Defunct Audio Manufacturers  - Bi to Bq

Bias Electronics
Company founded by ex-Leevers Rich engineer Peter Lindsley in Wimbledon, London UK, probably in the late 60's or very early 70's and manufactured professional open reel tape recorders, the company disappeared sometime in the 70's and I am given to understand that it was bought out by Leevers-Rich. Note that this appears to have been a business name rather than a trademark or a company name, UK authorities have no record of a company registration or a trademark assignment under this name.

Black Gate (Capacitors) See --> Jelmax

Blumenhofer & Schaub
Geman pro-audio company based in Walkertshofen, in the district of Augsburg, Bayern. Founded around 1980 and was primarily a service company that installed sound systems in smaller and mid-sized local venues. However the company did start manufacturing their own loudspeakers fairly early on and was by the 90’s as much a loudspeaker manufacturer as an installer. The company appears to have been a partnership rather than an incorporated entity and disappears somewhere in the 1990’s, if we understand it correctly, more due to Messrs Blumenhofer & Schaub being fed up with the pressures of the pro-audio business rather than any financial difficulties. One of the partners, Thomas Blumenhofer, later manufactured loudspeakers in co-operation with Willibald Bauer that were sold under the FJ brand and now runs Blumenhofer-Acoustics.

Bösendorfer (Loudspeakers) See --> L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik (2000 to 2007)

Bob Carver LLC

USA based manufacturer of high end valve based amplification and line source loudspeakers that existed from March 2011 to the first of May 2013. Founded by Robert W. Carver (ex-Carver Corporation and Sunfire) and Robert Paul Farinelli Jr. (ex-Elan) and was based in Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, despite the name of the company it was actually the other "Bob", Mr Farinelli that was the main mover behind the operation.

Bob Carver LLC for all intents and purposes took over the manufacture of two models of high end monoblock valve amplifiers that Mr Carver had been making by hand and selling on E-Bay for a few years prior to the founding of the company. The partners entered the loudspeaker market in March 2012 by offering a high end (RRP USD 22k) line array loudspeaker with the corny name of Bob Carver's Amazing Line Source Speaker, which was highly evocative of the marketing hyperbole of some of the other companies Mr Carver had been associated with in years past. In a similar timeframe the company also introduced a cheaper integrated stereo valve amplifier called "little Black Beauty". In April 2013 the assets of the company, including the brand name, were sold to Jade Design and Mr Carver was hired by that company as a design consultant.

Bokano Systems

Company registered in Bunena Park, California, USA that assembled and sold CD and DVD duplication systems. The company appears around the turn of the century and disappears in or around 2005/6. Bokano claimed to be a sub-division of a disk duplication company with an odd name that we never managed to find, the company’s registered address however turned out to be a mail box belonging to an online pro-audio retailer called Muzeek World so it is pretty safe to assume they were the one and the same operation.

Bolder Cable Co. (Cables and upgrades) See --> Wayne Waananen

Boland Acoustics See --> Boland Acoustics

Bolivar Speaker Works

A loudspeaker manufacturing company founded in early 1977 by Harman International as a semi-independent subsidiary and based in Bolivar, Tennessee, USA although listed in Delaware. Harman did at that time already own JBL but thought they would need a cheaper alternative to counter on one hand the number of small speaker manufacturers that had started making so called west coast monitors similar to the classic JBL line up but much cheaper, and on the other hand the number of European speaker brands that where making inroads into the US market (although much of them were sold under US brands such as Dynaco) and cheaper USA competitors such as Acoustic Research (Teledyne) and KLH. It also allowed Harman to offer complete audio systems to dealers at a lower price point that had been possible before, but at the time most separates were sold as parts of complete systems in the USA rather than individual units as is the more common practice now.

The task of setting up a new company was given to JBL marketing manager Larry Phillips and it was run by another JBL recruit Jim Barthell who initially worked with Edmond May on the project but Mr. May left JBL for Superscope Technologies soon after the project had started so in the end Barthell bought with him other long term JBL staffers including Pat Everidge and Carl Davis (Engineering) and Rob Robinson (Marketing). The basic idea was simply to take one basic JBL like designs and make them as cheaply as possible in 3 variations that shared parts and enclosures rather than design a series of budget speakers from the ground up, thus Bolivar models like the Model 64 look and sound similar to a certain JBL model of a similar vintage but it has 2 smaller brothers that share the same enclosure and drivers with the exception of the woofer, thus minimising costs.

While obviously inspired by the products from the mother company and designed by the same team as designed the JBL L-100 its construction is quite different in details, the drivers were commissioned from Tonegen rather than made in house, these were similar to JBL drivers but featured caskets that were made out of thin pressed steel rather than cast, crossovers are simplified and wired up rather than on a PCB, drivers have cheap foam surrounds rather than rubber ones, cones are plain paper rather than doped, cabinets were sourced ready made from Tiffin Enterprise Inc and are made out of cheap particleboard with budget vinyl "woodgrain" laminate rather than real wood veneers, and so on.

The JBL connection was strongly hinted at by Bolivar marketing, their ad slogan being "Great for the price of good" and for a time their products sold pretty well, however the prices of the company's speakers started to creep up at the latter half of the 70's and while the designs did get better it meant that Harman was in reality starting to compete with itself. The company fizzled out at some point in the early 1980’s, may have been operational as late as 1983 and may be one of the number of companies closed or sold off by Beatrice Foods, but that company tried to rationalise the Harman product lines and manufacturing methods.

If you cannot get any logic out of the model number sequence that the company used such as 18, 64 and 125 it is simply because these numbers do not mean anything intrinsically, the speaker models were named after the motorway's that ran in and near Bolivar. These speakers where mostly sold in the USA and Australia with only a trickle making it to Europe, mostly to countries where Harman already had strong subsidiaries such as Germany and France.

Spares & service : No one appears to explicitly offer service for speakers made by this company, however most complaints are about foam rotting away and this is easily fixed, the closeness of the woofer designs to some JBL products means that you can substitute foams and cones the midranges and tweeters are bog standard and can be repaired by a competent repairman or simply swapped out with something better, just make sure they are 4 ohms, sizes are actually so standard that you will be able to substitute generic cone and foam surround materials (the JBL replacements do not have the foam deterioration problem that the original Bolivar ones have).

The construction of those speakers are simple enough that minor repairs like re-foaming are something that you can do yourself . As for anything more complex any competent speaker repairer should be able to handle Bolivar speakers, there is nothing in there that is non-standard, if you need to replace drivers then again JBL 4 ohm drivers will slot in, they do sound subtly different but the difference is not great and in a worst case scenario swap the pair and the only thing you will notice is an improvement

Resources : -- A partial transcription of a The Bolivar Blues Band test record - A test, setup and promotional record that was supplied by the company with each speaker sold, this is the Geman version but there was an English langage version available as well and we think there was a French language variant out there as well, the same material is avaiable in a slightly lower quality version in the Youtube frame on the left. The Bolivar Blues Band was alledgedly made up from staff from the plant.

Bongiorno Designs
Founded by James Bongiorno in the late 90's to manufacture an updated version of the Ampzilla amplifier that he originally designed for GAS (Mr. Bongiorno was also one of the primus motors behind Sumo and worked for SAE as well as founding Lambert Labs), additionally he performed updates to most of his older amplifier designs. The manufacture of his amplifier designs was taken over by Spread Spectrum Technologies in late 2003/early 2004 but it is unclear if the amplifier update service is still on offer. For background information on BD read this article.

Borbely Audio

A company based in the town of Obermeitingen, in Landsberg, Bavaria, Germany and founded in 1984 by husband and wife team of Irene and Ernö Borbély. The basic premise behind the company was initially not as a business per se but rather people had complained that the designs Hr. Borbély had published in various magazines used transistors that were difficult to source except in quantity. In response Irene started to stock and sell hard to get electronic parts used in audio products, in particular the FET transistors that were used in the designs of her husband but they also started to stock NOS thermionic valves and other odds and ends.

A few years later the company started offering kits of the designs Borbély had published, but that is notable since these were high end designs, often using expensive parts and had been deemed to be unsuitable for the kit market just a few years earlier due to price concerns. After Hr. Borbély retired in 1997 he started to spend more time with the company and there was a notable increase in the range of kits offered including some interesting hybrid valve/MOSFET designs, at the same time the products got something of a cult following especially in the USA and Germany. Sadly Hr. & Frau Borbély had to retire in 2010 due to age related health problems and close down the operation.

Bösendorfer (Loudspeakers) See --> L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik (2000 to 2007)

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