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ELAC Electroacustic

legal form GmbH
founding September 1, 1926
Seat Kiel , Schleswig-Holstein Germany
management Lars Baumann
Number of employees approx. 50 at the company headquarters
Branch Entertainment and communication electronics
Website www.elac.com

The ELAC Electroacustic GmbH is a company founded in 1926 in Kiel .

The name is the abbreviation of the original and actual company name "ELECTROACUSTIC GmbH". The origins of the company lie in the area of ​​underwater acoustics, from 1948 this was supplemented by the area of pickups and turntables . From 1984 the production of loudspeakers followed .


1899 Foundation of the company Neufeldt & Kuhnke , Kiel (later: Hagenuk ), which in 1906 received an order from the German Navy to develop sound transmitters with which Morse code can be emitted into the water. Signal Gesellschaft mbH was founded in 1911 by Neufeldt and Kuhnke (Hagenuk) to develop water-borne sound systems (Electroacustic GmbH from 1926).

On September 1, 1926, the founding of ELECTROACUSTIC GmbH was registered in the Kiel District Court.

ELAC Receiver 4000T from 1969
ELAC Miracord record player

A strong upward development of the company, which had primarily specialized in underwater sound technology, fine mechanical war equipment and ignition electronics for mines, was followed by a rapid downturn at the end of the Second World War. After the pure existence of the manufacturer was secured during this time with the production of everyday items such as sewing machines, air pumps and car accessories, an upswing began on December 14, 1948, the date on which the first ELAC record player was completed, which the company continued to enjoy for years 1956 brought it to the top of the world record player manufacturer. At that time, ELAC, along with Dual and Perpetuum-Ebner, was one of the world's leading German record player manufacturers. As a by-product, ELAC also had clock radios (model numbers RD 50, RD 100, RD 150 and RD 200) and other hi-fi devices manufactured at times in the 1970s. In the 1970s, up to a million turntables left the factory every year, and around 3,000 people worked at ELAC.

ELAC pickup system

Up to 1978 a constant development of new ideas and patents followed. Nevertheless, the company was not spared from economic difficulties. After the bankruptcy, the company was split into two parts: the American company Honeywell took over the nautical division, then the American group L3 Communications. In June 2015, the nautical area was taken over by the Finnish Wärtsilä Corporation - the company is now called "Wärtsilä ELAC Nautik GmbH". The company ELAC Ingenieurtechnik GmbH emerged from the phono sector, dealing on the one hand with entertainment electronics and on the other hand with the manufacture of industrial robots . L3 Communications ELAC Nautik GmbH managed to continue this part of the company very successfully. The UE sector is different: despite considerable success, especially in the turntable and cartridge sector, the end threatened on December 31, 1981. The shareholders of "John & Partner Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH", which since July 1, 1981, took over from the bankruptcy Dorothee Thomanek, Wolfgang John and Kurt Kreibich took over the sales activities of ELAC HiFi products, together with the internationally known loudspeaker developer Wolfgang Seikritt, the assets of ELAC Ingenieurtechnik GmbH and founded ELAC Phonosysteme GmbH.

Elac MW / VHF clock radio RD 50, cockpit look, 1975–78
ELAC 310.i loudspeaker with "JET" tweeter

Since then, the ELAC product range has only included hi-fi products. After a few patents and developments in the field of pickups, the product range was expanded to include speakers in 1984. In the course of this development, the loudspeaker manufacturer AXIOM Elektroakustik GmbH was integrated into the ELAC company. Dr. Franz Thomanek took over the technical responsibility. The development of an all-round radiator , the 4Pi loudspeaker, which was highly praised by many specialist magazines , enabled ELAC to bring the first high-end loudspeaker onto the market as early as 1985 .

On November 1, 1990, Dr. Franz Thomanek founded ELAC Technische Software GmbH, which deals with the development of computer programs for calculating loudspeakers and room acoustics and providing advice in these areas.

The loudspeaker manufacturer ARES was taken over by ELAC in 1993. In the same year, another high-end loudspeaker became the ELAC trademark: the JET tweeter, which is also used in loudspeakers from the Berlin loudspeaker manufacturer Burmester . In 1994, 1995 and 1996 ELAC received successively the “Kiel Environmental Award for special achievements that lead to the preservation of natural resources and the improvement of unfavorable living conditions in the area of ​​the state capital Kiel”, the “Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Study and Promotion Society as Environmentally friendly company for the development of an integrated environmental management system ”as well as certification according to the EU eco-audit . From July 1, 1997, ELAC only produces loudspeakers, the pickup department was dissolved.

On September 6, 1998, John & Partner Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH and ELAC Phonosysteme GmbH merged to form today's ELAC Electroacustic GmbH. In 1998 the ASU ( Arbeitsgemeinschaft Selbständiger Unternehmer eV) "awarded the" new "ELAC an" award for environmentally conscious corporate management ". Numerous global awards confirm the engineering achievements, and outstanding products such as the smallest hi-fi subwoofer in the world are causing a sensation.

In 2007 the company structure was reorganized. Jens Brendel, a successful management consultant from Kiel, took over 1/3 of the shares, 1/3 was held by Dorothee Thomanek, 1/3 by Wolfgang John. In 2010 the majority shareholders of the long-established Kiel company Dorothee Thomanek and Jens Brendel transferred their shares to the investor Global Legend Holdings Co., Ltd., Tortola. This should secure the necessary financial resources for a successful future. In 2014, the last founding partner, Wolfgang John, also left the company. The management will be taken over by the industry insider Günther Kürten and from December 2017 Lars Baumann. The company employed around 40 people. Most of the devices are produced in China.

On July 1, 2016, ELAC will return to Fraunhoferstraße 16, the old place of work where it was based until 1978 on the current grounds of the science park and the university.

Corporate strategy

ELAC advertises with " Made in Germany " and only uses loudspeaker chassis developed by or for ELAC . Many patents protect the ELAC know-how. The export quota is 40 percent (as of 2010).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Behm Chronicle. Retrieved May 28, 2019 .
  2. a b Helmut Martin-Jung: Future music . In: sueddeutsche.de . 2015, ISSN  0174-4917 ( sueddeutsche.de [accessed on May 28, 2019]).