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TMCNet:  Weber was an electronics pioneer: Retired engineer known around the world [Kokomo Tribune, Ind.]

[August 18, 2009]

Weber was an electronics pioneer: Retired engineer known around the world [Kokomo Tribune, Ind.]

(Kokomo Tribune (IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 18--Ted Weber was the sort of guy who truly hated to say, "I don't know." He was an electronics wizard who basically was on call for his customers. Anytime he could get near a computer or a phone, day or night, he was fielding questions from some of the most demanding musicians in the world.

Weber, who died Friday at age 58, was a familiar name in the specialized world of high-end, handmade amplifier speakers. Kenny Chesney and Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio both used his speakers. He sold products to Brooks & Dunn and Metallica.

Ted formed Weber Speakers with his son, T.A. Weber, about 14 years ago. Under Ted's technical vision and T.A.'s business acumen, Weber Speakers now has 10 employees in Kokomo and ships speakers and speaker parts around the world.

Monday, the company Web site, www.tedweber.com, had a memorial set up for Ted, complete with a "to-do list." "Build speakers for Jimi. Lunch with Leo and Les. Fix Lennon's amp. Dinner with Miles & Bird. Make Heaven louder ..." it read.

"It is a very difficult time, but Ted would want us to keep this train rolling," T.A. said in a message on the site. "Ted's products and designs have gone all over the world to every inhabited continent. Many of his friends who he has helped over these past years he has never met face to face. He was a teacher to countless musicians and a friend to anyone who needed advice." In an interview this past winter, Weber described the tone he always sought in his speakers as "that warm, juicy, hi-fi sound." What makes Weber Speakers special, Ted said, was that the company basically tries to reproduce what engineers back in the day would have constructed, if they'd been given more freedom by their respective companies.

Engineers working for big companies have always had to listen to the people in accounting, Ted said in that interview. As a result, and in order to mass produce the product, the engineers had to "build sloppier," Ted said.

Each Weber speaker, or speaker restoration, is completed by one individual who uses Ted's specs and does the work from start to finish.

They reproduce vintage amplification with modern technology. They sell everything someone would need to build an amplifier from scratch, with each part carefully vetted by Ted to make sure it meets his tight specs.

But Ted Weber's personal expertise was just as much a part of the business as the products. A self-professed light sleeper, Ted would often stay up late nights, fielding e-mails from foreign time zones, answering questions related to speaker technology, old jazz recordings, you name it.

Working each day with T.A., the father and son admitted the occasional disagreement, but said the partnership never faltered.

"I think it has worked so well because obviously, we love each other," T.A. said during the interview for a story published in the Kokomo Tribune. "We're able to have a blowout about something, and then five minutes later, we're saying, 'What's next?'" "We're both into our families as much as our business," Ted said. "We're not into ourselves and our egos." A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. today at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 3155 S. 200 West, Kokomo, with the Rev. Fr. Ted Dudzinski as the celebrant.

Weber is survived by his wife of 38 years, Connie; his mother, Anie Weber; son and daughter-in-law, T.A. and Heather Weber; and daughter and son-in-law, Teni and Josh Helmberger.

--Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at (765) 454-8569 or via e-mail at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com To see more of the Kokomo Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.kokomotribune.com/.

Copyright (c) 2009, Kokomo Tribune, Ind.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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