HARMAN was provided with many opportunities to celebrate in 2016. From recent acquisitions that added to our diverse portfolio and offerings, to $1 billion in sales for Consumer Audio, HARMAN solidified our industry leadership and we look forward to more success as the year comes to a close.

This year also marked another significant event – the 70th birthday of HARMAN’s legendary brand, JBL. Since the 1940s, JBL has established a legacy of excellence that has earned lifelong fans and continues to earn new customers through innovations that adapt to the needs of today’s consumer.

The following JBL design achievements illustrate just how much consumer lifestyles have evolved, and how the JBL brand continues to challenge what’s possible for premium sound experiences.

The Golden Age of Cinema (1940s)

JBL founder

When JBL founder James B. Lansing was a youth, going to the movies was one of the primary ways that people consumed sound and music. Before JBL was formally incorporated, James B. Lansing helped innovate sound technology for movie theaters. While it may be hard to imagine the scale of this now, consider this: during the early part of the 1900s, more than half of Americans went to the movies weekly. Sound, of course, plays an important role to their experience and JBL remains the loudspeaker of choice at an overwhelming percentage of cinemas worldwide.

Sounds from the Cinema  Enter  the Home (1950s)


Not only were people experiencing James B. Lansing and JBL sound at the cinema, but they were beginning to have it introduced in their homes as well. The high-fidelity market entered a golden age in the 1950s, with JBL as a major contributor with the introduction of legendary products, such as the Hartsfield and the Paragon.


JBL Takes the Stage (1960s and 1970s)


The emergence of rock music festivals during this time period provided JBL with an opportunity to become part of major cultural moments in the United States. JBL famously had sound equipment featured at the Woodstock music festival in 1969. Some specific loudspeaker designs created during this time include the renowned 4310 Studio Monitor, which was adapted for consumer use as the famous Century L100 in the 1970s.


Movie Theater Quality Reaches the Living Room (1980s and 1990s)


The 1980s and 1990s brought about an explosion of home theater audio systems where people could have the experience of “going to the movies” from the comfort of home. JBL developed products such as the L212 and the Everest and JBL Synthesis ultimate-performance complete home theater audio systems."




Music on the Go (2000s to present)


The past two decades have brought about tremendous change in sound technology and the way we consume music. The advent of the Sony Walkman and the iPod proved the popularity of portable music; but JBL went further by creating a variety of headphones and hip, portable speakers to take the listening experience to the next level and make it mobile.  Exciting and high impact new professional and high–end consumer loudspeakers were launched and included JBL Vertec, the  K2 S9800 and Project Array.