Modern audio enthusiasts know that the name Harman translates to quality, and one of that international firm's major subsidiaries is JBL. This American audio electronics company has a long and impressive history of its own and easily merits the same reputation as its parent company.
Started in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing (from which the firm's acronym comes), and it has always focused on optimal sound equipment.
The firm began officially as Lansing Sound in 1946, and it was already off to a good start since its founder had become a well known engineer in the audio component industry. That first year in business, the company created two products - a loudspeaker unit and a high frequency driver to be used with it.
The quality of these initial designs was so advanced that the driver remained a major part of the company's offerings well into the 1970s. However, one of the firm's premier innovations was a fifteen-inch transducer, and this too was such a revelation that it remained a key product for another fifty-plus years.
Unfortunately, an early partnership with one company came to an end when that firm was purchased by another. This led Lansing to reorganize his business, and this is when it took the JBL name.
Sadly, the business struggled in these first few years, leaving its founder deep in debt. This led to his tragic suicide, but the firm persisted, and in 1949 it was placed in the hands of Bill Thomas - the VP who would steer the company out of tragedy and into remarkable success and long term growth.
Under his leadership the firm created some of its most innovative products, and its engineers designed components that are still sought after today.
The company was divided into consumer and professional divisions, and by the 1950s many of the professional components were industry standards in recording studios and with manufacturers of musical instruments like Fender guitar.
The company thrived, and in 1969 it was sold to Jervice Corp. Under their leadership the JBL brand became one of the most famous in the market. They created their Northridge line of speakers, which were one of the most frequently purchased consumer models, and their professional gear only grew in prestige. It became the preferred speaker for touring rock bands (and were put to use at the famous Woodstock event), and the creation of THX surround sound gave the speakers an even larger audience in cinemas and theaters.
The company also created relationships with automakers to develop their vehicle audio systems. The JBL brand is currently the system of choice in all Toyota and Ferrari made vehicles.
As JBL has grown and changed over time, it has fine tuned its products for specific market segments. Today, their consumer product line is enormous and includes:
Wireless - This includes portable speakers, wireless home speakers and astonishingly advanced wireless headphones.
Headphones - This range offers in- and over-the-ear units.
Home Audio - Comprehensive options include computer speakers, home theater packages, and more.
Car and Marine systems - Whether it is a subwoofer for an advanced auto system or a speaker for a boat, they make a full line available.
Professional - This is an entirely separate division of JBL, and it is currently the leading maker and marketer of professional loudspeakers for broadcasting, performance, and more.
Many of the consumer products feature advance functions such as Bluetooth technologies, built-in microphones, and clip-on options for portability. These features demonstrate that JBL remains firmly in touch with its entire market, and meets the needs of a truly wireless, mobile, and "audio" generation.
JBL remains an American firm that is based in Northridge, CA. It specializes in direct to consumer sales through its website and extends a range of warranty options that demonstrate the quality of the products.
Though JBL is no longer independent, it has remained as innovative as when it first began. It is a world leader in sound reproduction, whether it is for a few thousand fans at a rock concert or one person sitting in a home theater, the products produced by JBL are meant to deliver optimal sound. They are also designed to endure, and many owners happily use their equipment for years without any loss of quality.
JBL. Warranties. JBL.com. 2014.