The History of Elac
ELAC is a German loudspeaker manufacturer, founded on September 1, 1926 in Kiel, Germany, as Electroacustic GmbH. The company's mission was to focus on the development of sonar technology and the research of signal and sound channels in air and water.
During World War II, ELAC built electracoustic devices for the Kriegsmarine and other nautical applications, and the company reached a peak of 5,000 staff. After the war, the company transitioned to mainly producing consumer goods, initially building sewing machines and later transitioning into consumer electronics, though it maintained its nautical division. It also distributed goods from foreign firms such as Sony, Fisher Electronics, and Nakamichi within Germany.
ELAC’s passion for music and fascination with sound followed with their first consumer audio product, the PW1 record player in 1948. ELAC continued to lead the burgeoning audio industry with innovative turntables and electronics. During the 1970s and 1980s, every serious music lover had a high-quality turntable, and the fortunate few owned an ELAC, the backbone of the finest sound systems.
In 1978, the firm filed for bankruptcy and the nautical division was sold to the American firm Honeywell and renamed to 'Honeywell-ELAC'. The nautical side of the business would be sold again to L3 Technologies in 1998, Wärtsilä in 2015, and Cohort PLC in 2019.
By 1984, ELAC began designing loudspeakers in conjunction with AXIOM Electroacoustic Speaker Specialists. One year later, ELAC’s newly developed 4Pi omnidirectional tweeter, a driver that combined extended range with broad dispersion, bringing true “high end” to high-end audio. It turned the listening world on its collective ear and launched ELAC into the company of the most elite speaker manufacturers.
ELAC and innovation go hand-in-hand, and in 1993, ELAC introduced the JET folded-ribbon tweeter. With an expanded frequency response up to 35 kHz, the JET tweeter proved that a driver whose response goes beyond the limits of human hearing sounds better over its entire range. The JET has been continually refined and is featured today in both home and automotive applications.
In 2016, ELAC acquired the American audio company Audio Alchemy.
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