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The Gough Loudspeaker was invented in 1960 by Jabez Gough, a radio engineer living in Cardiff, South Wales. Gough devised and constructed a wooden enclosure which acted as a sound box for the loudspeaker unit, much as the body of a violin acts as a sound box for the violinist’s strings. Challenging the dominant acoustic theories of his day and opposed by the major loudspeaker manufacturers[1], Gough decided to published his own plans for the construction of the Gough Loudspeaker which proved very popular with the public in this ‘do-it-yourself’ era and many thousands of copies were sold world-wide.[2]

The Gough Loudspeaker was first demonstrated publicly on the 19th October 1960 in Tongwynlais, South Wales. The event soon attracted national publicity. In a front-page article for the London ‘Observer’ on November 27th 1960, Peter Schirmer declared that a Gough enclosure, fitted with just a single 12” speaker unit “could fill St Paul’s Cathedral with almost perfect high fidelity sound”[3]. In March 1961 Gough took a pair of his enclosures to demonstrate at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Powered by a single 15amp amplifier, and fitted with two eight-inch loudspeaker units, the Gough Loudspeakers managed to fill the entire auditorium with sound.[4]

The Gough Loudspeaker was patented by Gough in August 1961, but no large-scale manufacture of the units ever took place, largely because Gough was not interested in commercial development of his invention. Nonetheless, word of the invention spread far and wide; and by November 1961 an article had appeared on Gough’s invention in the ‘Popular Science’ magazine in the United States.[5] Construction of the cabinets was also featured on the BBC’s ‘Do it Yourself’ programme ‘How to Make it’ in July 1961.

By 1973 some 35,000 copies of the Gough Loudspeaker had been sold around the world.[6] One specialist commentator wrote at this time that the Gough Loudspeaker, and its revolutionary design, was ‘one of the biggest controversies the hi-fi world has known.’[7]

Measuring six square feet, the Gough Loudspeaker enclosure inevitably lost popularity as portability and miniaturization of hi-fi systems took over in the eighties and nineties. Now, in the modern digital age, the Gough Loudspeaker is all but extinct. However it can be argued that Gough’s acoustic chamber has its legacy in modern loudspeaker design – for example, in the ‘acoustic wave’ systems developed by Bose.


  1. ^ Observer, 27th November, 1960
  2. ^ Western Mail, October 20th, 1960
  3. ^ Observer 27th November, 1960
  4. ^ Quoted in the Gough Speaker Archive:
  5. ^ Popular Science, November 1961, p167
  6. ^ When Hi-Fi Hit the Headlines, Doug Church, Audio magazine, December 1973
  7. ^ Ibid

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