Elkhart, IN (June 14, 2007)–Founded in 1947, Crown International has grown to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of power amplifiers and microphones for professional audio markets.
A mid-1950s photo of Clarence Moore (left) and his son, Clyde (also later a Crown president), with some of the company’s early tape recorders “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 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 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.
In the ’60s, the company introduced 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, launching the PSA-2 Power Amplifier with a built-in computer to maximize performance of its output transistors. Product diversification began with the introduction of its line of Pressure Zone Microphones (PZM) and TEF audio analyzer.
The implementation of Grounded Bridge circuitry in the ’80s was integral to the engineering of the Macro-Tech and Micro-Tech amplifier lines. Used by many of the largest worldwide touring companies, these 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 developing its IQ System, a computer-controlled audio system first introduced in 1987, and, by 1990, reportedly the most widely used system in the world. Crown, in 1997, debuted its K2 amplifier featuring Balanced Current Amplifier circuitry. With the company’s acquisition by Harman International in March of 2000, this millennium has already found Crown looking ahead, with products such as the flagship I-Tech amplifier line, XM Satellite Radio-equipped 180MAx, and XTi, CDi and DSi product ranges.