Howard Schilling is CEO and co-founder of Xhifi, a company dedicated to designing and building audio electronics for the X generation. The Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania-based company focuses on producing high-end sound systems and related products for use with new media such as computers, MP3 players and gaming consoles.
Schilling, 38, comes from a family with decades of groundbreaking accomplishments in the high fidelity industry. His father Mel, who is chairman of Xhifi, helped pioneer the high-end audio retail market in 1968 with the first "audio salon" in the country. That store, Music and Sound, eventually had locations in both Pennsylvania and California, and helped put high-end audio brands such as Magnepan, Infinity and Audio Research Corporation on the map. Mel Schilling then entered the manufacturing and distribution sector with Music and Sound Imports in 1981.
Howard Schilling joined Music and Sound Imports in 1990 while also holding a variety of other audio/video-related retail and distribution positions. With the emerging digital revolution then causing upheaval in the industry, father and son decided to help bring high-end audio into the digital age with the founding of Camelot Technology that same year. Today, Camelot is a highly regarded maker of specialty audio and home theater products best known for a $3,995 DVD player called The Round Table. Howard Schilling is president; his father is CEO.
At the height of the dot-com boom in 1999, Howard went on a two-year hiatus from Camelot in order to get a firmer grasp on the new world of Internet and MP3 technology that was once again turning the audio industry upside down. He joined a venture capital firm in Florida, gained valuable insights into the convergence movement that is fusing the functions of the traditional family room-based entertainment system with the newer entertainment capabilities of the computer, and returned to Pennsylvania with a vision that turned into Xhifi.
The vision was to create a company that would help bridge the gap between specialty audio/video and computer and gaming applications by bringing superior-quality sound and video to today's computer and gaming platforms in the kinds of deluxe packages expected by traditional audio- and videophiles.
The Schillings launched Xhifi in March 2003 and introduced their first product at MacWorld in New York in July: a $795 multimedia loudspeaker system called the Xducer 2.1 that is small enough to sit on the desktop, finished in European cherry, and combines innovative drivers developed by JVC Japan with a custom 50 watt Class "D" digital amplifier that is the work of Xhifi. The product is designed to deliver audiophile-quality sound on computers, gaming consoles and digital music players.
The Schillings are joined in the Xhifi venture by Doug Goldberg, a senior engineer at Northrop Grumman Corporation who holds legendary status in the world of specialty audio. Goldberg is Chief Technical Officer of Xhifi as well as Vice President of Engineering for Camelot Technology, and he has designed acclaimed products for some of the best-known brands in the specialty audio industry.