In its early years, JBL was driven by the passion of James B. Lansing, a man who developed many of the design and fabrication standards still in use by speaker manufacturers worldwide. Starting as a builder and supplier of speakers for movie theaters, JBL emerged as a company known for a commitment to excellence both in engineering and in sound, a commitment which was deepened after Lansing's untimely death in 1949 by his surviving partner, William Thomas.
The development of the signature "bullet" tweeter and the adoption of JBL's model D-130 speaker by Leo Fender in the 1950s, followed by the worldwide adoption of JBL studio monitors in the early '60s continued to build the company's reputation for sonic excellence.
In 1969, JBL was purchased by Sidney Harman and, as part of the Harman International family of companies, JBL's growth continued with increasing use in the world of live concert sound as well as becoming the most-used studio monitor in U.S. recording studios. Constant development of new technologies like the Bi-Radial Constant-coverage horns and Symmetrical Field Geometry magnet structures kept them at the forefront of speaker technologies as well, and the acquisition of UREI in 1984 added a new level of electronics design expertise and experience to the mix.
Part of what has made for JBL Professional's consistent excellence has been the synergy with other Harman companies like Crown, dbx, and Lexicon, giving them the unique ability to leverage the technology developed by these related companies into their own new products and cooperatively working on developing better ways of achieving great sounds for the performing musician.