Harman Opens New Engineering Facility
Another innovative feature is a bank of keypads through which listeners can feed back their impressions to engineers. These impressions are logged into a database that is used to optimize the performance of systems under development. Listeners include both experts and non-experts, company spokesmen explained. The lab also has three smaller rooms, from 2000 sq. ft. to 4500 sq. ft., for speaker evaluation.
While conducting a press tour of the new facility, company founder Dr. Sidney Harman described the lab as "evidence of his company's commitment to the future of the industry." Acknowledging currently sluggish sales---which he attributed to the Asian economic slump---Dr. Harman expressed his confidence in the fundamental strength of the industry, calling present circumstances a "difficult passage."
Harman, which reportedly did $1.47 billion in business last year, is planning two new additions to its top-end Infinity brand of loudspeakers. The Omega line will hit the market later this summer, and the Delta line will arrive sometime this fall. Harman is also making a major push into auto sound, said Loudspeaker Group president Dennis Brown. The company does more than half its business outside the US, he said, calling JBL the "number one" loudspeaker in Germany, China, and Japan.