BEGINNINGS 1960's 1970's


Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound" using JBL Speakers
and Courtesy Richard Pechner  (For Usage Contact: [email protected])



The purpose of this section is to document the history of JBL in the professional market. JBL had it's genesis in this market going back to Jim Lansing's pivotal role in helping to define the movie sound industry.  Five decades later, the current JBL Professional is the world's largest professional sound company.

JBL Professional dominates the  fields of broadcast, recording, cinema, touring and installed sound. However, it was not always this way. JBL started modestly in the professional market with a small product line targeted at the movie sound industry. Over the next two decades, JBL would expand its presence to a number of professional fields with a series of innovative products. However, during this time, the company remained in the shadow of its arch rival - Altec Lansing

JBL's march to preeminence in the professional market would begin in the 1970's. Leading the way was explosive growth in the recording market. In a four year span of the mid seventies, JBL went from being a minor supplier of studio monitors to outselling all competing brands combined.  The end of the decade saw JBL successfully attacking Altec Lansing's long held command of the cinema market. Tour sound came of age during this decade with large scale arena and stadium concerts. JBL was there to provide the technology to make it possible.

JBL's rise in the professional market can largely be described as astute observance of market changes combined with the ability to capitalize on them with innovative products.  This section documents the pivotal industry developments and JBL's response.