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 The ELAC-Story 1908 The beginning of something can never really be proved by a date. Rather, it is the result which marks the beginning: a printed book, a finished painting or the record of the foundation of a company in the files of the municipal court. For example in Kiel, on September 1, 1926. It all began, however, much earlier - in 1908. On April 15, 1908, Dr Phil Heinrich Hecht started working in Kiel in the realm of underwater sound technology.   1911 In 1911, Neufeld & Kuhnke founded an associate company, the Signalgesellschaft GmbH, managed by Dr Phil Hecht, Dr Phil Wilhelm Rudolph, Walter Hahnemann, and Gerhard Schmidt.     1926 After the confusion following World War I, on September 1, 1926, the associates Dr Hecht, Gerhard Schmidt, and Dr Rudolph founded the ELECTROACUSTIC GmbH. Their knowledge of soundings, underwater and air signal and sound location leads to a dramatic rise.     1945 Full stop. 1/20 of the former employees (1944: 5.000) works on underwater starts working on sound technology again; existence, however, is secured by the production of ?hightech products? like sewing machines, air pumps and car accessories. Through extraneous orders, the company learns to produce large quantities economically and under strict quality controls.   1948 In 1948, all Siemens radios come from Kiel. The Electroacustic is alive once more: is not only the year of a new currency. It is also the crucial year for the future way of ELAC. On December 14, 1948, the first turntable is completed. And one year later, there are already 5.600 turntables of the brand ELAC. The first of 4 million to come. Sound transmission is perfected: At the end of 1945, the Kiel company again produces Seignette salt crystals of great purity. The first crystal pick-up, KST 1, with screw-in sapphire stylus, on a former of a special magnesium alloy, needs only 270 mN tracking force (comparative standard in those days: 600 to 1200 mN.)   1956 ELAC, Kiel, is the top address for turntables. The entire world market is shared between three German companies: Dual, ELAC, and Perpetuum Ebner, with 90 % market share.   1957 On October 30, 1957, a patent for an "electro-magnetic pick-up for two-channel record modulation" is applied for. The patent No 1 105 628 paves the way for the entire record reproduction industry and establishes ELAC?s reputation as the leading pick-up specialist. Throughout the world, licenses were given to renowned companies like Shure. This patent and the daughter patents formed the basis for the pick-up principle known today by "Moving-Magnet Systems", or simply MM systems.   1967 ELAC hi-fi magnet pick-ups could already be operated with tracking forces below 10 mN. Together with the pick-ups, which became ever more refined and allowed higher tracing precision from generation to generation, the turntables were brought to perfection.   1978 Despite the increasing turnover, in the 1970s the next cloud showed on the ELAC horizon. 1978 the company is split in two. The nautic realm is taken over by the famous enterprise Honeywell. The phono realm is turned into ELAC Ingenieurtechnik. Work goes on with a reduced programme range and noticeably less employees. The company concentrates on other spheres, such as industrial robots.     1981 On Juli 8, 1981, the marketing and distribution company John & Partner takes over the sales activities of ELAC hi-fi products.   Two months later, on the occasion of the Berlin Funkausstellung (IFA) the first pick-up system with v.d.Hul-II stylus cut, the ESG 796 H, is presented and causes quite a stir. The success in the consumer electronics sector could not compensate for the other activities. Once more, the company has to be reorganised.   1982 On January 1, 1982, the partners of the John & Partner Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH take over control of ELAC?s destiny and found today?s ELAC.   After some relatively quiet years, ELAC is awakened from its long sleep for new activities. Together with the highly agile professional hi-fi staff, a Moving-Coil pick-up patent is presented with ELAC?s EMC 1 pick-up, continuing the inventive spirit of the past. New inventions and products follow in quick succession. 1982 The first international agent - Bleuel Electronic AG - is authorised to distribute ELAC products in Switzerland. 1984 In 1984 the Kiel company extends its programme range to include loudspeakers. The loudspeaker company AXIOM Elektroakustik GmbH is integrated into ELAC. New concepts of the dispersion characteristic of loudspeaker drivers are put into practice.   1985 A further patent: with the 4Pi tweeter technology ELAC manages the leap into the world elite of loudspeakers. At the same time ELAC starts working on room-acoustic research. The developers´ team studies ´micro acoustics´ (questions about drive unit, baffle, etc, i.e. everything regarding the loudspeaker as such), as well as te secrets of ´macro acoustics´ (i.e. influences of a room on the acoustics). By means of a sophisticated computer simulation program, the interplay of all the components (hi-fi + room+ listener) is simulated. For any customer buying ELAC loudspeakers, ELAC as a special service calculates the optimum placement of loudspeakers in the individual room for free.     1987 The design of the Zero Line cabinet is registered.   1989 The know-how in this field enables the design of drivers optimised for their specific application scope. For example a 25mm special tweeter, whose dome and voice coil former are made in one piece from an aluminium magnesium manganese alloy to provide extreme rigidity and guarantee reliable performance Best Product of the Japanese journal Stereo Sound (170-4Pi) 1990 To make the know-how in the realms of acoustics, loudspeaker technology, and informatics accessible to more customers, on October 1, 1990, the subsidiary company ELAC Technische Software GmbH is founded. ETS works on the development of comprehensive computer program packages enabling the calculation of the most complex bass reflex speakers with even the most extraordinary membrane shapes and the room-acoustic influences on loudspeaker performance. "Innovation Award Transducers" of the Dutch journal HiFi Video Totaal   1992 To further use and extend the know-how in the field of electroncis, in 1992 the development and production of the trademark Linear Acoustic, hitherto distributed only as a brand, is integrated into ELAC. Design Award of the Dutch journal HiFi Video Totaal (ELM 408)   1993 On the occasion of the IFA Berlin, woofers and midrange units with aluminium-sandwich membranes, which provide particular precision and rigidity, are introduced for the first time in the Elegant Series. Product of the Year of the magazine HiFi Review (4Pi Plus) A further milestone is the takeover of A.R.E.S., an insider loudspeaker brand, through ELAC in 1993. The legendary Air Motion Transformer of hi-fi pioneer Oskar Heil is further perfected by ELAC in the JET tweeter.   1994 The new long-stroke woofers with aluminium-sandwich membranes from ELAC?s proprietary driver production prove exceptional with regard to precision and power handling. Kiel Environment Award for special achievements to preserve natural resources and ameliorate unfavourable living conditions in the region of Kiel.     1995 Award of the Studies and Promotion Association Schleswig-Holstein e.V. as Environment Friendly Enterprise for the Development of an Integrated Ecological Management System. Design & Engineering Award "Innovation", USA (Elegant 305) The breakthrough of ELAC surround concept is confirmed by the award ´Product of the Year´ of the magazine Stereoplay, Germany (Cinema)   1996 Best Buy of the Year, HiFi-Review, Hong Kong (Elegant 305) Inexpensive products supplement the product range and make A.R.E.S. a considerable growth factor for sales in the consumer class.     Certification according to DIN EN ISO 14001 and EU Standard 1836/93 (Ecological Audit) through the Germanic Lloyd as the first enterprise in the court district Kiel. ELACs aluminium-sandwich membranes are presented in silver for the first time. The shiny silver drivers, which are used in the CL Series, visualise ELAC?s major competences - innovation and longevity. Super AV Award magazine Super AV, Hong Kong (Elegant 305)   1997 1.7.1997 ELAC terminates pick-up production to make room for extensions to the loudspeaker production (woofer production and new voice coil production). HiFi Review Award, Hong Kong (211-4 Pi) IF-Product Design Award, Germany (CL Series) Diapason D´Or HiFi, France (Elegant 305). ELAC is the first German loudspeaker manufacturer to receive the ´Golden Tuning Fork´. With the help of the computer program CALE, developed by ELAC´s subsidiary ELAC Technische Software, loudspeakers are tuned to optimised acoustic power, which allows even better coverage of a room.     1998 The flagship among ELAC loudspeakers is introduced: the Spirit of Music - a worldwide reference. This is also the year of the appearance of the smallest JET loudspeaker: ELAC 310i JET. In accordance with the "insourcing principle" and to further enhance the know-how, ELAC buys a magnet production and from 1999 produces its own magnet systems. Baden-Württemberg International Design Award (CL Series)   6. September 1998 ELAC: one name, one brand, one enterprise. To concentrate all powers and focus on their particular strengths, the associates decide to merge the companies JOHN & PARTNER Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH and ELAC Phonosysteme GmbH on July 1, 1998. At the same time ELAC regains its traditional name. The ELAC Phonosysteme GmbH is renamed ELAC ELECTROACUSTIC GMBH.   Diapason D´Or HiFi, France (Elt 7)   Award for Ecological Management by the ASU (Association of Self-Employed Entrepreneurs e.V.)     1999 At the Berlin IFA, ELAC causes a stir with "talking pictures" - the first ELAC distributed mode loudspeakers. Design Award Schleswig-Holstein (CL 310) Components of The Year Award, magazine Stereo Sound, Japan (CL 310 JET) 2000 The design focus is broadened: a design registration of ELAC designer Wilfrid Werner´s Lancet Design has been applied for. ELAC´s proprietary know-how of DML loudspeakers has resulted in the application for a German patent on a "moulded part to mount an exciter on a flat panel speaker". This patent has been granted on 5/24/2002 resulting in the application for an European patent which has been granted on the 10/10/2002. 2001 A "special circuit for flat panel speakers" enabling a smooth frequency response of a panel has been applied for a patent (granting of the patent on 2/23/2002). Also patents in the realm of active electronics have been applied for: patent for "ESP". ESP is a frequency- and power-dependent electronic stabilisation program. China's leading HiFi magazine "AVPHILE" rated ELAC on No. 3 of all well-known foreign loudspeaker manufacturers in 2001, HiVi Grand Prix 2001 of the Japanese magazine "HiVi" for the ELAC CINEMA 3 ESP Set Award of the Chinese HiFi magazine "Audio Land" for CINEMA 1 ESP Set and CL 310i JET.   The designs of the 2 Series, the grill of the CINEMA Series, and tweeter HT 25 Alu KST (wave guide) are registered.     The magnet production (integrated in 1999) has yielded an increase in know-how: a utility model of "electro-dynamical loudspeakers with neodymium pill" (neodymium-powered high-energy magnet system) has been registered. 2002 Together with Siemens VDO, joint application for "Use of loudspeakers in air ducts of passenger vehicles" Together with Siemens VDO, joint application for "Use of exciters in air ducts of passenger vehicles"     What HI-FI Award, England's Best Buy up to 500 Pounds for ELAC CINEMA 1 ESP   Awarding of the Outstanding Component & Best Buy Component Award by the Chinese specialist journal "Super AV", honoring ELAC 205 JET and CINEMA 3 ESP. 2003 Awarding of the Components of the Year Award 2002 by Chinese specialist journal "Audioland", honoring CINEMA 3 ESP and CINEMA XL CENTER. CINEMA 3 ESP awarded with Best Performance of the Year 2002, presented by Taiwanese magazine "Prime AV". New ideas meet the demands on quality, science and research. This used to be the basis in 1926. This is the basis today.