abstract Expressionist works, including Jackson Pollock’s Convergence (see photo above).

As the co-founder of three iconic speaker brands—Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and GoldenEar Technology—Gross has accomplished great things during a long career. We at Sound & Vision wish him the best during his downtime, but also wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up again on the audio scene at some point. Onward and upward, Sandy!

jeffhenning's picture

The cat's got to have some bank and, these days, why not hit the road? Also, once you've sold your company, you're on borrowed time anyway when you stay.

The common paradigm is:
• You sell the company you made from ground up
• The rich people who bought your company keep you on to stay the course while they figure it out
• After a few months or, maybe a year, they bring in people that are much more intelligent to run the company
• The people that made the company what it is are shown the door because they have nothing new to offer
• The new geniuses in charge of the company then run it into the ground because they have no knowledge about the company and no passion for it's products

This has happened too many times to count in the last 4 decades.

For the sake of the employees at GoldenEar, I hope this isn't the case.

Having been brought in by David's Bridal as their first, permanent hire of front end web developer in 2013 only to then be chucked to the curb while the "geniuses" that bought the company drove it into the ground, I've experienced it first hand.

Regardless, Sandy Gross has nothing left to prove. He can walk out with his head high.

Whatever happens from here out with GoldenEar and it's employees is not on him. If I were a GoldenEar employee, though, I'd be sharpening up my resume.

John_Werner's picture

Jeff, you certainly could be correct in your "basic buyout" chain of events. That said these are unusual times. I think both companies and individuals are either choosing or having to re-access where they're at. Simply due to age we knew Mr. Gross would not just reduce his workload, but at a point retire. I hope this is the basic scenario and that they Golden Ear company won't loose focus. Audio is a tough business these days and we need value performance leaders like Golden Ear. They get the respect of the "sky's the limit" crowd as well as the average person who wants the best yet can't afford the crazy high-end stuff that I'm sick of seeing so much simply because a lot of it doesn't trickle down in "the exclusive" club of the high-end who has no interest in the mainstream. Golden Ear is a marvelous exception offering so much for very down-to-earth pricing. I can only hope they learn from Sandy in this regard and neither cheapen or in greediness increase profit margins to "milk" the performance/value legacy Gross has firmly created

jeffhenning's picture

Obviously, Sandy Gross was going to retire sometime and, prior to that, cede the reigns of the company to an heir, a partner or just sell the company when the time and money was right and then hit the road.

The company is too small to buy and then sell for its component pieces for a profit so some entity bought it and, hopefully, they are both successful and great to their employees.

In my case, I joined David's Bridal just in time for all of the bad decisions by the new "geniuses" to take traction. The day after I was laid off, the IRS garnished over 80% of my severance pay since I still owed them back taxes from a few years before. These two circumstances were the reason that I became homeless for a few months at the end of 2015. Not on the street (though within a few days of that), but living in cheap motels and AirBnB's for over 2 months. The few things that I did have that were of value and/or couldn't be replaced easily or at all (my CD/DVD collection, my first bass guitar and a few other things) were put in a 5x5 storage locker. Very grim times.

Fast forward almost 5 years, I've been living in my own house for 3 years, have a great home theater, a better audio system in my bedroom than most people have in their houses and I was working from home way before this pandemic hit. While my current contract may come to a close soon, I'm already interviewing for new gigs.

Having gone through a personal catastrophe, I know that you can come out the other end of it as good or better. It does really suck, though, while it's happening.

hk2000's picture

Won't be long before he starts a new one. Why not? The speaker design is all there, a little tweak here, a twist there, and a new speaker line is born, which he'll sell for $millions on the dollar in just a few years- easy money.