a brilliant engineer with an eye for innovative designs and materials, but he
was a poor businessman. His company lost money and by late 1949 was about
$20,000 (roughly $180,000 in 2009 dollars) in debt.
always suffered from bouts of depression. On September 24, 1949, apparently
upset over the decline of his beloved business, the founder of JBL took his own
death his vision and passion for great sound was kept alive.
had a $10,000 life insurance policy, one third of which went to his wife and
the remaining two thirds to the company. Using the company's share, about
$60,000 in 2009 dollars, corporate treasurer William Thomas began to pull the
firm out of debt.
signed contracts for JBL to design new components for cinema audio
manufacturers Ampex and Westrex.
1950s saw the birth of high-quality consumer audio. The phrase "hi-fi" (high
fidelity) became common vocabulary.
hired industrial designer William Hartsfield, who produced a loudspeaker named,
naturally, the Hartsfield. The speaker was a hit, and JBL was suddenly a power
player in home audio.
early 1960s, JBL worked with Capitol Records (home of the Beatles and the Beach
Boys) to develop monitors for recording studios.
Harman was the founder (with Bernard Kardon) of the audio company Harman
Kardon. In 1969 William Thomas sold him JBL. JBL now belonged to Harman
Harman, JBL grew into something close to what it is today: an audio maker that
takes its expertise in theatrical and recording-studio sound systems and
applies it to the home.
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to using its existing technology, JBL spent the 1970s and 1980s developing new
bursts of innovation. In the middle 1970s, for instance, JBL engineers
developed Symmetrical Field GeometryT, a speaker assembly that reduces sonic
distortion. A few years later, the company's engineers created Bi-Radial? horn
technology, which improves sonic performance over a range of frequencies.
JBL and Harman Kardon have a reputation for making great audio products.
been setting new trends in fashion by partnering with sportswear company Roxy
for a line of colourful headphones. They've been devising speakers and players
for new streaming and different sources of entertainment such as
high-definition television, Blu-ray Disc technology and Apple's latest iPod and
iPhone models. And they've been keeping an eye on every other new opportunity
coming down the road such as 4K sound.
Here are some
of the great JBL products being sold in Australia today.