Electro-Voice (commonly referred to as EV) is an American manufacturer of audio equipment, including microphones, amplifiers, and loudspeakers, aimed at pro audio and recently car audio as well. As a subdivision of Telex Communications Inc. since February 1998, Electro-Voice markets its products for use in small or large concert venues, broadcasting, houses of worship, and in retail situations.
On September 1, 1927, Lou Burroughs and Albert R. Kahn began a small business servicing radio receivers in South Bend, Indiana. As a result of the Great Depression, the two found themselves insolvent to the extent of $5,000. They decided to move their business to audio products, and on June 1, 1930, they incorporated under the name "Electro-Voice".
That year, the company designed a PA system for Knute Rockne, the famous coach of the Notre Dame football team at the time. Knute called his new system his "Electric Voice", which inspired the name of the company.
"Early PA (Public Address) speakers were little more than electric bullhorns, with no regard for fidelity, dispersion, or coverage. Understanding these limitations and challenges led Electro-Voice to develop both the multi-element Compound Diffraction horn and the Constant Directivity horn to improve coverage, clarity, and off-axis fidelity. The renowned RE20 microphone combines tuned phase ports on the capsule with precision venting in the mic casing to create the classic Variable-D broadcast tone and to improve off-axis response." Burroughs and Kahn perceived an opportunity to capitalize on what they perceived as the generally poor quality and high prices of existing microphones. They purchased a lathe and a drill and started producing about one microphone a week. Soon after, Burroughs withdrew from the business, leaving complete ownership to Kahn. By 1933, the previous business debts were completely paid off, and Electro-Voice began hiring employees to help in the production of the products. In 1936, twenty people were hired, and Lou Burroughs returned as chief engineer.
During World War II, EV had developed the differential noise-canceling technique, many may recognize in headphones today. Noise cancelling microphones were instrumental to fighter and bomber airplane, tank, battleship and ground troop radio communications. EV licensed the patent to the government for free to be applied by other manufacturers to produce what was needed for the war supply.
In 1946, the business moved to a bigger facility and expanded its engineering efforts. In 1948, they began successfully producing phonograph pickup cartridges. In 1950, they started production of the first automatic TV booster, which sold in great quantities. They also started to design and produce a consumer loudspeaker line, a timely move for the advent of the Hi-Fi boom. The Compound Diffraction Horn invention, changed the look and performance the traditional cone-shaped paging horn. Known for its high output, the CDP was deployed by the Navy for carrier and other high noise environments.
The Variable D microphone was a significant invention. Most microphones exhibit a build up of bass the closer you get to them. This essentially changes the tonal balance of a source, depending upon the distance. And if the distance changes there are swings frequency response (tone). The Variable-D, as pictured with Stevie Wonder, solved this and is the most popular broadcast announce microphone for that reason.
Typical high frequency horns, used in many professional sound speakers until the late seventies, had uneven dispersion of high frequencies. When in front of them the highs beamed and going off to the sides the highs were lower. The Constant Directivity Horn was invented at EV, where there was an even balance of frequencies across the listening field. This is now a common horn type in every concert sound system you might hear.
In the late 1980s, EV became the first microphone manufacturer to use neodymium magnets in its microphones. The N/DYM microphones were introduced in the mid 1980s to provide higher output, greater high frequency response like a condenser mic, but yet rugged as a dynamic mic. Around the same time EV's first wireless microphones were being produced.
In the early 1970s, EV developed the first commercial system for matrix four channel stereo called Stereo-4. When Columbia/CBS and Sony developed their Stereo Quadraphonic system (SQ) that system become the leading matrix system and Electro-Voice adapted their decoders so they also could play SQ records as well as Sansui's QS records. The EV system could also simulate four channel sound from two channel sources.
Prior to the February 1998 merger with Telex Communications, the company was owned by Mark IV Industries, Inc. through its subsidiary, Gulton Industries, Inc., and had manufacturing plants in Buchanan, Michigan; Newport, Tennessee; Sevierville, Tennessee; and Gananoque, Ontario. Electro-Voice's headquarters were in Buchanan, Michigan until the merger with Telex Communications.
In June 2006, EV, along with all of Telex Communications, became part of Bosch Security Systems division. Today EV manufactures widely used broadcast microphones as well as loudspeakers and various other professional audio equipment.
- Lou Burroughs, co-founder, chief engineer
- Albert "Al" Kahn, co-founder
- Wayne A. Beaverson, microphone engineer
- Don Keele, Jr, loudspeaker engineer
- John Gilliom, horn engineer
- Ray Newman, chief engineer
- David Gunness, loudspeaker engineer
- David Carlson, loudspeaker engineer
- Bill Gelow, vice president of engineering
- Jim Long, vice president of marketing and audio educator
- "EV 80: Hear Us Now". www.electrovoice.com. Bosch Security Systems, Inc. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Electro-Voice at AMS". American Musical Supply. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
- Al Kahn (1953). "EV Company History". Archived from the original on 2008-12-12.
- SEC Info - Mark IV Industries Inc - 10-K - For 2/29/96 - EX-21
- "Electro-Voice plant closing in Buchanan". South Bend Tribune. 2001-11-09. Archived from the original on 2001-11-10. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
- TELEX COMMUNICATIONS INC /DE/ Annual Report (Regulation S-K, item 405) (10-K405) ITEM 1. BUSINESS
- Telex Communications
- Electro-Voice, Inc.
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