Defunct Audio Manufacturers – Ca

Cable Talk

English company based in Camberley, Surrey, that made cabling products, mostly known for their interconnects in the low and mid end of the market that routinely got good reviews in the UK press although they also supplied speaker cables. Company founded in 1995 by Anthony Laurence Hopper who in a similar timeframe founded a number of audio companies that featured the Talk name, only one of them is still going, Talk Electronics, but we are not sure if he has anything to do with that operation anymore. Stopped trading sometime between 2001 and early 2004 and was dissolved in 2005.

Calibron Industries
USA based manufacturer/reseller of headphones and other AV related accessories, most of them believed to have been sourced from the far east. Taken over by Recoton in 1989.

California Audio Labs .
Digital specialist based in Blue Lake in Claifornia, USA and founded in the mid 80's. Initially best known for their high end CD players but later diversified into high end DVD players and DAC's etc. and in the last few years of the company's life actually branched into the world of home theatre with the introduction of high end multichannel amplifiers, processors and the like, all styled by BMW's USA design studio. In 2001 however its mother company Sensory Science was bought by Sonic Blue who was interested in that company's multimedia technologies but had no interest in the high end audio market and thus closed CAL down in 2002. Note that the company sometimes branded their products as "CAL Audio", odd as that may seem and furthermore slightly confusing since there was another company with that name in the USA. If you need to have a device made by the company serviced in the USA or are in need of spare parts you can contact Approved Audio Service via E-Mail as : repair at

Cambridge Audio (UK)
Originally founded in 1968 in Cambridgeshire, UK. Best known for making a line of quality but reasonably priced integrated amplifiers (nicknamed "Student amps") in the 70's and early 80's with some of their early models being underrated in the current S/H market due to the brands current use by a budget hi-fi provider, but the company also manufactured tuners and loudspeakers in the same time period, noticeable amongst those were the R40 and R50 transmission line speakers designed by Burt Webb. The company went for CD technology in a big way in the 80's and was one of the first smaller audio companies to introduce players that were actually designed more or less in-house rather than offering tweaked Philips or Sony designs, Cambridge Audio was for instance the first company to offer a CD player with an oversampling DAC's and the first company to offer a separate CD transport and DAC. The company went bankrupt in 1990 and the name was bought by Audio Partnership.

Cambridge Audio (USA - 70's) See --> Stereo Component Systems

Candle See --> Jutan International Ltd. (JIL)

Capa Industries Inc.
An audio electronic design and manufacturing company based in Valencia, California, USA. In December of 1997 "selected assets" were bought by Recoton which indicates that the company went bankrupt or out of business.

Carillon Electronics Corp.
An USA based group that owned a handful of audio companies such as dbx corp. in the latter half of the 80's and early 90's, dissolved in 1994 with the pro audio part of dbx being sold to AKG and the electronics division going to That Corp.. Not to be confused with the Carillon company that manufactures "Musician friendly computers".

Carlsbro Sound Equipment Limited

Originally founded in 1959 as a part time operation by electronics engineer Stuart Mercer to make PA systems and parts that he sold to local retailers and was incorporated in 1962, then based on Jenford Street in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. Mr. Mercer had added guitar amplifiers to his line-up in 1960 due to popular demand and that demand for guitar and bass amps and PA’s from guitar bands was what grew the company during the early 60’s but that expansion was limited by the fact that the company had little distribution outside the midlands. For a very brief period during the mid-60’s they actually managed to get hold of a distributor in the USA while at the same time having problems selling to stores in the south of England.

The company partially managed to circumvent this by using lateral distribution methods, for instance in the mid 60’s a fairground operator called James Mellors needed something to keep his company busy year round and in association with Carlsbro he started distributing PA systems to travelling fairgrounds, circuses and other event and entertainment operations. In 1968 the company decided to expand into retail operations under the Carlsbro Sound Centre name, the intention do that had always been there actually, but Mr. Mercer was originally from Hillsborough in Sheffield where his grandfather Edward Mercer had run a music shop which had made a lasting impression on young Stuart, during the next couple of decades the company took over a few other retail operations primarily in the midlands and the north of England that were promptly renamed “Carlsbro Sound Centres”.

The manufacturing side of the company was successful enough by 1972 to move into a new purpose built 3000 square metre factory in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, by that time Carlsbro was primarily a PA company although they continued to make musical instrument amplifiers. The company was reorganised in 1980, with the manufacturing side being renamed “Carlsbro Electronics” and the size of the Kirby factory was doubled to 6000 square meters, the retail operation was renamed to “Carlsbro Retail” and for a short while the name of the chain was changed to “Academy of Sound” but changed back to Carlsbro Sound Centres by 1984.

Although commercially successful not the least because it distributed a lot through reps into specific markets where they had a large portion of the market share rather than selling primarily through stores, the company therefore remained relatively little known in the marketplace, everyone had seen a Carlsbro but no one actually bought one. This is a bit of a shame because in many ways they were ahead of the pack when it came to UK sound reinforcement products for smaller venues, their mixers were above average and they started integrating digital effects into their systems in the early 80’s, something that even the studio hardware manufacturers were only doing in a limited fashion at the time and 10 years before the rest of the UK PA sector moved there, but it seems that Carlsbro never got the hang of prosumer marketing.

The company basically chugged along the next decade, successful enough in its sector to keep the manufacturing operation going but did not see any growth in fact contracted a little. In 1994 Mr.Mercer Was diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage and that lead him to dispose of the retail operation, but it was bought by Keith Woodcock who had been its manager from its founding in 1968, the sale did not include the rights to the name so they were renamed “Academy of Sound”. Sadly Mr.Mercer lost his battle with cancer in in 1995 and while his widow and family kept the operation going for a year they did in the end decide to sell it Pektron in 1996 that established a new company around the operation called Carlsbro Electronics Ltd..

Note that despite assertions otherwise it appears that neither Mr. Mercer nor the company ever used the spelling of the name “Carlsborough”, the earliest amplifier from the company we have been able to find appears to have been made in 1960 and has a scripted logo very different to the later Carlsbro logos but it clearly spells out Carlsbro and not Carlsborough. In facts it appears the name is not a reference to a place name at all (Carlsborough is in the USA not the UK, BTW), but rather to Stuart Merces father who was a miner that performed in his spare time under the stage name Carl.

Resources : Schematics for vintage Carlsbro amplifiers.

Carl Sevecke See --> Generalvertrieb d. C. Sevecke Fabrikate

Carron MGF Co.
A producer of consumer goods based in Chicago, Illinois, USA, made wound components, audio and radio related kits in the 30's and 40's in addition to selling ham radio related assecories via mail order. In the 50's made low budget acoustical gramophones including models intended for children etc..

Casio Computer See --> Casio

Castle Acoustics Limited

British manufacturer of mid and high end loudspeakers based in Skipton in the Pennine Hills of North Yorkshire and founded in the summer of 1973 as Castle Acoustics Limited by John Collinson and William "Bill" Escott, with Mr. Escott serving as the company's first managing director. Both came from Rank Wharfedale and prior to that Mr. Collinson was the chief engineer of the Acoustical Manufacturing Co. while Mr Escott worked in the Rank Wharfedale service dept. and prior to that had headed the "Extension Speaker" division of the original Wharfedale Wireless Works, his brother Phil Escott ran the Rank Wharfedale service department BTW.

The company was based in Park Mill, a 19th century former wool mill situated in the market town of Skipton that had built up around and taken its name from the 11th century Skipton castle and it is from that castle that the name and logo of Castle Acoustics come from. Initially the company made loudspeaker drivers but not complete speakers systems, they also serviced loudspeakers especially older Wharfedale products and in fact some of their early drivers were virtually identical to models Wharfedale had been manufacturing in the decade before, there is even some anecdotal evidence that the Castle did shared purchasing with Wharfedale initially, allegedly without the knowledge of Wharfedale's management.

The company’s initial range of loudspeakers are confusingly enough known as the "Castle series" since they are all named after English castles, it was introduced in 1973 and 74 and included Richmond, Kendal, Conway and Howard Mk I?. Unusually the company made the loudspeakers from scratch, all of their drivers, cabinets and crossovers were made in-house and this continued throughout the company's lifetime with the only bought in products used in castle loudspeakers being the tweeters used in a few models.

By the 1970's a whole ecosystem had built up around loudspeaker manufacture, furniture companies and even specialised cabinet makers supplied MDF loudspeaker cabinets to all and sundry, specialised driver manufacturers supplied ready-made drivers and crossovers, some of the semi assembled so you could deliver the same driver in variations with doped and un-doped paper cones for instance, others like Siare in France and SEAS in Norway sold you the parts or actually designed and made the whole for you if you wished, you just added the label. This made the Castle operation pretty unique in that respect.

The Castle series of loudspeakers in general garnered fairly positive reviews in the hi-fi press but were noted even at the time as being conservative in design and never sold in any large numbers. In the early part of the 80's the company came out with the "River series", they were all named after British rivers and included the Clyde, Dover, Tyne and Seven but these also failed to set the world alight and by the mid 80's the bulk of Castle's income came from manufacturing cabinets for other loudspeaker manufacturers, at that time they were alongside Monitor Audio the only 2 UK companies that made their loudspeakers from the ground up and by the 90's Castle was the only one left.

Things picked up a bit for the company in the latter half of the 80's sales wise but in actuality their best market remained their home county of Yorkshire, with more than half of the speakers seen advertised for sale in the second hand market originating there. Castle Acoustic speakers had by that time gained a reputation for conservative designs and for their quality of finish, indeed in some sales literature from the company there is more emphasis placed on the furniture aspects of the Castle loudspeakers than there is on the sound quality of the units. All of their enclosures were made out of MDF particleboard that was by then a pretty standard way of constructing loudspeakers, especially in the USA and the UK, this was then veneered with real wood veneers, by the mid 90's the company allowed you to order your Castle loudspeaker in any of 9 such veneers.

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