From its humble beginnings in 1947, Crown International has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most respected manufacturers of power amplifiers and microphones for professional audio markets.
“Six decades after Mr. Moore first established this company, Crown still adheres to its founder’s reputation for creating innovative products that are both sonically superior and highly reliable,” says Crown International president Mark Graham. “And with the resources and support of Harman International combined with our dedicated network of employees, reps, distributors and dealers around the globe, Crown is well-poised to carry on that legacy for yet another 60 years.”
Crown’s history traces back to an Elkhart, Indiana minister named Clarence C. Moore (1904-1979). 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).
Eventually, Moore’s wife and co-founder, Ruby (deceased 2002), suggested that “International Radio and Electronics Corporation” was too long a name for the company. 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. Her husband agreed, and, in the ’60s, the company’s name was changed to “Crown International, a division of International Radio and Electronics Corporation.” Finally, in 1975, the stockholders voted to change the name of the corporation to Crown International, Inc.
Over the years, state-of-the-art innovations have made Crown the largest amplifier manufacturer in the world. In the ’60s, the introduction of the DC300 high-powered, solid-state amplifier offering 150 watts per channel at eight ohms and AB+B circuitry moved Crown into a leadership position in worldwide markets. Over 40 years later, many DC300s are still faithfully being used in professional audio applications.
Responding to market demand in the ’70s, Crown focused on professional audio. Pushing the envelope of computer technology, Crown launched the PSA-2 Power Amplifier with a built-in computer to maximize performance of its output transistors. Product diversification began with the introduction of the still-popular line of Pressure Zone Microphones (PZM) and TEF audio analyzer.
With the implementation of Grounded Bridge™ circuitry in the ’80s, Crown once again set the standard for amplifier innovation. Providing lower distortion, less thermal stress, higher acoustic output, greater reliability, superior power density and legendary audio quality, Grounded Bridge circuitry was integral to the engineering of the power-packed Macro-Tech and Micro-Tech amplifier lines. Used by many of the largest worldwide touring companies, these highly praised units spawned the Com-Tech amplifier series extensively used by sound contractors in some of the highest-profile installations around the globe.
The ’90s found Crown leading the way in the development of computer-controlled audio systems. Crown’s patented IQ System, the world’s first significant computer-controlled audio system, had been introduced in 1987, and, by 1990, was the most widely used system in the world. Expanded and refined with a growing line of supporting products and system software, Crown IQ Systems handled superstar tours as easily as small installations. Fueled by unprecedented sales and a multi-million dollar manufacturing expansion, Crown, in 1997, added another new milestone in audio technology with the introduction of the K2 amplifier featuring Balanced Current Amplifier™ circuitry offering innovative thermal and energy efficiencies.
With the company’s acquisition by Harman International in March of 2000, this millennium has already found Crown continuing to engineer forward-thinking solutions. Products such as the flagship I-Tech amplifier line, XM Satellite Radio-equipped 180MAx, and cost-effective yet highly versatile XTi, CDi and DSi product ranges embody the reliability and innovativeness that have long been the manufacturer’s hallmarks. And with each product backed up by a three-year, no-fault, fully transferable warranty, Crown today continues to delight its customers with products that consistently exceed both specifications and expectations, even on the most demanding tours and installations.