The basic steps of our history
In Phase stability, the DSR system, words from Doug Sax (of Sheffield Labs), and digital processing. Fully developed in the ESB research center, after considerable acoustic field research, these technological goals have now been adapted by many other manufacturers.
Here is a brief summary of the technical innovations introduced by ESB.
Until the early 1970's virtually all speaker manufacturers in the world positioned the speakers on the panels of their boxes following a logic of design rather than acoustics. The only thing that was done was to put the tweeters at the top and midrange and woofer in the bottom, a matter of size... Then someone decided it was better to put the speakers in phase, aligning the acoustic centers by making them equidistant from the listening position. ESB after considerable acoustic field research, reached some conclusions about sound reproduction and fidelity. These conclusions after further study have now been adapted by many other manufacturers. (You can read more in The Phase page)
Thus was born what became known as UMA (Unit Medium High) or Mid/Tweeter mounted adjacent on a single flange.
UMA distinguished virtually all the future design and production of ESB.
Along with the UMA, ESB also introduced a new discourse about the problem of the placement of the speakers in the environment and the optimum listening position. Discussion and experimentation over the next few years eventually led to the DSR project. DSR remains today, over 30 years later, an innovative and unique concept whose implementation has helped ESB develop an unchallenged reputation as one of the finest loudspeakers of all time. Doug Sax of Sheffield Labs ,renowned manufacturer of Direct to Disk live recordings, in a visit to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 1983 said (and then sent a letter to magazine 'Absolute Sound):
"After five hours of this madness we were pooping out, but we hear a vocal - Amanda’s, it so happened-coming from some unknown speaker. It is instantly obvious that this is the best I’ve ever heard her sound, save for standing next to her. We went in and sat down and really listened. Everything sounded glorious and musical... I can’t remember the last time that listened through a complete work. The result was stunning..." (see full review here)
After DSR, ESB began to think how to further develop the design of the optimal location of the speakers and how to correct the response of the speakers to suit the acoustics, often unchangeable, of the environments in which they were placed.
To make changes to adapt the sound to any environment would require signal processing beyond the analog devices then available. It would require computing power to make adjustments in the digital realm. At that time Digital Processing power was only available in professional studio equipment, and even then the computing power was not sufficient to our needs. By the time Digital Processing had developed to the consumer in the early 2000's, the cost of manufacturing in Italy had become too high to be practical, as it had in many places. Acoustic Research, JBL, KLH and others had closed their factories in the US, or been acquired by conglomerates.
ESB, however, while they closed the factory making expensive home speakers, continued production of car speakers (which had started in 1984) with systems using the same technology and often even the same drivers as developed for the famous 7 Series home speakers.
Will there be more home speakers from ESB in the future? Well it could be, but the founder of the ESB, Vincenzo Biasella, will need an equally innovative project, like the number 7, to bring him back to the home audio market.
After the home audio production, ESB continued to offer excellent products for car. Now, after several years of research and planning, ESB is offering 2 new lines of car audio speakers, packed with new technologies, new concepts and the highest performance.
The CS Series applies all the ESB technology to speakers designed as factory replacement speakers for BMW and Audi cars.
The ESB Car Audio line brings new technology to after-market universal fit speakers, from top high-end 10000 Series to the 2000 entry level Series, including the 8000, 5000, and the totally new 9000 and 3000 Series this year.