Built In America | With Global Components
CONTINUING OUR FOCUS ON AMERICAN PRODUCTS THAT DRIVE OUR LIFESTYLE, WE TOOK A TRIP DOWN TO MIRAMAR, FLORIDA, FOR A ONE-ON-ONE TOUR THROUGH ONE OF OUR INDUSTRY’S MOST RESPECTED MANUFACTURERS. JL Audio has a classic story of entrepreneurial success made possible by the efforts of a highly motivated, talented and passionate group of real audio people.
LITTLE DID ANYONE KNOW THAT A SMALL CREW OF RABID CAR AUDIO ENTHUSIASTS WAS ABOUT TO TURN THE AUTO SOUND WORLD ON ITS EAR, USING THIS MODEST LINEUP OF SUBWOOFER DRIVERS.
It all started in the mid-1970s when two high school buddies decided to fool around with component speakers and began building home-use loudspeakers for fun during their summer break from university studies. At first, they only showed them to their friends. Then, their friends bought a few of them, and they built a few more to sell at the local weekend flea market. Soon, the hobby turned into a fun little business, and the two friends chose their first name initials for the fledgling enterprise. While Jim Birch and Lucio Proni were turning their passion for sound into JL Audio, they had no idea what they were starting would eventually become one of the world’s most respected audio brands.
Opening their own retail store called Speaker Warehouse was a way to sell their products and provide loudspeaker repair services on a local level. As the word got out that these guys really knew their stuff about speaker systems, their small retail store in Hollywood, Florida, began to thrive. Soon after, Lucio started to design new products, including more home speakers, DIY speaker kits and DJ speaker systems in order to carry more interesting products in the store. The first JL Audio car subwoofer driver was the 8W2, a simple-looking 8-inch woofer that delivered excellent output and low-frequency extension. Variants of the 8W2 design in 10-inch and 12-inch sizes soon followed with similar success. In 1987, Lucio followed with more powerful W5 dual voice coil subwoofers in 10- and 12-inch sizes. Little did anyone know that a small crew of rabid car audio enthusiasts was about to turn the auto sound world on its ear, using this modest lineup of subwoofer drivers. Over the next decade, JL Audio grew exponentially, adding dealers and new products to the line. By the mid -’90s, the company was no longer a small enterprise and began to outgrow its building in eastern Miramar, Florida. Additional space was added in remote buildings to delay the inevitable, but in 1998 the big move was made to the company’s present 156,000-sq-ft headquarters.
Throughout JL Audio you will find people who love audio, take it very seriously and consider themselves fortunate to have a career in such an enjoyable field. True audio nuts can be found around every corner of JL Audio’s facilities in Miramar, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Cypress, California. They include former audio retailers, IASCA World Champions, installers, recording engineers and an engineering staff with vast experience in professional, car and home audio product design. Let’s check this place out.