- Vienna, Wien, Austria
AKG was founded in Vienna in 1947 as Akustische und Kino-Geräte GmbH by physicist Dr Rudolf Görike and engineer Ernst Pless. The company is a manufacturer of microphones, headphones and audio systems but originally provided technical equipment for cinemas. In its early days there were only 5 workers who manufactured the products by hand, but within months, the company was providing microphones to radio stations, theatres and Jazz-Clubs.
From 1949, the company began releasing a range of new products including headphones, the world’s first high quality condenser microphone (the D12) and the world’s first remote-controlled multi-pattern capacitor microphone (the C12). The BBC became one of the first customers of the C12 microphone. These microphones earned the company international success and they began expanding, establishing subsidiaries across Europe and exporting products into the East block countries and Latin America.
Their product innovation continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s and their success continued to grow. By the end of the 1970s, they had been granted over 1000 patents and had signed endorsement contracts with Frank Sinatra, Roger Whittaker, Falco and other artists.
In 1984, the company was made public and this started a new era of growth. They founded a subsidiary in the US and acquired numerous companies from across Europe while also expanding their range of products further. Then, in 1994, the company was acquired by the American company Harman International Industries. This brought with it a restructuring of the company, a refining of their product line, and a continuation of their success with further product innovations fueling this.
In 2010, AKG received the Technical Grammy award. In 2017, their Vienna offices were closed and the company was moved to California, US where it is still operating today.