Defunct Audio Manufacturers  - Ba to Bd

Babb Audio Corporation

Company started in 1984 by Alan Babb and was based in Farmers Branch, Texas, USA, but later located in Louisville in the same state. Mr Babb claimed to have been selling car audio loudspeaker drivers under the Babb name as a sole trader as early as 1980, although it is not known if these were of his own manufacture or simply rebrands that he sold a a side-line. The company made car audio loudspeakers that got reasonably well known in the southern USA in the mid 80's, these were somewhat unlike modern car loudspeakers in that they were spiderless full range drivers that featured a plastic basket that enclosed the whole of the back of the driver, aluminium cones, ceramic magnets and plastic friction parts.

This made the Babb drivers ideal for the car installs of the day, the basket arrangement meant that separate boxes were not needed, and as most car manufacturers at the time made limited allowances for car audio in their cabin design, the ability to install the speakers just about anywhere were you could cut a hole in the cabin interior without having to use dampening material or a crossover, was a definite boon to the installers of the day. The Babb speakers were also quite sensitive so they could be driven by fairly puny amplifiers, often using just the simple cassette radios that came installed is standard. This alongside the fact that they were locally made and distributed, meant that they stood up rather well price-wise in the competition with other car audio speakers, much of them being imports.

By the 90's the increased use of insulation in the cabins and stiffer and more solid cabin materials, especially with the more expensive cars, meant that you could find space within most cabins that could be used as a baffle. Fashions were changing as well, car audio was becoming a scene, with competitions, specialised publications and so on. This meant that for the car audio aftermarket the norm had become separate power amplifiers and tweeters, midrange drivers and subwoofers with associated crossover and the sort of full-range speakers Babb made had become something of a niche market. However in the meantime the company had found another channel for their products in the marine audio segment, but the material used in their drivers made them for all intents and purposes weatherproof and the ability to be used without a baffle was a great boon to installers

The company went out of business in early 2004 and in 2005 Mr Babb joined Bosch Communications Systems as an engineer. What remained of the company was sold to David Chaffey in January 2006, but he now manufactures updated versions of the Babb drivers under the "DC Gold Audio" name. Spares & service : Aforementioned Mr Chaffey can service all older Babb drivers and indeed may offer upgrades to the L series drivers to a more modern specification, for the marine and car speakers the only real problem they face over time is the foam surrounds that have a tendency to rot, but they are bog standard parts and any competent speaker repairer will be able to fix the quickly and cheaply. The drive magnets are also standard parts and readily available but seldom cause any problems.

Backes & Müller

A loudspeaker manufacturing company initially founded by and named after Friedrich Müller and Wolfgang Backes and was based in Saarbrücken, in Saarland, Germany. Early history is not completely clear to us, the two gentlemen are certainly offering products in the latter half of 1971, trading as a partnership under the name of Backes & Müller Elektroakustik, but it is more than possible that they are operating much earlier since the first product we are aware of is the "Monitor III" and given the 3 in the name there may have been earlier creations.

Then there are two companies founded in close succession that are both named "Backes & Müller GmbH.", the first is in Saarbrücken and goes out of business in 1975 and the latter is based in Püttlingen, which is a small town close to Saarbrücken and goes out of business in 1977. One of these companies starts showing off the innovative hexagon shaped loudspeaker although it was not shipped until 1980.

The third company is "Backes & Müller Vertriebs GmbH." that appears to have been incorporated in the latter half of the 70's and based in Homburg, it is this company that most people associate with the B&M name and the active loudspeaker that the company manufactured. But in addition to speakers the company also made high end separates from the early 80's and into the mid 90's.

Company was closed down in 1996 and a new company called LV Lautsprecher Vertriebs took over the brand and product lines and moved the production of the speakers back to the brands original home town of Saarbrücken. Spares & service : For classic loudspeaker products from the 70's and 80's you should not have any real problems in finding spares as the drivers conform to standard sizes and are thus repairable even when no direct substitutes are currently available.Resources: For information on older products from the company you can visit this page.

Badische Anilin & Soda-Fabrik (BASF)

Founded by Friedrich Engelhorn in 1865 to manufacture aniline dyes and quickly became the one of the larger producer of coal based dyes and shortly thereafter one of the pioneers in the manufacture of synthesised dyes along with Bayer (see : Agfa), by the 1890's it had become the world’s leading manufacturer of synthesised dyes which transformed the world of cloth fabrication since prior to that most dyes were natural substances with a large part of them imported from exotic locations at costs which meant that they were really only for the richest portions of society. The production experience they gained in synthetic manufacture lead to the introduction of nitrogen fertilisers which in turn revolutionised farming in central and northern Europe and later the world, but prior to the introduction of synthetic fertilisers those parts of the world where constantly on the brink of famine due to overpopulation.

The economic chaos of the Weimar republic along with war reparations placed directly on German industry forced the larger German chemical companies to merge into an amalgamated company called I. G. Farben in 1925 (along with BASF it included Hoechst and aforementioned Bayer) however apart from management and finance they did operate completely autonomously and it was the high tech, Ludwigshafen based Division III of BASF that developed the recording tape in the early 1930's replacing the prototype paper based tapes with more robust synthetic materials, the paper tapes actually worked fine in a studio environment but did not have a lot of tensile strength which made them unusable in the field, Division III also improved the basic formulation of the magnetic layer and this lead to the introduction of the tape recorder in association with Telefunken in 1935.

The company was de-merged from I. G. Farben in 1952 and quickly started to reap the benefits of many of the research projects that it had undertaken in the 1930's, but the intervention of WWII meant that they were never commercialised, this was despite the fact that the French and American authorities had confiscated most of the company's intellectual property and rights but with the exception of the magnetic tape (magnetic tape IP was handed over to 3M) no serious attempt was made by either authority to make any commercial use of it.

This meant that innovations like Styrofoam quickly got the company back onto the forefront of the chemical industry and BASF had become the leading manufacturer of audio tapes merely a year after they restarted it's production, both in quantity and quality and in particular it was the improved ferric formulation that the company introduced in 1959 that not only lead to a new generation of open reel recorders with better sound quality but more importantly paved the way for consumer cassette tape, in fact both the Philips Compact Cassette and the Grundig Cassette were made possible by the new tape. BASF absorbed the media division of Agfa in 1990 but decided in 1993 to get out of the media business altogether and negotiated to sell the magnetic media division to Raks in 1994 but due to pressures from the German labour unions a new company called EMTEC Magnetics was formed to take over the operation. We also have a tiny bit of info on BASF Records.

Barnatt & Oswald
Small UK based manufacturer of bespoke hi-fi and AV furniture, also did manufacture a limited number of loudspeakers and at the least one model of a turntable. Operating in or around the year 2000, we have not been able to find any functional contact address since 2002.

BB Audio See --> British Built Audiophile Products

BBE See --> BBE Sound (No longer makes consumer products)

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am