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no ADS history


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who has the history of ADS,

there is very little info on the company nor any info on their speakers,

I currently have ADS L10, ADS L780/2 and ADS L810 speakers and some Brauns,

any info is appreciated

They appear to have gone belly-up a dozen or so years ago. One of the former employees is servicing speakers out of Tempe, AZ.

Here is an ADS overview from user: Jan_b_vigne over on ecoustics.com

He says it is third hand information, so now it is forth hand -- take it for what it is worth -- a starting point at least.

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

"If I remember correctly - which is how just about any story of ADS/Braun begins, ADS (Analog & Digital Systems) was the American importer's company label. Braun was the original German company which built the raw drivers and to some extent had a small, popular line of (fairly conventional) Braun speakers, tape decks and amplifiers for sale in Europe. I suppose the most common link to the ADS/Braun line was a Dr. Gunther who wished to import the products and traveled around to dealers trying to stir interest in the late 1970's when Germany was not yet on the US audiophile map beyond Dual (from the Black Forest area) and a by then less well known Blaupunkt. (Studer and Revox were both Swiss companies distributed originally through German lines.) Eventually, enough dealers signed on to a commitment and Gunther established ADS as the "manufacturer" of the speakers in the US. This was fair at the time as many companies were using drivers sourced from various manufacturers around the world and subsequently designing and building their own systems with either off the shelf drivers or custom modified drivers from a larger company. The original Boston Acoustics line came down in lineage from the KHL/Advent company but sourced their midrange and tweeter from Vifa and Seas while the woofers were manufactured in house but due to time restrictions on the company launch the A200's original woofer's ceramic magnet was charged at the AR factory in Cambridge, Mass. A largely similar story exists around EPI and the original Genesis line from Cambridge where nepotism in speaker design was common place amongst the numerous MIT students who had worked with Vilchur or Kloss or one of their students/business associates.

The earliest Thiel speakers used drivers sourced from Vifa, Seas and Dynaudio as off the shelf components. KEF and Celestion were popular drivers for many companies as they represented a level of performance a small company could not accomplish on a small business budget. Memory says early Infinity's used many KEF drivers as the B139 oval woofer was a common sight in numerous speakers branded other than KEF. As most of these small speaker companies were unable to produce cabinets in quantity, another shop built enclosures and the speaker manufacturer might only be designing a crossover and performing final assembly of the pieces making the distinction between designer and assembler a sometimes thin line. Shipping cartons obviously came from yet another source. The same system of re-engineering off the shelf drivers still exists today for many speaker companies. From using strictly off the shelf drivers the next step was for a company to grow successful enough to have a company such as Dynaudio take one of their stock drivers and modify it to the designer's requests. Finally, a company would begin to design and build their own drivers in house and to their own specifications which represented the pinnacle of success in many cases. For Thiel "success" came when they had their own driver manufacturing facilities, a CNC cutter for cabinet construction and finally their own custom carton manufacturing. Other than crossover components Thiel was building their speakers from the ground up and they were responsible for 95% of what went into their products.

Back to ADS, Gunther hired a designer (Michael Kelly?) to build finished speakers around the Braun drivers. Another company built cabinets here in the US to ADS' specifications. Kelly managed some fairly industrious and unique designs for ADS which drew significant attention to the ADS line. As the ADS line grew in stature and sales, Braun took notice and thought they could do just as well or better under their own name by trading on the popularity, reputation and success of the ADS line. The problems started with the issue of Braun having to import entire speaker systems which meant fairly heavy cabinets were being shipped across the sea incurring added expense not seen in the ADS line who had only been shipping raw drivers. ADS and Braun existed for a time as distinct lines with only passing similarities yet in discrete dealerships which led to many conflicts of interest and many awkward questions for everyone concerned. The Braun answer to this pricing issue was to cut off ADS's access to many their most successful drivers. Suddenly ADS was in danger of being put out of business without a product line along with not having any back up drivers for repairs. Promises to dealers were being broken on a daily schedule as both revenues and resources dried up. Many of Kelly's designs were difficult to drive amd required high power yet the Braun drivers were not meant for high power handling. This led to numerous repairs being done by dealers. Day by day dealer's repair facilities were stacking full of broken ADS speakers waiting for parts that never came.

My recollection is of a short compromise where ADS/Braun speakers existed as one line but Braun soon found themselves under commitment to repair existing ADS/Kelly designed speakers while not having the benefit of using all of Kelly's designs - many of which Braun disapproved of due to their reliability issues and their not being "perfect" examples of Braun design skills (which were not of the type desired by the average US audiophile of the day). New dealers had been established for the ADS/Braun line separate from the original ADS and Braun dealerships, many original ADS dealers were left out in the cold without any factory backup and new Braun dealers were expected to use their own resources to fulfill ADS's commitments to parts and service. Court battles quickly and seemingly endlessly ensued. Eventually ADS was subsumed and then ceased to exist as a distinct company. Braun speakers went on in the US for a few years without most of the innovation of the ADS/Kelly designs and eventually faded ingloriously from the US market. Memories from customers ranging from fond to highly PO'd and generally hard feelings from dealers who stuck it out too long or hoped to make a quick buck off someone else's efforts were all that were left.

That's my recollection of the story - which admittedly might have some factual errors. I never sold the ADS or Braun lines and the story I know has been related (at least) third hand. However, the commonality of such stories through the '60's-80's is legend in high end audio. The short success of a good designer or an ardent audiophile turned "manufacturer" was often followed by their company being destroyed from outside forces due to their poor skills and talents as business people...."



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