Defunct Audio Manufacturers -- Va to Veb

Vaic Audio

Trademark used by Austrian company Living Sound from 1999/2000 to brand their own loudspeaker and cables and to rebrand products made by Mastersound around the company quit using the trademark around 2002/3 and most of the products that were sold under the Vaic Audio name are now sold under the Ayon brand
See also: Vaic Audio Amplifiers.

Vanessa Ezekowitz

USA based lady that had been active in the Commodore 8 bit scene for a long time and had designed a number of hardware products for the 64/128 that she had published on the net. In June 2011 she started offering upgrades and expansion cards for the C64 under the Digital Audio Concepts brand, but these included hardware to add extra SID analogue synthesiser chips to the computer, digital sound cards and Analogue to Digital converters, but later that same year also offered non-audio related products such as RAM expanders and so on.

Sadly had to close down in the latter half of 2012 as they could not get their products made and distributed in a timely manner, however if you go to the DAC homepage there is info on the products they made and other C64 hardware projects on the "Vanessa Website" section of the webpage .

Van L. Speakerworks Inc.
Company founded in 1992 by John R. van Leishout and based in Chicago, Illinois, USA but Mr Leishout had prior to that run Chicago Speakerworks. The company continued basically the same business model as the CS company had done with a combination of a high end hi-fi retail unit alongside loudspeaker manufacturing and repairs on a small scale. Went bankrupt in 1998 but Mr Leishout still uses the Van L. Speakerworks brand, now apparently as a sole trader, see: John R. van Leishout.

VASS Electronics Pty. Ltd.

Australian manufacturer of electrostatic loudspeakers run by Charles van Dongen that was incorporated on the 21st of May 2000 although Mr van Dongen had been operating since 1996 using the VASS Electrostatic brand as a sole trader. Based in Dingley in Victoria, the beginnings of the company can be traced back to 1995 when Mr van Dongen decided to start his own loudspeaker company and got in touch with Rob Mackinlay who had designed a number of electrostatic loudspeakers and was selling them as unassembled kits under the E R Audio name.

The first model was shipped in 1996 and a new model was introduced each year up until 2000. Made a number of high end designs that I would take to be more in style with classic American rather than European ESL's with but the designs were typically high and thin with subwoofer support and having flat panels rather than the currently more fashionable curved ones. The VASS speakers were supplied both as kits and as fully built units and were if reports are to be believed quality speakers although there was some minor criticism of how they handled loud transients and for some minor distortions in the top end, but that is actually not uncommon with ESL designs and as with all such that have a subwoofer in a supporting role there were some criticism of the crossover performance. The VASS systems were very competitive price wise and seemed to sell at the least reasonably well locally since a number of Antipodeans that list them on their homepages as their main speakers. The company seems to have changed its name to as VA Electrostatic in or around 2003 and all contact with it was lost in 2004/5 and the last reference to the company in official documentation is in 2002 so it seems that they are no longer with us.

VEB Elektroakustik Leipzig
East German manufacturer of transducers such as Pickups and microphones, most consumer models were sold under the RFT banner.

VEB Funkwerk Dresden

Company founded in 1948 with the takeover of the East German state of the Radio H. Mende & Co assets but continued to be run by the same management team headed by Fritz Aurich as Mende had been. Initially manufactured budget radio receivers and had by 1951 managed to set up a modern assembly line for mass production of radios complete with a tight quality control system and had grow in size from a company of 300 at the time of it's formation to having 700 employees, however unlike the pre-war Mende company this was a production line in the modern sense, no parts were manufactured locally except for PCB's, casings, knobs, transformers and loudspeakers, all electronic parts were bought in.

By the early 1950's VEB FD was increasingly meant to function on one hand as a research lab and designs studio for other East German companies often building custom equipment for them, and on the other hand as a mass manufacturer of professional items such as intercom systems, PA loudspeakers and test equipment but that side of the business never grew larger than 30% of overall income. The main thrust continued to be the manufacture of consumer equipment, initially using the Mende brand that was in use up until 1952, but as early as 1949 under the RFT name but that was a name used by a central East German planning and marketing organisation, but their brown goods included some very good AM/FM tabletop radios and well constructed loudspeaker systems from the late 1950's such as the Dominant which had an FM portion that was ahead of what you could buy in the west at the time if anything.

East German industry had recovered as amazingly fast as West Germany had but faced a different set of problems by the late 50's than its western counterpart, both countries could by 1953 manufacture more industrial goods than their local market could accept but while the Western side could export goods for hard currency there were restrictions in place for trading with the west, both artificial ones such as import restrictions in place in many western nations and pressure from the Russians not to export, but there were also problems with the trading system that was in place inside the DDR and the one between Eastern European nations and other Communist countries (Komikon). Both were essentially bartering systems, in East Germany wages did not go up in line with the rise in production so by 1957 the internal market was in crisis, those that could afford to buy consumer goods had done so by then and those who could not had no prospects of doing so in the near future so VEB FD had to slow down radio receiver production, there was less money going round than the economy needed and people on the street often reverted to bartering since they had produce but no money. This was the exact opposite of the other East European countries who had a different problem, plenty of money going round but no products to buy except foods and simpler industrial wares.

This should have meant that East Germany could have been the industrial giant of Eastern Europe and to a degree it was, the problem was that they had to either barter with the trading committees in the other communist countries or take payment in currencies that were not traded, i.e. they were only usable inside each country which made it effectively a bartering system as well. While westerners tend to forget is that Eastern Europe was economically better off than Western Europe until 1966, not so much because of better management but rather since there had been emphasis on eradicating hunger and bringing basic pay up to a liveable wage while countries like Norway, Italy, Portugal, Spain and even parts of Britain and France remained very poor through the 50's and well into the 60's, some barely able to feed themselves. But this was not the case with industrial output, farming output grew immensely in Eastern Europe during those years not the least since some countries were introduced to artificial fertiliser for the first time.

The DDR was however was mostly self sufficient for foodstuff and while a large chunk of its industrial output was sent as payment to Russia as war reparations right up until the fall of the Berlin wall, large parts of what was left could in practice only be bartered to other communist countries and the problem was that there was not much many of them had to trade back except raw materials. One manager in the DDR central planning committee has even be quoted as saying that the only usable industrial product they could acquire from other eastern block countries in the 50's was paper from Poland. Things got better in that respect later on, Tesla open reel recorders from Czechoslovakia were very popular in the 70's and the countries that traded with the west like Hungary and Yugoslavia sometimes could buy using hard currency and slowly built up local industries, but often countries like Czechoslovakia and Poland only bought industrial products that were of secondary quality and/or leftover products since they could not afford anything else. In practice this meant that there was no market to sell to and at times the East German Central Planning Committee had to order factories to lower production radically and this happened a numerous times to the VED Funkwerk Dresden during the 50's, by 1953 they could manufacture as much as 75 thousand receivers per year but had to slow that down to 58k units in 1956.

The Central Planning Committee had as early as 1952 ordered Funkwerk Dresden to become more of a R&D? organisation and increase its manufacture of professional audio products and while the company did design radio receiver equipment for a number of other East German factories and did some production of commercial audio systems and broadcast equipment, but as has been stated this consultation and pro-audio manufacture never reached more than 30% of VEB FD's income. In 1956 production had been halted in the factory due to overstocking and the Central Planning Committee decided to rationalise radio receiver production in the DDR, initially ordering VEB FD to become a television producer and while manufacture of radios continued in the factory unaffected they had actually moved the test equipment manufacturing to Berlin in 57 only to have to move it back later that year because the CPC had changed their minds.

This dithering caused a lot of friction between the workers at VEB FD and the management and lead to engineers Rudolf Irmler and Maximilian Bless leaving the company and with 27 other ex-VEB FD employees to found the Zentrallaboratorium für Rundfunk und Fernsehen co-op, better known as ZRF. In the end the CPC decided that VEB FD was to become an out and out Radio and Television R&D and custom equipment manufacturing shop with specific goals, work and production targets dictated to them from Berlin. This lead to the closure of the radio receivers production in May 1962 which was moved to Stern Radio Strassfurt.

This was something of a disaster since the amount of work promised to the company by the government never reached the goals initially set out, the management tried to circumvent the government controls by producing equipment that fell outside of what was stipulated in the 5 year plan, in 1964 they put a modular intercom system on the market that would normally not have been under their remit to produce. But by selling it as a DIY kit and using transistors they managed both to get around regulations and to get the price down to 175 marks which was just a fraction of what other valve based intercoms cost at the time and make them relatively easy to build. They sold bucket-loads of these to smaller concerns and private practices around the country that could just not afford a "proper" system.

But this simply was not enough, the company operated at a loss, and had done so ever since radio production had stopped in 1962, it was in the end decided to integrate the operation into the VEB Messelektronik "Otto Schön" Dresden industrial combine in 1969.

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