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.
Crown’s history traces back to 1947 and 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.
In the 1960s, 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 power amplifier markets. Well over 30 years later, many DC300s are still being used in professional audio applications.
In the 1970s, 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 offered an innovation providing lower distortion, less thermal stress, higher acoustic output, greater reliability, superior power density and audio quality, Grounded Bridge circuitry was integral to the engineering of the Macro-Tech and Micro-Tech amplifier lines.
The 1990s found Crown developing computer-controlled audio systems with the IQ System. In 1997, the company 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.
Acquired by Harman International in March of 2000, Crown has continued to move forward, producing numerous innovative designs, including The CTs Series amplifier line for the installed sound markets, Crown’s next-generation IQ System, now called IQ Network, and the I-Tech Series touring amplifiers, the world’s most advanced professional amplifier and representing the pinnacle of their over 30 years of amplifier leadership. 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.”
Founders Ruby and Clarence Moore establish International Radio and Electronics Corporation modifying and distributing high-quality tape recorders (Magnecord, Recordio, Pentron, and Crestwood) for rugged environments.
Transistor invented at Bell Labs.
Bing Crosby "White Christmas"
Introduction of worlds first tape recorder with built-in power amplifier. Tone control circuitry further enhances this unit designed for PA system use.
Nat "King" Cole "Mona Lisa"
Crowns line of vacuum tube tape recorders includes the Standard, Imperial, Broadcast, Prince, and Royal.
A three-motor electromagnetic braking mechanism revolutionizes the tape recorder industry. Clarence Moore obtains patent the following year.
Speakers are designed and manufactured as accessories to tape recorders.
Tony Bennett "Rags to Riches"
Tape recorder production grows and expands.
Bill Haley and the Comets "Rock Around the Clock"
The Royal makes its appearance as Crown's first stereo, 2channel, tape recorder.
Elvis Presley "Don't"
Crowns tape recorders take on a new rack-mount design with the introduction of the Crown Prince.
Crown introduces standalone vacuum tube amplifiers including the A15 and A30.
Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"
Crown tape recorder improvements include separate electronic and transport sections, push button and relay control, and remote control
The Gold Crown Stereo X recorder includes several innovations in component electronics.
Patsy Cline "Crazy"
The first solid state, professional quality tape recorder is invented at Crown.
The Beach Boys "Surfin' USA"
Crowns first solid state amplifier, the SA 20-20, is an industry first, low-profile unit (1 3/4 inches high).
The Beatles "She Loves You"
Crown raises the bar once more with the introduction of the DC-300 amplifier. It is the worlds first reliable, solid-state, high-power amplifier. Rated conservatively at 150 watts per channel, the amplifier features extremely low distortion and noise. Two years after its introduction, High Fidelity magazine calls it the worlds best stereo amplifier.
Jimmy Hendrix "Purple Haze"
The Pro 800 Series tape recorders feature a logic-controlled transport.
Marvin Gaye "I heard it through the grapevine"
The new IC-150 pre-amp and D-150 amplifier feature exceptional sound quality.
James Taylor "Fire and Rain"
The grounded bridge amplifier is invented at Crown. Prototypes, however, are destroyed in another significant event of 1971.
Rod Stewart "Maggie May"
|Thanksgiving Day, 1971
Fire destroys over 60% of the Crown facility and the remainder of the plant is severely damaged. $1 million of uninsured inventory destroyed.
Production resumes within 6 weeks with the D-60 amplifier.
A new Crown plant emerges over the ashes of the former structure.
Introduction of the M600/M2000 amplifier, another industry first (2000 watts mono into 8 ohms), using the patented grounded-bridge circuit.
Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven"
International Radio and Electronics Corporation becomes Crown International, Inc.
KC & the Sunshine Band "That's the Way (I Like It)"
The patented EQ-2 synergistic equalizer is added to the Crown product family.
Boston "More than a Feeling"
Crown gracefully ends production of its tape recorder products.
Introduction of DL-2 controller, revolutionizing preamplification with digitally controlled modular systems, computer interface capabilities, and
patented phono circuitry.
The IOC (Input-Output-Comparitor) circuit instantly indicates amplifier overload conditions.
Eagles "Hotel California"
The newly introduced D-75 amplifier is combined with the RTA2 (real-time analyzer) to create a compact, accurate, and easy-to-use
instrument for acoustical analysis.
Bee-Gees "Stayin' Alive"
Patented SA2 is the worlds 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.
Crown begins microphone manufacturing with the introduction of the PZM (Pressure Zone Microphone) family of microphones.
Pink Floyd "The Wall"
FM TWO replaces FM ONE with a low-profile, digital-tuning design.
Diana Ross and Lionel Richie Endless Love
Development of Delta Omega power amplifier. The patented design allows an operator to compensate for speaker cabling effects that normally reduce usable power.
Van Halen "Pretty Woman"
Micro-Tech family of amplifiers brings patented Grounded Bridge and Junction Temperature Simulation technologies to the audio world. PIP modules also provide input flexibility.
Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
The PCC-160, an advanced directional boundary microphone, is launched.
Peter Gabriel "Sledgehammer"
GLM (great little mics) line of miniature microphones is developed for recording use: radio, TV, and motion pictures.
A new line of hand-held microphones, the CM300 Differoid, is patented.
The ultimate amplifier, MA10000, provides 10,000 watts of power. First application, to provide power for 465 speakers at the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway.
U2 "Joshua Tree"
The IQ-2000 System allows computer monitoring and control of up to 200 remote power amplifiers.
Michael Jackson Man in the Mirror
Com-Tech amps for fixed installations debut with direct 70-volt operation.
The Patented SASS microphone becomes the first new stereo recording system since WWII.
The Macro Reference amp provides exceptional sonic performance for the studio market.
Tom Petty Runnin' Down a Dream
MPX-6 and SMX-6 mixers expand the IQ System family of products.
Scorpions Wind of Change
MA-5000VZ amplifier featuring the Variable Impedance (VZ) bi-level power supply added to the Macro-Tech Series, quickly becoming the
touring standard for Sub cabinets.
Development of PZM-11 and PCC-170SW microphones.
Boyz II Men End of the Road
Introduction of the CM311, a head-worn microphone. First created for country music star, Garth Brooks.
Stone Temple Pilots Plush
CM-700 studio condenser microphone earns rave reviews from both critics and users.
Hootie & the Blowfish Let Her Cry
A new 46,000 square foot facilities addition expands the production capacity.
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.
Wallflowers 6th Avenue Heartache
CE1000 and CE2000 offer outstanding performance at an affordable price
Faith Hill "This Kiss"
The IQ-PIP-USP2, Crown's second-generation DSP-based amplifier module, provides amazing power and flexibility with an extensive list of features.
Crown becomes a member of the Harman International family of Pro Audio companies.
CE4000 expands the CE Series, Crown's most cost efficient amplifier yet.
Creed "With Arms Wide Open"
Crown's IQ-PIP-USP2/CN, when added to a PIP2 amp, creates the industry's first CobraNet-compatible amplifier.
Janet Jackson "All for You"
Crown reinvents it's 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.
CTs Series introduced as the new flagship Installed Sound amplifier.
The new XLS Series sets sales records for Crown.
Avril Lavigne "Complicated"
OutKast "Hey Ya!"
Kelly Clarkson "Since U Been Gone"
Red Hot Chili Peppers "Dani California"
The Crown Audio Truck
Since 1993, the Crown Truck has toured North America, performing demos and training sessions for both skilled and novice users of Crown Audio products. Logging nearly 50,000 miles a year, this "training school on wheels" has been seen at every major Audio Industry trade show and has made an appearance in nearly all of the lower 48 states and across Canada through its ten-year history.
In 2002, the second-generation Crown Truck hit the road, featuring a new, larger trailer. The new trailer provides a more spacious and comfortable interior, along with a built-in conference room among other amenities.
Offering complete, self-contained training and demonstration facilities within its well-outfitted trailer, the Crown Truck features an array of products from Crown's full amplifier and microphone lines, as well as working components for demonstration of Crown's IQ Network, Crown's computer-control audio system. The truck's controlled environment provides a unique opportunity for hands-on training of the full line of Crown audio products.
Extensive training and demo sessions have been held at a variety of locations: places of worship, music stores, schools, stadiums, theme parks, arenas and more. For the upcoming year, the truck's touring schedule includes several multi-state treks, with stops from coast to coast.
To request a Crown Truck demonstration in your area, contact your local Crown Representative.