CROWN AUDIO

 

Headquartered in Northridge, California, HARMAN Professional is part of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, high fidelity audio products and infotainment systems for the automotive, home and professional markets. The company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: HAR.

HARMAN Professional is the world’s largest professional audio company. HARMAN Professional companies include AKG Acoustics, AMX, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, JBL Professional, Lexicon, Martin, Soundcraft, and Studer. These companies design, manufacture and market leading professional audio products for recording and broadcast, musicians, cinema, touring sound, commercial sound and contracting applications.

Crown Audio is proud to be part of the HARMAN Professional family.

Crown

In 1947 an Elkhart, Indiana minister named Clarence C. Moore founded the International Radio and Electronics Corporation (IREC) which, over the years, has become better known as Crown Audio Inc. Moore started by building open-reel tape recorders out of a chicken coop but today, Crown Audio is an industry leader in amplified sound. Crown makes amps for cinema venues, installed sites, touring rigs, portable PA and commercial audio. With over 67 years of focus on innovation and providing the best user experience, Crown Audio is continually raising the bar in audio amplification.

Clarence C. Moore, a longtime radio enthusiast, had spent the early part of the ’40s in Quito, Ecuador working for HCJB, a non-profit Christian broadcasting and engineering group.

Following his return to the United States, he felt the desire to supply Christian broadcasters like HCJB with quality electronic products. As a result, Moore founded International Radio and Electronics Corporation (IREC) in 1947 and converted a former chicken coop into the budding manufacturer’s first production facility.

The company’s early reputation was built on a family of rugged and compact open-reel tape recorders designed to operate reliably when used by missionaries in remote, often-primitive regions of the world. After modifying and distributing several existing models (Magnecord, Recordio, Pentron and Crestwood) for the first couple of years, Moore obtained a patent in 1949 for a groundbreaking invention: the world’s first tape recorder with a built-in power amplifier (15 watts). This invention led the way for several more in the next 15 years. In 1964, the company invented their first solid-state amplifier called the SA 20-20. From then on, the focus switched from tape recorders to amplifiers and the business was quickly growing.

Unfortunately, amongst all of the growth and development, a fire erupted on Thanksgiving Day in 1971 and destroyed over 60% of the facility and the remainder of the plant was severely damaged. There was $1 million of uninsured inventory destroyed in the process. However, Mr. Moore wasn’t going to let this disaster stop him now. Production resumed within 6 weeks with the latest of their inventions, the D-60 amplifier.

Eventually, Moore’s wife and co-founder, Ruby (deceased 2002), suggested that a name change was in order. Since IREC had by this point produced vacuum tube tape recorders branded ‘Royal’ and ‘Imperial’, in addition to the fact that the emblem on those products was a fancy crown, she felt that the company should simply be called Crown. In 1975, the stockholders voted to change the name of the corporation to Crown International, Inc.

Crown Today

Acquired by Harman International in March of 2000, Crown has continued to move forward, producing numerous innovative designs, such as the DriveCore™ Install (DCi) series that was released in 2013. This series features both analog and Network amplifiers for the installed sound market. Using just one tiny chip to replace over 500 parts makes the DCi series of amplifiers the most reliable and innovative amplifier on the market today. These products and more embody the reliability and innovativeness that have long been the manufacturer’s hallmarks. Crown today continues to delight its customers with products that consistently exceed both specifications and expectations, even on the most demanding tours and installations.

Crown International Senior VP of R&D Gerald Stanley, who originally joined the company in 1964 as a tape recorder line technician and amplifier design engineer, comments on Crown’s success over the years. “In an era of cookbook designs and buggy software, it would seem that the most basic lessons of history have been forgotten,” he says. “Crown’s recipe is simple: design, build and service each product as if you were the customer. This approach not only drives the product to excellence, it drives the people to be the best that they can be.”

Crown Quality Processes

There are three systemic elements within our organization that allow us to be successful and provide the best products to the market for our customers.

  • Effective quality management system
  • World-class operational test development
  • Strict design validation procedures

Quality Management System (QMS)
The three pillars of an effective management system are internal auditing, corrective/preventive actions, and management review. At Crown, we have committed ourselves to continually driving improvements in these three areas, along with developing supporting processes.

Auditing
For internal auditing, we have instituted a three-tier system to assure we are procedurally compliant.  Aside from external registrar audits, we have second party consultants review our system; we also internally audit ourselves for compliance.

Corrective/Preventive Actions (CAPA)
Problem solving is a trademark of all excellent companies, and it is also the keystone for our Corrective and Preventive Actions process.  Our best problem solvers have formed a task force that keeps its finger on the pulse of our organization to swarm issues as they arise.  This is the basis for a majority of our continual improvement.

Management Review
To ensure accurate oversight of our operations and compliance, the executive management team routinely meets with management reps for the QMS.  This allows for leadership to support improvement efforts and ensure that our customers' needs are met as a product of this system's intrinsic design.

World-Class Test Development
One of the core competencies of our organization is the ability to develop sophisticated test systems that certify and ensure the highest quality of audio performance in the field.  This is an internal process due to how advanced our audio performance and power handling technology has become; no off-the-shelf system today can be leveraged.

We also employ advanced statistical process control (SPC) tools that continually provide feedback to our management system to ensure absolute control of processes and product performance.  The deployment of these cutting edge SPC applications secures a data-based foundation for continuous improvement.

Strict Design Validation Procedures
To ensure we exceed our customer’s expectations and that we bring only the most sophisticated and leading edge products to market, the burden is on us to establish the most stringent of validation procedures.  Rigid and structured validation plans that leverage the decades of product design knowledge, allow for us to set a design standard that is unmatched in the market.

Couple these expectations with top of the line validation tools and state of the art testing equipment, and we are able to pledge to our customers the highest standard for quality available today.

Amplifier Technology

DriveCore™

This new amplifier technology seamlessly integrates the amplifier drive stage into the power output stage fusing everything into a chip the size of a dime. The foundational DriveCore™ circuitry is based on breakthroughs by Crown's own Gerald Stanley with five patents applying to the advanced feedback, modulation and output stage technologies. DriveCore's front-end drive circuits leverage the inherent efficiency of Class D output stages while also maintaining superb sonic characteristics.  The end result is an ultra-efficient one-piece audio amplifier circuit that exhibits the exemplary audio quality of a highly evolved Class AB design.

Crown International Senior VP of R&D Gerald Stanley, who originally joined the company in 1964 as a tape recorder line technician and amplifier design engineer, comments on Crown’s success over the years. “In an era of cookbook designs and buggy software, it would seem that the most basic lessons of history have been forgotten,” he says. “Crown’s recipe is simple: design, build and service each product as if you were the customer. This approach not only drives the product to excellence, it drives the people to be the best that they can be.”

Class-I

Class-I, also known as BCA (Balanced Current Amplifier) is Crown’s patented, cutting-edge technology that gets more power out of an amplifier with less waste than was ever before possible. Class-I technology offers several key advantages. It provides unprecedented efficiency, requiring less power from the AC supply than other designs and that can add up to significant cost savings over the life of the amplifier. Class-I handles reactive loudspeaker loads easily and gracefully, by reusing energy returned from the loudspeaker rather than dissipating it as heat or forcing the amp into premature current limiting. This characteristic means class-I amplifiers run better and longer—especially at lower impedances. It also makes them more reliable, since they are not constantly stressed to their limits or subjected to excessive heat. Best of all, as proud owners can attest, amplifiers with class-I technology sound great, with a powerful, accurate sound that stands out from the competition.

Patents

Multiple patents – more than any of our competitors combined. Historical audio achievements. A never-ending list of industry-changing product introductions. Innovative technical advances. Crown’s history is one of an uninterrupted list of achievements in sound. And, as evidenced by DriveCore™, we’re continuing to set new standards for Crown’s future – and for the entire industry as well.

1947 – Founders Ruby and Clarence Moore establish International Radio and Electronics Corporation, modifying and distributing high-quality tape recorders for rugged environments.

1950 – Introduction of world’s first tape recorder with built-in power amplifier. Tone control circuitry further enhances this unit designed for PA system use.

1950s – The vacuum tube tape recorder line includes the Standard, Imperial, Broadcast, Prince, and Royal.

1953 – A three-motor electromagnetic braking mechanism revolutionizes the tape recorder industry. Speakers are designed and manufactured as accessories to tape recorders.

1954 – Electromagnetic Braking Mechanism patent obtained by Clarence Moore.

1955 – Tape recorder production grows and expands.

1958 – The Royal makes its appearance as Crown's first stereo, 2-channel, tape recorder.

1959 – Tape recorders take on a new rack-mount design with the introduction of the Crown Prince, along with the introduction of stand-alone vacuum tube amplifiers including the A15 and A30.

1959 – Magnetic Recorder patent obtained by Clarence Moore.

1960-61 – Tape recorder improvements include separate electronic and transport sections, push- button and relay control, and remote control capabilities. The Gold Crown Stereo X recorder includes several innovations in component electronics.

1962-63 – Crown invents the first solid-state, professional-quality tape recorder.

1964 – An industry first: the SA 20-20 solid-state amplifier is a low-profile unit only 1-3/4 inches high.

1967 – Introducing the DC-300 amplifier: the world’s first reliable, solid-state, high-power amplifier raises the bar once more. Rated conservatively at 150 watts per channel, the amplifier features extremely low distortion and noise.

1968 – The Pro 800 Series tape recorders feature a logic-controlled transport.

1969High Fidelity magazine calls the DC-300 the world’s best amplifier.

1970 – The new IC-150 pre-amp and D-150 amplifier feature exceptional sound quality.

1970 – DC-300 Amplifier patent obtained by Gerald Stanley.

1971 – Crown invents the grounded bridge amplifier.

1971 – Thanksgiving Day fire destroys over 60% of the Crown facility and the remainder of the plant is severely damaged. Production resumes within six weeks with the D-60 amplifier.

1972 – A new Crown plant emerges over the ashes of the former structure.

1972 – Another industry first is the introduction of the M600/M2000 amplifier, featuring 2000 watts mono into 8 ohms, using the patented grounded-bridge circuit.

1974 – Macro-Tech®technology patents obtained by Gerald Stanley

1975 – International Radio and Electronics Corporation officially becomes Crown International, Inc.

1976 – The patented EQ-2 synergistic equalizer is added to the Crown product family

1977 – Introduction of the DL-2 controller revolutionizes preamplification with digitally controlled modular systems, computer interface capabilities, and patented phono circuitry. The IOC (Input-Output-Comparitor) circuit instantly indicates amplifier overload conditions

1978 – Combining the newly introduced D-75 amplifier with the RTA2 (real-time analyzer) creates a compact, accurate, and easy-to-use instrument for acoustical analysis.

1979 – Patented SA2 is the world’s first power amplifier to use a built-in computer to maximize transistor performance. The newly introduced FM ONE tuner is a design winner at the Consumer Electronics Show.

1980 – Microphone manufacturing begins with the introduction of the PZM (Pressure Zone Microphone) family of microphones.

1981 – FM TWO replaces FM ONE with a low-profile, digital-tuning design.

1982 – Additional Macro-Tech®technology patents obtained by Gerald Stanley.

1984 – Micro-Tech family of amplifiers brings patented Grounded Bridge and Junction Temperature Simulation technologies to the audio world. PIP modules also provide input flexibility.

1986 – The PCC-160, an advanced directional boundary microphone, is launched.

1987 – The CM300 Differoid line of hand-held microphones is patented.

1987 – The ultimate amplifier, MA10000, provides 10,000 watts of power. Its first application: delivering power for 465 speakers at the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway.

1988 – The IQ-2000 System allows computer monitoring and control of up to 200 remote power amplifiers.

1988 – Additional Macro-Tech®technology patents obtained by Gerald Stanley.

1989 – ComTech amps for fixed installations debut with direct 70-volt operation.

1989 – The Patented SASS microphone becomes the first new stereo recording system since World War II, while the Macro Reference amp provides exceptional sonic performance for the studio market.

1991 – IQ System & Networking patent obtained by Clay Barclay.

1992 – MA-5000VZ amplifier featuring the Variable Impedance (VZ) bi-level power supply is added to the Macro-Tech® Series, quickly becoming the touring standard for Sub cabinets.

1992 – Development of the PZM-11 and PCC-170SW microphones.

1993 – Introduction of the CM311, a head-worn microphone. First created for country music star, Garth Brooks.

1995 – CM-700 studio condenser microphone earns rave reviews from both critics and users.

1996 – A new 46,000 square foot facilities addition expands production capacity.

1996 – The revolutionary K2 amplifier is the star of the NAMM show, offering 1270 watts mono output from a chassis only 3 inches high, and with no cooling fan.

1996 – An industry first: integrating DSP into a production amplifier with the PIP DSP card.

1997 – Class I Technology patent obtained by Gerald Stanley.

1998 – CE1000 and CE2000 offer outstanding performance at an affordable price.

1999 – The second-generation DSP-based amplifier module, IQ-PIP-USP2, provides amazing power and flexibility with an extensive list of features.

2000 – Crown becomes a member of the HARMAN International family of Pro Audio companies.

2000 – The CE4000 expands the CE Series to become the most cost-efficient amplifier yet.

2000 – The IQ-USM 810 digital mixer/digital processor is an eight-input, ten-output, all-digital "system in a box."

2001 – Adding IQ-PIP-USP2/CN to a PIP2 amp creates the industry's first CobraNet™-compatible amplifier.

2002 – Crown reinvents the IQ System and ships the world's first solution for transporting networked audio control and digital audio via a single 100 Mb Ethernet network connection.

2002 – The introduction of the CTs Series as the new flagship installed sound amplifier, while the new XLS Series sets company sales records.

2003 – I-Tech Amplifier patent obtained by Gerald Stanley.

2004 – The launch of a new flagship amplifier line for the tour sound and corporate PA markets: the I-Tech Series. The world's most advanced power amplifier, I-Tech represents the pinnacle of Crown's decades of industry leadership and incorporates a host of advanced technologies.

2004 – DriveCore™Technology patent obtained by Gerald Stanley.

2005 – More new product introductions than in any single year including the new Commercial Audio Series amplifiers, amplifier-mixers and pre-amplifier mixers, which earns a third-straight Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Award in the Amplifier Technology category.

2006 – Significant new amplifier lines arrive, including the XTi Series for portable PA, the CDi Series for installed sound and the DSi Series for cinema. The XTi becomes the most successful new product launch in Crown history.

2010 – The launch of the XLS Series for portable PA featuring new DriveCore Technology – the first amplifier in the DriveCore family of products.

2011 – Production begins on the ComTech DriveCore for installed sound featuring DriveCore Technology.

2012 – Introducing the I-Tech 4x3500HD for tour sound driven by DriveCore Technology.

2013 - Launch of the DriveCore Install Series featuring Analog models, Network (BLU link) models and Network Display (AVB) models.

2013 - New XLC Series makes its debut; a basic and reliable solution for install and cinema venues.

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