• 09-10-2010

    Local company wins big with music invention

    Two Westlake residents have patented and launched a new music accessory that appears well on the way to improving the sound coming out of acoustic guitars everywhere.

    The small plastic ring called the O-PORT flexes and pops inside the round sound hole of a standard or electric acoustic guitar, focusing and directing the outward-bound air, providing richer sound, better tone balance and less feedback, say Raymond McGlamery and David Terrell, who helped found Dare Music Group in 2007. DMG launched the O-PORT, its first product, in 2009.

    “The air inside an acoustic guitar is moving around in random directions,” McGlamery said. “The O-PORT holds that air inside, changing the way the sound resonates through the body of the guitar. Its shape controls the movement of sound waves created by string vibration. When the sound does come out, it comes out at a higher rate of speed – giving it more power, better clarity and fuller sound.”

    “It doesn’t change the unique way your guitar sounds,” Terrell said. “It just makes that sound much richer and much better.”

    McGlamery and Terrell aren’t alone in their praise of the O-PORT. The response from the music industry to the new product has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the response was dramatic enough to tempt music giant D’Addario, one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of strings and other music accessories to partner with DMG earlier this year in the worldwide distribution of the new product.
    “Acoustic guitars in general have this boom to them,” said Stuart Sullivan at Austin-based Wire Recording Studio. “What this thing seems to do is equalize that out within the natural guitar resonance, giving it more body.”

    Originally launched in Europe at the Music Messe Fair in Frankfurt Germany in April 2009, the O-PORT has patent and distribution agreements in place there as well as in the U.S., Asia and Italy. DMG’s distribution agreement with Planet Waves, the accessories affiliate of D’Addario, provides for coverage in 120 countries worldwide. The O-PORT hit American markets during a world launch party at the Austin Gibson Showroom in July and at the National Association of Music Merchants show in Nashville the same month.

    The sound enhancer is now carried in Guitar Center stores nationwide. It retails for $30, but Guitar Center offers the O-PORT at $19.99.
    “In little more than a year, we have gone from a prototype to having our product sold by the largest musical retailer in the world,” Terrell said.
    McGlamery, who handled prototype development for the O-PORT, comes from a long history in the music business, at times working as a vice president at Warner Brothers and vice president of Rock Promotions at Reprise Records. Terrell, who has handled much of the marketing of the product, comes from a retail background with product design experience at The Gap and Macy’s. Artist and music engineer Eric Schidt, also a founding member of DMG, invented the O-PORT. The company has three more new music products in development, with two in the final stages set for launch next year.

    All of the products brought to market by DMG are new ideas, not new versions of something that already exists, McGlamery said.
    “We are at the point where we have become a really good conduit for inventors,” he said. “Most guys don’t know what to do with it after they come up with a good product. We have that experience.”

    The two Westlake entrepreneurs say that the majority of the work that went into the development of the O-PORT was done right here in Austin, from logo and packaging design to promotional strategy.

    “We want to be known as an Austin music company,” Terrell said. “You see Austin in everything we do. We’re proud of Austin. We want everyone to know that’s where we’re located.”

    With the distribution of the O-PORT well established, McGlamery said the challenge for DMG in the near future would be in finding new capital to finance the research and development of new products.

    The O-Port can be used on any acoustic guitar with a round sound hole. It comes in two colors and sizes for guitars with a smaller (3.375” to 3.5”) and bigger (3.843” to 4”) sound hole.



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