In 1947 an Elkhart, Indiana minister named Clarence C. Moore founded the International Radio and Electronics Corporation (IREC) which, over the years, has become better known as Crown Audio Inc. Moore started by building open-reel tape recorders out of a chicken coop but today, Crown Audio is an industry leader in amplified sound. Crown makes amps for cinema venues, installed sites, touring rigs, portable PA and commercial audio. With over 67 years of focus on innovation and providing the best user experience, Crown Audio is continually raising the bar in audio amplification.
Clarence C. 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). This invention led the way for several more in the next 15 years. In 1964, the company invented their first solid-state amplifier called the SA 20-20. From then on, the focus switched from tape recorders to amplifiers and the business was quickly growing.
Unfortunately, amongst all of the growth and development, a fire erupted on Thanksgiving Day in 1971 and destroyed over 60% of the facility and the remainder of the plant was severely damaged. There was $1 million of uninsured inventory destroyed in the process. However, Mr. Moore wasn’t going to let this disaster stop him now. Production resumed within 6 weeks with the latest of their inventions, the D-60 amplifier.
Eventually, Moore’s wife and co-founder, Ruby (deceased 2002), suggested that a name change was in order. 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 1975, the stockholders voted to change the name of the corporation to Crown International, Inc.
Acquired by Harman International in March of 2000, Crown has continued to move forward, producing numerous innovative designs, such as the DriveCore™ Install (DCi) series that was released in 2013. This series features both analog and Network amplifiers for the installed sound market. Using just one tiny chip to replace over 500 parts makes the DCi series of amplifiers the most reliable and innovative amplifier on the market today. 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.”
Crown Audio is proud to be part of the HARMAN Professional family.
Headquartered in Northridge, California, HARMAN Professional is part of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, high fidelity audio products and infotainment systems for the automotive, home and professional markets. The company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: HAR.
HARMAN Professional is the world’s largest professional audio company. HARMAN Professional companies include AKG Acoustics, AMX, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, JBL Professional, Lexicon, Martin, Soundcraft, and Studer. These companies design, manufacture and market leading professional audio products for recording and broadcast, musicians, cinema, touring sound, commercial sound and contracting applications.