The History of Snell Acoustics

Founded in 1976, Snell Acoustics has been manufacturing world-renowned high-end loudspeakers for nearly 30 years. It all began in 1974 when Peter Snell became determined to build a loudspeaker that achieved lower levels of coloration through careful attention to on and off axis response. Two Snell innovations, a novel low diffraction cabinet and .5dB production crossover tuning were required to satisfy Peter’s high standards. In 1976 Peter introduced the highly refined Type A loudspeaker that launched Snell Acoustics.

The company began in a small space in Newburyport, Ma. By 1982, Snell had grown too large for the Newburyport factory. It was then that Snell moved to Haverhill, Ma.

In 1983, Peter Snell designed two new models to round out the Snell Line-up, the Type C and the Type K. These would be the last speakers designed by Peter Snell. On September 20, 1984, Peter Snell died in the factory from a heart attack. Shortly after Peter’s death, Dr. William Osgood, then a business consultant to Peter, assumed ownership of Snell Acoustics.

In 1985, Kevin Voecks became the Chief Engineer for Snell and would remain for the next 10 years. In 1990, Snell teamed up with Lucasfilm™ to design the first line of THX™ loudspeakers, the 500 series and first In-Wall THX system, the 800 Series.

In 1995, a Danish company, AudioNord, part owner of Snell Acoustics, bought Dr. Osgood's interest. They in turn, sold Snell Acoustics to Boston Acoustics. In June, Snell Acoustics became a wholly owned subsidiary of Boston Acoustics. David Smith was hired as the Chief Engineer.

At the 1997 CES, Snell debuted their first new line under Boston Acoustic’s ownership, the .5 Series. The series, conceived for music and movies, and flexible room placement, featured Snell’s first powered sub, a bipole surround, and the award winning K.5.

In 2003, Joseph D’Appolito Ph.D. succeeded David Smith as Snell’s chief Engineer. He is best known for the D’Appolito Array which he developed in 1983. Uniquely, he is the author of the world’s only book on loudspeaker testing.

In 2005, Snell and Boston Acoustics were purchased by D&M Holdings. D&M quickly funded the building of a state of the art cabinet factory. Together with Snell’s engineering and manufacturing team, Snell now resides with Boston Acoustics in a 150,000sf modern factory in Peabody, MA.

Snell Acoustics has been designing and manufacturing premium high-end loudspeakers for 30 years. Unique in-house cabinet construction, handcrafting and .5dB system tuning have always given Snell its performance edge. New models carry on in these traditions and add new qualities of world-class industrial design and many useful performance innovations. Snell’s mission remains unchanged; design and handcraft standard setting loudspeakers that customers will treasure for a lifetime.