CONTACT PROFILES

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FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTORS

 


In late September 2000, Steve Schell and myself managed to get together individually with some of the key contributors to our site. It was the highlight of what we refer to as the "Lansing Heritage Tour 2000". What follows is some further insight into the background and accomplishments of these people along with their involvement in our site.

 

George Augspurger is currently best known in the audio industry as an expert in studio design through his consulting firm, Perception Inc. Many of North America's most prestigious studios proudly boast of having "Augspurger designed" rooms and monitors.

Before striking out as an independent consultant, George spent over a decade with JBL starting in 1958. He began as JBL's Technical Service Manager and was later responsible for establishing and managing the Professional Products Division. In 1968 he became Technical Director for JBL, a position he held for two years before deciding to move on to independent consulting.

George is a more recent contributor to our website. It was John Eargle's notes (see below) that first apprised us of his work at JBL. Initial contact was made just prior to our September 2000 tour and George agreed to meet with us over lunch during the AES convention. The lunch ended up a three hour affair where George patiently answered our questions and then went on to provide a wealth of anecdotal information. Just some of these tidbits include the facts that Igor Stravinsky used to monitor on a D130 operating full range and that the Grateful Dead toured with a JBL array for which the stage monitor system and the house system were one and the same

George initially provided us with valuable information on Richard Ranger's involvement in the development of the Paragon, including the copy of Richard Ranger's article that appears on that speaker's profile.. He subsequently provided detailed background information on the unique Aquarius series of loudspeakers from 1970.

 

Drew Daniels can be described as a true renaissance man. How else does one describe someone who was a music major at university, a performer as a New Christy Minstrel, a self taught expert in electroacoustical engineering, a recording engineer and a university level educator.

Drew began his career with JBL in 1976 as a lab technician. He was responsible for laser interferometry studies of compression driver diaphragm resonances. The photo at right illustrates Drew in this role. In 1984, Drew was appointed Applications Engineer for JBL Professional. It was during this tenure that Drew developed his now famous "The Ancient Audiophile's Quest for the Ultimate Home System".

Drew left JBL in 1989 to work for TASCAM, Walt Disney and Aura before establishing Sound Path Labs - a consulting firm that is his current fulltime vocation. Some of our DIY audio readers may be familiar with Drew's work on transducers. Drew had input into the design of the Aurasound 1808 subwoofer that set a new standard for low frequency drivers. (the primary design work was done by Robert Diamond of M&K Sound). Drew also provided input into the design of the McCauley 6174 sub. A more detailed description of Drew's varied background and accomplishments can be found at his website.

Drew was introduced to us through his friend, Garry Margolis. Drew immediately agreed to allow us to use his Ancient Audiophile article and a later article that updated his concept for a high efficiency home loudspeaker. During my trip Los Angeles, Drew graciously extended an invitation to Steve Schell and myself for dinner at his home. Drew's home also functions as his recording studio and he gave us a detailed tour of his operation. The fuzzy photo at left (in hindsight, I needed a flash) shows Drew's control room setup. Drew recently won the "That's a Cooledit" contest for his CD "Too Blue". Drew was producer and engineer for this CD in addition to playing bass on all of the tracks.

 

John Eargle should be a recognized name to anyone with even a basic familiarity of the recording and audio industry. John has been a standout in these industries for over 30 years. He is an author of audio books that have become reference standards. He is the Director of Recording for Delos International. In the Fall 2000 issue of The Audio Critic, editor Peter Aczel writes, "John Eargle still has my vote as king of recording engineers..." John is also a very accomplished electroacoustical engineer and a past president of the AES. A more detailed account of his education and accomplishments can be found on the Toronto AES website.

Much of John's career has been associated with JBL. He began as an employee in 1976 and later left to establish JME Consulting. JBL remains his largest client. While Vice President of Market Planning for JBL, John developed the corporate history that is the core of this site.

John's involvement with this site began as a very pleasant surprise. In January 2000, Garry Margolis had forwarded my request for assistance in developing a Jim Lansing website to Mark Gander of JBL. Mark, in turn, copied John Eargle. Within a couple of weeks, there was a mysterious package from John Eargle in my mailbox. Up to this point, I had no direct contact with John. When I opened the package, my jaw dropped. Inside were the complete, original, hand-written notes from over twenty years of John's research on the history of JBL. There were transcripts of interviews with Lansing family members, pioneers in the audio industry (such as John Hilliard and John Blackburn) and copies of key historical documents from the files of JBL. For the next three months, my co-developers and I pored over this information. They provided source materials for numerous articles on this site and leads that resulted in contacts with John Edwards, Arnold Wolf and George Augspurger.

Shortly after receiving John's files, we began regular email correspondence. John provided ongoing assistance in filling out missing information and keeping us on track. My co-developer, Steve Schell, was first to meet with John and Mark Gander in June, 2000 when he was provided access to JBL's archive. John became our guide in sifting through this goldmine of information. I had to wait until September 2000 for an opportunity to travel from my home in Winnipeg, Canada to the Los Angeles area. During that trip, Steve and I had the pleasure of spending a day with John as he became our tour guide at Harman International's Northridge facility. Most enjoyable was our lunch conversation where we had the opportunity to just sit back and discuss anything and everything related to Jim Lansing, JBL and John's background.

 

Dr. Bruce Edgar is the leading authority in horn loudspeaker designs for home use. Dr. Edgar's career was originally focused in the aerospace industry. However, approximately 20 years ago, he began a fascination with horn loudspeakers as an avocation. This avocation has subsequently become his vocation with the establishment of Edgarhorn to manufacture his vision of the state-of-the-art in horn speakers. Dr. Edgar has subsequently published numerous technical papers and articles on the subject of horn speakers.

Dr. Edgar became involved with our website due to his acquaintance with Steve Schell. When Dr. Edgar heard of our website plans, he immediately offered Steve access to his files. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Edgar has developed a very considerable archive of articles and historical documents related to the history of horn speakers. Many of these documents are the only copies in existence. Some of the rare examples included the first catalog ever developed by JBL and original spec sheets from Lansing Manufacturing. These documents had been long lost to JBL.

Dr. Edgar offered an invitation for Steve and myself to visit his facility in Torrance CA. Dr. Edgar initially gave us a remarkable demonstration of his Titan system (illustrated in above photo). This is the first horn system that I have encountered to exhibit absolutely zero coloration. It is a very impressive sounding system. Next, Dr. Edgar gave us a comprehensive tour of his shop. The photo to the right illustrates Dr. Edgar giving me a lesson in curving panels for horn flares.

The last hour of the visit was an opportunity to just sit back and gain further insight into his remarkable career and design philosophy. Dr Edgar is the leading proponent of Tractix expansion horns. This technology was first developed by Paul Voight in 1926 but never found widespread adoption. Dr. Edgar recognized the significance of this design and subsequently refined its application. His work has led to a resurgence in speaker designs based on this concept and a resurgence in horn speakers in general.

 

John Edwards has led a remarkable career at JBL that spanned the very start of the company to its rise as the nation's preeminent loudspeaker manufacturer. His experiences and background are documented in two detailed articles on our site. Rather than restating that information here, I believe it is more interesting to focus on John's involvement with our site.

John came to our attention through John Eargle's notes, mentioned above. Edward's involvement at JBL was known to Eargle from the time he began his research in 1980. Over the next 20 years, Eargle tried off and on to make contact without success. In Eargle's notes, there was a phone number from 1980 that was thought to belong to Edwards. As a shot-in-the-dark, I tried that number in February 2000. To my surprise, John Edwards answered and confirmed that he was the former Vice President of Finance at JBL.

John Edwards sounded as surprised as I was during the initial call. He was taken aback by a long distance call from a stranger in Canada inquiring about events over 50 years past. The initial call was short, as John indicated I should call back in a couple of days after he was able to dig up some information from his days at JBL. That next phone call proved to be a very enjoyable and fascinating insight into a remarkable career. Using his daughter, and later his son as intermediaries, we were able to carry on regular email correspondence that provided even further information. John subsequently sent two packages containing information on early products, pricing, and people involved at JBL. Some of these documents were the only copies in existence.

After arriving in Los Angeles in September, 2000, John was the first person we contacted. We made arrangements to meet at the Smokehouse restaurant for dinner. The above photo was taken at that dinner and shows John on the left with his son Drake on the right and Steve Schell in the center. What followed was a fascinating conversation yielding further anecdotes on Lansing history. More importantly, it was an opportunity to get to know each other personally.

Since our initial contact, John has acquired a computer and Internet access. He is very open to contact with anyone interested in the early days at JBL and can be reached at: johnanddorothy@email.msn.com. In particular, he would love to hear from any of his former coworkers at JBL.

 

Mark Gander is a recognized authority in the audio industry and currently holds the position of Vice President of Marketing at JBL Professional. He has published numerous technical articles and is a past Governor of AES. Mark was editor of the last two volumes of the AES Loudspeaker Anthology series.

Virtually all of Mark's career has been with JBL He joined the company in 1976 after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master's degree in electrical engineering. Mark was one of the engineers responsible for moving JBL's design process firmly into the realm of science and technology from a more empirically based past. He was key in establishing the use of Theile/Small parametric design at JBL. The photo below illustrates a somewhat younger Mark Gander in full mad scientist mode. Mark brought a unique perspective to JBL. Prior to undertaking his master's degree, Mark spent a year as a tour sound engineer. He was able to bring a grassroots understanding of tour sound requirements at a time when JBL was aggressively expanding into this market.

Mark is the keeper-of-the-flame for the corporate history at JBL. Mark personally set up and maintained their archive files. He has stated, that on more than one occasion, he stepped in at the last minute to save this information from being thrown out. Mark became associated with our web project after being contacted by Garry Margolis on our behalf. Mark was quick to offer assistance from the start. He recruited John Eargle to our cause and has provided strategic direction to our work. Mark has become our champion within the audio industry by spreading word of our work amongst his colleagues. Mark was also responsible for obtaining copyright clearance to use JBL documents on our site. Most importantly, Mark generously granted us unrestricted access to the aforementioned archives. The majority of scanned documents and images on this site come from these files.

 

Garry Margolis is the current President Elect of AES. Garry has had a remarkable career in the audio and electronics industry. He was hired in 1974 as an Applications Engineer for Pro Products, and later rose to Sales Manager, Pro Products for the International Group. Garry left JBL in 1981 to become Director of Sales for UREI. That firm was later acquired by Harman in 1983, and he went back to JBL International where he was later promoted to Vice President, Marketing for pro products. He would remain in that position until leaving in 1990 to establish his own consulting firm. Lately, Garry has been involved in technical and marketing issues regarding both DVD-Video and Super Audio CD for Philips

I came across Garry in 1998 after browsing the archive of an audio mailing list. I noted a number of his posts that displayed very intricate knowledge of JBL products. I emailed him out of the blue to ask him questions on certain products that had always been an enigma to me. He answered with a wealth of detail that continued in an email exchange over the next few weeks. I subsequently lost contact with Garry until the idea for our website arose in late 1999. I reestablished contact in an email to Garry that asked for his advice on leads to develop our site. Garry forwarded that email to Mark Gander, and that became the spark that made our website a reality.

At the time of all of the above correspondence, I had no idea that Garry was a former Vice President of JBL. I knew he was a former employee, but not that he was a past executive. Garry subsequently provided an overview of key staff and their involvement in product development during his tenure at JBL. He agreed to meet with Steve Schell and myself during the September tour. We started at his home where he demonstrated some of the DVD equipment and program materials he has been involved with. We then spent an enjoyable two hours over lunch discussing a myriad of subjects related to JBL, our website and Garry's background.

2001 Don McRitchie