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Audio Authority

Our History

Audio Authority Corporation was established in 1976 when Jonathan Sisk opened a retail store specializing in upscale audio components. Key to his business plan was the ability to accurately demonstrate and compare competing products for his customers. But no high-quality, commercially available devices existed to equip his showroom, so he collaborated with his friend, Jonathan Gertz, and together they designed and built the Model One Efficiency Compensating Speaker Comparator.

Model One Efficiency Compensating Comparator
          The original Model One Efficiency Compensating Comparator, our first product.

The Model One did a lot more than just switch between speakers. Comparing the sound of high-quality speakers had always been difficult because each speaker played louder or softer than others with the same amplifier volume setting. And because our hearing improves with volume, consumers would usually prefer the louder speaker, not necessarily the better one. The secret to accurate speaker comparisons was to perform them at exactly the same sound pressure level. The Model One achieved this by automatically adjusted amplifier output to play speakers of widely differing efficiencies at the same sound pressure level, making sound quality differences much more obvious.

The Model One incorporated other innovations such as SilenTouch™ switch interval muting and AutoDamping™ to keep unselected speakers in the showroom from absorbing the bass output of the speakers being played. Both SilenTouch and AutoDamping are still featured in Audio Authority product to this day.

Unanticipated demand for the Model One from other consumer electronics dealers and manufacturers propelled the new retailer into manufacturing within months of the store opening. A production line was setup in an adjacent space to manufacture a small run of comparators, which sold quickly. As demand grew Audio Authority developed showroom demonstration systems for other audio components. With the 1980’s car audio boom came high-current power supplies, switching systems, and modular displays. With its own retail store as a test-bed for new demonstration ideas, Audio Authority products gained a reputation for cost-effective innovative solutions.
Model 430-1 Intercom Console from 1984 


The 1980s also brought a demand for high-quality commercial intercom systems designed specifically for the drive-up banking industry. The technology and manufacturing for switching and demonstration systems was relevant and easily adaptable to this new product and market. This business channel has expanded and grown through the years. Today, Audio Authority drive-up intercoms are used by more OEMs and installers of financial security products than any other.
In 1986, Audio Authority sold its retail operations to focus solely on manufacturing and in 1989 built its own purpose-designed factory on a 4.5 acre campus in Lexington, from where it operates to this day.

Audio Authority products have continued to expand and mature in anticipation of new technologies and our customers’ needs. Centralized, mechanical switching systems have long since been replaced by modular electronic switching modules connected by audio buses and communications networks. The integration of video for home theater in the 1990s made video signal distribution an integral part of our business. Today, software with its inherent flexibility provides the means to make hardware do more and add features as technology and markets change.

Audio Authority has defied the odds and trends by keeping its manufacturing here in Kentucky when most others moved their production offshore. Besides retaining jobs here in the USA, we believe our in-house production provides a level of flexibility, control, and response that our competitors cannot match and that customers value.

We invite you to explore our website to see the wide variety of products that we currently offer. Featured below are just a few of our legacy products that were landmarks along the path to establishing Audio Authority as a leader in design, engineering, manufacturing, service and support, all out of our facility here in the Bluegrass.


Product History Tour

    
Series 2 AutoSound Comparator gridcard-displaymodules Model 310 second generation comparator for turntables amplifiers and speakers
     
1980s hi-fi component showroom display with 310 Series 4 hi-fi stereo comparator grid-430-1intercom
     
Hybrid DC Power System for Car Audio gridcard-originalaccess gridcard-985u

 
  
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Audio Authority® Corporation, 2048 Mercer Road, Lexington, KY 40511-1071 USA
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