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55 Years
of Electroacoustic History
Future Oriented Since 1969

Some of the most important fundamentals in the history of high-fidelity have been a hallmark of the ESB Company. On this page are some of them: Ideas, insights, basic applications of electro-acoustic principles, and above all, a passion for high fidelity. This is the foundation of Italian design and development.

The ESB corporation was officially founded in 1972, but three years earlier we had already entered the market with the historic 240L loudspeaker. Over fifty-plus years, we have navigated the winding road of high fidelity (home and automotive) through all its evolution, acquiring a wealth of experience and knowledge that is hard to find elsewhere. It has been an assembly of people, work, investments, and insights. What we present in these pages are our most important milestones, both technical and commercial. What we cannot relay, for obvious limitations of space (and memory), are all the human contacts, confrontations, discussions, and discoveries that have occurred during our unique and important journey of more than 50 years.


The ESB 240L




The rise of ESB began in the late '60s, with loudspeaker models of craft and style, but with excellent build and sound quality. Quickly they established themselves in a market overwhelmingly dominated by American brands such as Acoustic Research and JBL. The first hurdle was to sell a product in an Italian market that was so in love with foreign brands. The first home loudspeaker built by ESB founder Vincenzo Biasella (at the time, ESB did not yet exist) was the 240L. This impressive speaker, with nine drivers including a 45 cm diameter woofer, was co-designed with an architect who had designed Biasella’s house. The resulting speaker sounded so beautiful that others who heard it ordered their own sets. These speakers were superb with Jazz, exceeding the sound quality of famous American brands, but they also sounded excellent with classical music. Vincenzo Biasella realized he would have to build a lot of speakers. He wrote “ESB” on the back of his speakers at the connection terminals. Thus was born the ESB brand.

ESB 240L


The ESB L-Series




Within a few years, ESB designed and manufactured a series of speakers embracing the principle of the sealed box (acoustic suspension), putting itself in direct competition with Acoustic Research (AR) that, in those years, dominated the home loudspeaker market, especially when paired with Marantz or McIntosh receivers or separates, and a Thorens turntable for vinyl records. These new ESB L-Series compact bookshelf speakers, in addition to having a more competitive price, set new standards for sound quality. But not only for Jazz and classical genres (dominated by AR speakers), but also for the rock genre (monopolized by JBL bass reflex speakers). The ESB speaker drivers at that time were custom designed by ESB and manufactured by Ciare in Italy. The decision not to build drivers (then limited to one design), but to instead build loudspeaker systems, resulted in rapid growth. This also allowed ESB to take advantage of technological advances in collaboration with multiple, driver factories (Italy was then the leader in Europe and possibly in the world for the production of high-end speaker drivers). Producing its own drivers, at this stage in ESB’s growth, wasn’t possible given the diversity and quantity required by the market. ESB would become the first company in Italy dedicated to loudspeaker design.



The UMA Unit




Thanks to the dedication of Vincenzo Biasella (then the "Boss", but also the engineer) and the contribution of engineer Ferrer, ESB took a major step in advancing the art of loudspeaker design. With the purchase of a set of Bruel & Kjaer tools (which at that time cost more than a house), and the building of an anechoic chamber, ESB reached, within a few years, an industrial dimension. It was the peak of the Italian post-war industrial boom, and everything was booming. It was in these years (the 1970's) that ESB built what has become a legend, and began the conquest of a market that had been dominated almost exclusively by American and British speakers. ESB had broken the wall of foreign domination. Other Italian audio manufacturers such as RCF (Sonus Faber), and many more were soon born. This was the beginning of the Italian age of Hi-Fi. First were speakers, then came Italian amplifiers and other audio electronics. During those years, ESB became a prominent advertiser in audio magazines (Sound and Stereoplay being the first, with Audiovision, AudioReview and Discoteca arriving later). It was through these publications that ESB became acquainted with audio engineer Renato Giussani, who often collaborated with these magazines. Giussani would join the ESB engineering staff at the end of 1979, assuming the role of chief engineer, alongside the founder, Vincenzo Biasella. Together, they would develop the 7 Series, which built on the philosophy that had already generated the UMA (Unità Medio Alti) aimed at optimizing the listening point… something no one had focused on before then.


New Production Factory




In 1978, ESB addressed the need for "limited changes" to the company to achieve future growth. ESB began the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Aprilia, Italy. It would be an immense building for a Hi-Fi company (14,000 sq. meters for manufacturing and offices). The construction took several years to complete, but that immediately allowed ESB to make a qualitative and quantitative leap due to the acquisition of super modern machinery for woodworking and a design office that would be the envy of the best designers in the world. With probably the largest anechoic chamber by a manufacturer of speakers at that time (2,000 Cu mt), productivity quickly grew to 1,000 loudspeakers per day. However, the dizzying production growth was also accompanied by an equally important improvement in quality with the implementation of DSR, the development of the 7 Series, and the fundamental contributions of engineer Renato Giussani.

ESB Factory
ESB Anechoic Chamber


DSR and The 7-Series




ESB’s 7 Series represented and still represents one of the greatest expressions in the field of music reproduction. It is a line of speakers designed and built with the sole objective of achieving the highest sound quality with any music genre in any environment. The sound characteristics are absolutely exceptional, linked to natural timbre, enormous dynamic capacity and high efficiency. But at the heart of its success is DSR, the "distributed spectrum" emission, a revolutionary technique, entirely developed by ESB’s research center, thanks to the work of engineer Giussani. These incredible speakers recreate the image of the soundstage and its musicians down to the smallest detail. As Good As Live. Audio critic Doug Sax would agree, as would those who own Series 7 speakers today:

“I can’t remember the last time that I listened through a complete work. The result was stunning, way beyond accurate; a seamless, effortless recreation of the instruments, the room, the musician’s interplay and emotion - I have never heard a speaker re-create the spatiality of these Italian wonders. The ESB 7/06 was a restorative experience.“ (see full review here)

Doug Sax, Sheffield Lab about the ESB 7/06 (CES, 1983)


ESB Car Audio




The ESB department dedicated entirely to car stereo was launched in 1984. Always with a strong connection to specialized magazines and a circle of acquaintances that merge precisely in the famous Italian audio tradition, Vincenzo Biasella, still active as the head of the company, introduced Gianni Caserta (who later became publisher of specialized magazines such as Giussani). Caserta was passionate about cars and convinced Biasella to make car speakers. In light of the success of the 7 Series, Giussani was asked to develop a similar series of car speakers. The impedances of the speakers changed, but the aesthetics remained the same, extending to a new 45 cm subwoofer. It would become a great success together with the medium-low 1000 MB and the UMA unit. The range was soon enhanced with very special dedicated crossovers. With a sales force comprised of more engineers than sales people, the passion for hi-fi and the knowledge to build excellent sound systems for the car was introduced to the automotive market.
Thus, ESB started another new era…that of car audio.


Nazionali Car Audio




In March of 1985, ESB organized a skiing holiday in the beautiful mountains of Northern Italy and invited some clients and audio journalists to relax and… talk about high fidelity. It occurred to someone to listen to the audio systems in the cars of the participants (coincidentally, every car had an audio system), and it was decided to evaluate their characteristics. A discussion was followed by a ranking. The first car stereo competition, perhaps in the world, was born, without anyone noticing it (the IASCA trophy would come later). What happened? The journalists present at the skiing holiday published in their respective magazines an account of that week consisting of ratings and comparisons. The result was that many car audio enthusiasts wrote asking to participate in the next ESB skiing holiday in order to obtain a qualified judgment and perhaps some advice from the journalists themselves. The requests were so many that, once again, thanks to the intuitive genius that was abundant within the ESB staff, a series of competitions were soon organized throughout the Italian territory. Regulations and a judge’s school were developed in short order, resulting in the first Italian car audio trophy and hundreds of car audio enthusiasts competing in as many provincial and regional competitions. It would be called the NCA Trophy.

The know-how acquired over the years, the result of the great commitment that the competition required, was transmitted to all the Italian installers who were able to enjoy an absolutely new and rare experience, original for Italy and probably unrepeatable. The American trophies began a few years later, with the IASCA being the first. The Italians of the NCA immediately positioned themselves with their own installation and listening philosophy, in contrast to the American approach which favored extremely accurate listening of a well-integrated car system. This made aesthetic solutions widely popular and turning the passenger compartment into a unique space, as well as the trunk. The Italian Car Audio Installation School was born. It would echo throughout all of Europe first, then in the rest of the world. Subsequent European trophies would follow the Italian path rather than the American one.

NCA Story


8000 and 6000 Series




The 8000 Series can be considered the direct heir to the 7000 series, which achieved many successes in the world of car stereo. The goal was to renew a variety of speakers, already considered exceptional, using the latest technologies and the best materials available, with particular attention to installation versatility. Every detail was treated with the utmost care, from the choice of materials, forms, construction and finishing of the baskets, to the innovative ventilation systems. The 165 mm system with the transmission line vented tweeter was reviewed in Car Audio magazine (US) as one of the best ever and "a joy to listen to". 

Born in parallel with the 8000 Series, the 6000 Series came in two types of products… the Series 6000 Blue Note and the Series 6000 Hard Rock, providing listeners of different genres of music just the right system for their individual listening preferences. This decision to offer two different series came from the minds of the designers of the home audio experience. In domestic audio listening, classical music rather than jazz or rock led to the construction of different types of speakers, or even brands like AR and JBL, to give priority to the one in the classical music with speakers totally enclosed and low efficiency and other light music and jazz with open speakers (reflex) with high efficiency. As if to suggest a speaker cannot play both genres with the same quality results. So, ESB created the Blue Note Series (with blue carbon fiber cones) for fans of classical music and Jazz, and the Hard Rock Series (with red carbon fiber cones) for lovers of pop music and rock. Slight changes were made in the frequency responses, in the bass and midrange specifically, and changes to the efficiency to tailor the speakers to each particular genre. The differences in the drivers were subtle, but they were there. ESB was the first to present such an innovative and unique solution.

MB Car Audio School


MB Car Audio School




When ESB’s corporate, engineering, and manufacturing facilities were built in Aprilia, Italy, a small “mall” was built in the basement area that included a small but totally useable cobblestone street that was home to several Hi-Fi shops stocked with audio gear. Here, audio professionals could train reps and salespeople on current audio advances. Knowledge is power, and knowledge advances the industry and everyone in it. As car audio was growing and ESB was entering the car audio market, new levels of education were needed. A full installation and fabrication center was added to the mall for the training of car audio sales and installation personnel.
The National Car Audio Trophy has been a unique and profound experience as far as transferring know-how quickly and effectively from ESB and NCA members to installers. MB Car Audio School was the complement that allowed the same installers to refine their techniques and to gain knowledge in an environment that could be compared to a graduate course, with students earning the equivalent of a Master's Degree. ESB invited National Car Audio Professional installers and also installers and installation trainers from the USA (where there has always been extensive knowledge of the materials and workmanship of the same), to teach to all those who need it, the most advanced techniques. MB Car Audio School has held basic and advanced classes for several years throughout the first decade of 2000, centered on several topics ranging from the use of specialized tools and test equipment to complex technologies like DSR for a perfect "sound quality" drive, and SPL (Sound Pressure Level) for the dB drag car for maximum sound pressure.

ESB 7000

From 1979 to 1984, Renato Giussani took on the role of chief engineer of the ESB’s Research and Development Department, designing all the models in the numerous series produced during those years, including the LD, XL, CS, QL, FX, DCM Series and the glorious 7 Series. Giussani also made a fundamental contribution to the invention of DSR (Distributed Spectrum Radiation), applying it to the 7 Series, the most famous of which was the 7/06 model. The most important feature of the DSR emission technique consisted of listening to a stereo system, without experiencing perspective or timbral distortions, even from off-center positions with respect to the classic listening position at the top of an isosceles triangle in relation to two loudspeakers.




Between the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, ESB dedicated itself to the “professional” audio market, offering a series of loudspeakers with high efficiency and absolute construction quality, using the best professional drivers available. The series was dedicated mainly to recording studios, where the highest neutrality was required, but also to auditoriums, theaters and discos. The FX Series as it became known would be chosen for the listening rooms of many lovers of high dynamic systems or even just for the "monitor" quality these speakers shared with other famous studio speakers of the time.
The midrange/tweeter group (with Fostex components) as well as the woofers were built to place the emission planes of the drivers at the same distance from the listening point, without appreciable delays. The speaker system was equipped with an original crossover circuit that produced an “extra kick” of sound pressure when the second of the two woofers (both 15”) were switched from the passive (or “braking”) to the “active” function. This particular concept allowed the same loudspeaker to be utilized in three different configurations. The entire loudspeaker was able to handle amplifiers up to 1000 watts peak, at the limit of saturation, with an extraordinary efficiency of 100 dB/W/m.
The FX series was a further demonstration of the high level of loudspeaker development achieved by ESB during those years. ESB occupied the most advanced positions in the world when it came to research skills and construction solutions, even in the coveted professional field.



The GOLD Series




"You should also please the ears!" This advertising slogan was the foundation of the Gold Series...
Dedicated to those who rate sound quality strictly with their ears and appreciated by the "golden ears" of the most critical experts. With the simple elegance of the finishes, the Gold Series focused on the musical result, from the smaller book-shelf models to the flagship Gold 4 and Gold 5.

"The Gold Four had all the necessary characteristics to play a leading role and will be able to conquer the ever-growing audience of audiophiles" (Audio Review, Sept. '92)

“The Gold Four allow you to bring home not only a high degree of musicality but also an excellent completeness of response, with a bass that is certainly a great speaker, at a drastically competitive price. The Gold Four are able to easily accompany much more expensive amplifications" (Suono, Gen. '93)

"Examined from different points of view, the Gold Four appear as one of those speakers made with the clear intention of marking a point of reference in the somewhat chaotic panorama of world electroacoustics..." (Stereoplay, May '93)

"The Gold Four are loudspeakers with absolutely Audiophile Oriented characteristics, I can hardly say that I had rarely heard in the past a speaker system that was so clearly addressed to the audiophile people... A small masterpiece to listen carefully"

(Fedeltà del Suono, June/July '93)



The New 7000 Series




Over the last decade, ESB produced reference-quality speakers, designed and manufactured solely for use in the car. These excellent speakers were added in 1993. This new line was named the 7000 Series, as they were a match to the famous 7 Series home speakers. The 7000 Series was greeted immediately with critical acclaim, thanks to their remarkable sonic characteristics and absolute top-level construction. Particularly notable were the UMA-800 unified mid-high unit and the 480-S2 46cm subwoofer, but many other components were also made to complete the Series.

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