of audio innovations
Future oriented since 1969
Some of the most important milestones in the history of high fidelity audio have been marked by 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 audio. These are the foundation of our history.
ESB, the corporation, was officially born in 1972. But three years earlier we had already entered the market with the historic 240L loudspeaker. Since then it's been 50 years, we have traveled the market of high fidelity (home and automotive) in all its evolution, acquiring a wealth of experience and knowledge that are hard to find elsewhere. An assembly of people, labor, investment and insights. What we present in these pages are the most important milestones, technical and commercial. What we cannot tell, for obvious limitations of space (and memory) are all the human contacts, confrontations, discussions and discoveries during our unique and important journey of almost 50 years.
The ESB 240L
The rise of ESB began in the late '60s, with some loudspeaker models of craft style, but with excellent build quality and sound. 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 loudspeaker built by Vincenzo Biasella (at the time the company ESB did not yet exist) was the 240L. This impressive speaker, with nine drivers and a woofer 45 cm in diameter, was designed with an architect who was commissioned to his house. The resulting product played so well that others who heard it ordered their own sets. These speakers were superb with the Jazz, exceeding the sound of emblazoned American brands, but they played well with classical music also. Vincenzo Biasella saw he would perhaps have to build a lot of speakers and wrote ESB on the back at the connection terminals. Thus was born the ESB brand.
The L Series
Within a few years ESB designed and manufactured a series of speakers espousing the principle of the sealed box and putting itself directly in competition with the Acoustic Research (AR) that, in those years, dominated the sound quality market where systems typically had AR speakers, Marantz receiver or separates, and a Thorens turntable.
ESB built compact bookshelf speakers (we speak of the famous L series), that in addition to having a relatively better price, had better sound quality. Not only for Jazz but also for the classical genre (like AR) and the Rock Genre (dominated at that time by the JBL bass reflex speakers). The ESB speaker drivers at that time were designed by ESB and manufactured by Ciare in Italy.
A choice, then that would result in rapid growth, was to not build drivers (then limited to one design), but instead to build loudspeakers. This so we could get every technological solution in collaboration with large driver factories (Italy was then the leader in Europe and possibly in the world for the production of high end speaker drivers). Producing his own drivers, at this stage in its growth, it would not be possible to commission in diversity and quantity required by the market. The ESB would become the first company in Italy in the sector.
100LD and the UMA unit
Thanks to the dedication of Vincenzo Biasella (then "Boss", but also the designer) and the contribution of Eng. Ferrer, also thanks to the purchase of a set of tools Bruel & Kjaer which at that time cost more than a house, and the building of an anechoic chamber, small, but still good enough, ESB reached, within a few years, an industrial dimension. It was the happy moment of the Italian post-war industrial boom and everything was booming.
It was in those 1970's years that built then become a myth, and began the conquest of the market, dominated almost exclusively by products from the Americans and British. Now, thanks to ESB they had broken the wall of foreign domination that existed before, and more Italian producers such as RCF and Indiana Line, then Sonus Faber and many others were soon born. This was the birth of the Italian school of HiFi. First speakers, then Italian amplifiers and other audio electronics.
During those years ESB became large advertiser in audio magazines (Sound and Stereoplay the first, Audiovision, AudioReview and Discoteca arriving later) and Renato Giussani know who already 'worked with these magazines would at the end of 79, join the staff of the ESB assuming the role of chief engineer and, alongside the founder Vincenzo Biasella, will finalize the 7 Series, evolution of philosophy had already generated the UMA concept (United Mid-high Drivers) aiming at optimizing the front listening area, something he had not done any until then...
New production factory
In 1978, the ESB company responded to the need for "limited changes" to the company if future growth plans were to be achieved. ESB begins the construction in Aprilia, Italy of an immense building for a Hi-Fi company (14,000 mt. Square covered surface for manufacturing and offices). The construction takes several years to complete, but that immediately allows ESB to make a qualitative and quantitative leap. Thanks to the commissioning of super modern machinery for the woodworking and a design office that could be envied by anyone in the world, with probably the largest anechoic chamber owned by a manufacturer of speakers of that time (2,000 Cu mt), productivity quickly grows to 1000 loudspeakers per day. But the dizzying growth in production while also having an equally important growth in terms of quality and innovation with the creation of the DSR and the construction of the series 7 with the fundamental contribution of Renato Giussani.
DSR and the 7 Series
The ESB 7 Series has been and still is one of the highest achievements in the field of music playback. It was a line of speakers designed and built with the sole objective of achieving the highest quality of listening, of any genre and in any environment. The sound characteristics are absolutely exceptional, linked to natural timbre, enormous dynamic capacity and high efficiency. But success must be considered in the project, he sees in his heart the DSR (read more about DSR), issue to "spread spectrum", a revolutionary technique, developed entirely by the ESB research center and the work of Eng. Renato Giussani. These incredible speakers finally allow one to recreate in great detail the image of the stage and its performers. Just as in life. Not only does Doug Sax say this, but those who are fortunate enough today to still have a set of 7 Series speakers at home, despite perhaps speaker re-coning needed over the years.
“… 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. Everything sounded glorious and musical... Again, the best reproduction of voice have ever heard.”
“… We went and listened to the whole sonata (Strauss). I can’t remember the last time that 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, a restorative experience.“
Doug Sax, Sheffield Lab about the ESB 7/06 (CES, 1983)
ESB Car Audio
In 1984, an ESB department was born dedicated entirely to car stereo. Always with a strong connection with magazines and a circle of audio knowledge that formed the Italian school of Hi-Fi audio, Vincenzo Biasella, still in vogue as founding member of the society knows Gianni Caserta. Gianni Caserta is lover of cars and convinces Biasella to make the speakers for the car. So given the success of the 7 Series we ask Giussani to develop a similar set for cars. Not only change the impedances of the speakers, but the aesthetics and to include a 45 cm. subwoofer. The to provide the big hit, the 1000MB mid-bass and a UMA for mids and highs, despite the large size The range is enriched early a dedicated crossover thanks to a sales force made more than engineers that sellers, ESB moved to the car market not only the passion for hi-fi but also the knowledge to build excellent facilities in the car. So was born another era... the Car Audio era, then will survive to home for all years from 2000 onwards.
NCA Nazionali Car Audio
It was March of 1985 and the ESB organized then winter holidays skiing in the beautiful mountains of North Italy and invited some clients and some journalists to come and play, relax and talk... about high fidelity. The vehicles taking the participants to the slopes each had an audio system and the participants were asked to evaluate the characteristics of the systems.
The result was a discussion and eventually classifications for a car audio competition. Thus was born the first car audio competition in Europe and perhaps in the world (this was before there was IASCA). What happened? Journalists attending the ski published in their respective journals a review of trip made of plays and discussions. The result was that many fans of Car Audio wrote asking to participate in the subsequent winter weeks to get a qualified opinion and maybe some advice from the journalists themselves. The requests were so many that, once again, thanks to the intuitive genius that was not lacking among the staff ESB, a series of events was arranged throughout the Italian territory, with the rapid development of regulations and a school Judges, pushed Prime trophy of Italian Car audio and see hundreds of competitors compete in many regional and national competitions. It was named Trophy NCA (National Car Audio).
The know-how acquired over the years as well, the result of the great efforts that the trophy has requested, it is sent to all Italian installers who have been eligible for an entirely new and rare, original for our country and probably unrepeatable. A few years later they began in the USA, NCA and later IASCA. The Italian of the NCA immediately positioned themselves on a philosophy of listening and installation, also in contrast to the American one, which supported a highly accurate listening in a car in which the plant was also well integrated making widely enjoyable aesthetic solutions and original spaces of passenger compartment as also the trunk of the car. It was born the Car Audio Italian Install School. Will have followers throughout Europe first, then in the world and subsequent European trophies will follow the Italian road rather than the American one.
The GOLD Series
"The ears wants its part!"This advertising slogan was the presentation of the Gold Series.
Dedicated to those who rate the quality strictly with their ears and was appreciated by the "golden ears" of the most critical experts. With the simple elegance of the finishes, the Gold Series focuses on the musical result, the smaller book-shelf models for the Flagship Gold 4 and 5.
The new 7000 Series
ESB has operated over the last decade with an output of absolute reference for what concerns loudspeakers, designed and manufactured solely for use in the car. These excellent speakers were added in 1993 the new line was named the 7000 Series, as they were a match the famous 7 Series home speakers. The 7000 series was, greeted immediately with a real critical acclaim and audience, thanks to their remarkable sonic characteristics and absolutely 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 complement the Series.
The 8000 and 6000 Series
The 8000 Series can be considered the direct heir of the 7000 series, which has achieved many successes in the world of car stereo. The goal was to renew a variety of speakers in itself exceptional, with the help of the latest technologies and the use of the best materials available today, with an eye to the versatility of installation. Every detail was taken care of with the utmost care, from the choice of materials to the forms, from the 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 (US) as one of the best ever and "a joy to listen to". Born in parallel with the 8000 series, the 6000 series comes in two types of products, the Series 6000 Blue Note and the Series 6000 Hard Rock, to provide the listeners of different genres of music just the right system for their individual listening needs.This decision to offer two different series sytems from experience in a home audio, still present in the minds of designers. In domestic audio listening choices of classical music rather than jazz or light had led to construction of different speakers or even choices of brands were just as were those of 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 say that may not exist a perfect speaker that can play both genders with the same quality results. So the ESB creates the series Blue Note (with blue carbon fiber cones) for fans of classical music and Jazz, and the series Hard Rock (with red carbon fiber cones) for lovers of pop music and rock. Slight changes in frequency responses, in the bass and midrange and efficiencies to tailor the speaker to its particular genre. The differences are not obviously macroscopic. But they are there. And ESB was the first to present such an innovative and unique solution.
MB Car Audio School
The National Car Audio Trophy has been a unique and overwhelming experience for the ability to transfer know-how quickly and effectively by ESB and NCA members to Installers. MB Car Audio School was the complement that allowed the same installers to refine techniques of work and to gain knowledge in an environment that can be fairly compares to a graduate school, with the equivalent of a Master's Degree. ESB has invited National Car Audio Professional installers and also installers and installation trainers from the USA (where there has always been high 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 had regular and advanced classes for several years throughout the first decade of 2000, centered on several topics, from the use of specialized tools and test equipment to complex technologies like the DSR for a perfect "Sound Quality" drive and the SPL (Sound Pressure Level) for the dB Drag car for the maximum sound pressure.