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Bozak

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  • Bozak Inc.
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Equipment[add model]

Bozak manufactures or has manufactured the following equipment (click to expand models list):

Dynamic Speakers
 
Solid State Amplifiers
 

General information [contribute]

BobsAmerica.com/Bozak (Febuary 13, 2010): A Brief History of Rudy Bozak and Bozak, Incorporated

Portions of this article have been extracted from Wikipedia (a public interactive encyclopedic forum) with many facts, errors, and omissions corrected.

I begin this brief synopsis with feelings of gratitude and appreciation from the many friends and coworkers I was associated with at Bozak, Inc. I worked for Rudy Bozak over a span of about 16 years - from 1963 to 1979. During that time, I joined, and rejoined, the company four times: First in 1963 when Rudy hired me as a college student freshly graduated from Trade School, again after service in the US Army in Vietnam during the mid-1960s, then again after about 18 months in the field in the mid 1970s after I left to design and install Bozak Disco systems as my own company, Audio Consultants, and again after another 18 months in 1979 after the company buyout, to consult for the "new" owners of Bozak, Inc. - Bob Betts

Loudspeakers

Fresh out of college in 1933, Rudy Bozak began working for Allen-Bradley, an electronics manufacturer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Bozak would later employ Allen-Bradley components in his own electronic designs. Bozak moved to the East Coast in 1935 to work for Cinaudagraph out of Stamford, Connecticut. Two years later he was chief engineer. At the 1939 New York World's Fair, a tower topped with a cluster of eight 27" Cinaudagraph loudspeakers in 30" frames with huge 450 lb. field coil magnets covered low frequency duties for a 2-way PA system at Flushing Meadows. The loudspeakers were mounted into horns with 14' wide mouths and were each driven by a 500 watt amplifier derived from a high-power radio broadcast tube. In June, 1940, Electronics magazine published an article that Bozak had written about the design of the 27" loudspeaker. During World War II, Bozak worked with Lincoln Walsh at Dinion Coil Company in Caledonia, New York developing very high voltage power supplies for radar. Bozak joined C. G. Conn in 1944 to help them develop an electronic organ. While in Elkhart, Indiana, he noticed that the human sense of hearing was unpredictable at best. Years later, Bozak recounted this story about the Conn electronic organ project:

"The general sales manager, who was a pianist and played organ, sat down and played the thing and said it was great, just what we were looking for. A week later he was invited back into the laboratory and sat down and played the instrument again. He didn't play ten or fifteen bars when he said, This goddamn thing doesn't sound right. What did you guys do to it?' We said we hadn't done anything. Well, he didn't believe us. 'You did something to it. You messed it up here,' he said. 'Restore it back to the way you had it.' So what we did was let the damn instrument sit there for another week, and he comes back and plays it again. 'Now this is the way it should be,' he says."

I

n 1948 Bozak moved his family to North Tonawanda, New York to develop organ loudspeakers for Wurlitzer. While there, Bozak experimented at home in a loudspeaker laboratory he housed in his basement. One design of his featured a kettle drum shell as the loudspeaker enclosure.

In 1950 Bozak was hired as a consultant by McIntosh Laboratory[4] to develop a square loudspeaker driver unit but it was not an engineering success. In 1952 he was making driver units for the McIntosh F100 speaker system. Though these sold reasonably well, McIntosh did not develop the design further. This experience led him to form his own company, Bozak Loudspeakers, in Stamford, Connecticut. Bozak met Emory Cook in the early 1950s; the two hit it off and began working in a shared warehouse basement facility in Stamford. Cook and Bozak thrilled the audio world in 1951 with Cook's ground-breaking stereo recording of train sounds at night: Rail Dynamics. Together, Bozak and Cook implemented a stereo loudspeaker system that would be able to show Cook's stereo recordings to best effect.

By the mid-1950s, Bozak had expanded into new quarters at 587 Connecticut Avenue in South Norwalk, with an export office in Hicksville, New York. The foundation of Bozak bass loudspeakers unique design was the exclusive Bozak cone. The woofer cone was molded from a slurry containing paper pulp, lamb's wool, and other ingredients in a secret process. The cone was made thicker at the center, becoming progressively thinner toward the periphery. An additional doping of lacquer and bakelite at the inner area further strengthened the cone center. Then the cone was pressed to uniform thickness. The result was a cone with variable density greatest at the center to very acoustically inert at the rim which allowed for minimal transmission reflections and therefore virtually no breakup or standing waves, the major sources of distortion in more conventional paper cones.

The original midrange and tweeter cones were paper. In 1961 the B-209 midrange cone was changed to a radical new design. The material was 0.006-inch, dead soft, spun aluminum which took much of its strength from its curvilinear profile along the radius. The cone received a thin coating of latex on both sides, with through-holes for binding the sandwich, in order to dampen the surface reflections that otherwise would be sustained on a metal surface. The design was patented and was largely responsible for the superb transient response of the Bozak B-209B and B-209C midrange.

In 1961 the original B-200X paper-cone tweeter re-appeared as the B-200Y, using the same basic cone design of the midrange, but with paper-thin 0.002 aluminum.

The Concert Grand was the crown jewel of Bozak speaker systems since its introduction in 1951. It was the upper end model of the Concert series of the systematic growth program. This refrigerator-sized speaker system originally contained four B-199 12" woofers, one 8 Ohm B-209 6" midrange driver and eight tweeters. The B-310 and B-310A were the mono versions in which the tweeters were arranged as a sector of a sphere for widest distribution of high frequencies. The stereo B-310B and B-410 had the eight tweeters arranged in a vertical row, to take advantage of the column effect which was an ongoing program in the Bozak labs. All Concert Grand models starting from the B-310A contained two 16 Ohm B-209 midrange drivers. The Concert Grand loudspeakers were designed to fill large spaces and were not at their best with listeners closer than 20 feet away. In 1965, a pair of B-410 Concert Grands cost US$2000. Such a high price limited ownership to a small number of hi-fi aficionados and audiophiles. The model line continued to be manufactured by Bozak until 1977. Henry Mancini and Benny Goodman, good friends of Rudy Bozak, owned Concert Grand speaker systems. Jack Webb put two pair (four B-410s) in his Mark VII Productions listening room.

In 1961, Bozak introduced the B-4000 Symphony. This was sort of "half a Concert Grand," using two 12" woofers, one midrange and the same vertical array of eight tweeters as the Concert Grands. It was the top speaker in the symphony series of the systematic Growth program.

The backbone of the Bozak line was the B-302A system, the beginning of the systematic growth program, offered in several cabinet styles over a period of years. The 302A systems consisted of one 12" woofer, one midrange driver and one tweeter pair. A 'starter' version, the B-300, was a 2-way system consisting of one 12" woofer and one tweeter pair mounted across the front of the woofer. A single capacitor sufficed as the crossover 'network' for the B-300. The system could be expanded to a 3-way B-302A by adding a midrange and full 3-way Bozak crossover.

Acoustic suspension arrived in the loudspeaker marketplace in 1959, making it possible to get the apparent low bass from a small, bookshelf-sized enclosure. This somewhat affected the sales of "big box" speaker systems of all brands. Rudy Bozak never offered an acoustic suspension speaker system; he stated that the full transient response and clean bass for which his woofers were famous could not be obtained with the heavier, gimmicked, reinforced woofer cones necessary for acoustic suspension. Bozak began offering smaller speaker systems to answer consumer demand. Bookshelf speaker systems from Bozak were never as popular with the mass market as many of the artificial bass-boost systems were, but the numbers of their limited popularity did warrant a separate assembly line in the production factory.

In 1963, at 18 years of age, Bob Betts was hired as technician but was put in charge of the Acoustics Lab a few months later under Rudys watchful eye. Betts became chief engineer in 1968. Bob traveled extensively with Bozak on company business and was tutored extensively by Rudy to help him with his college homework.

Commercial sound

For commercial sound reinforcement, Bozak introduced a full line of columnar loudspeakers, which included a biamped columnar loudspeaker in 1964. In 1963, the newly-established commercial loudspeaker division was employing about 60 people dedicated to manufacturing the columnar models which were proving a great success.

For the 1964 New York World's Fair, Bozak put forward a new loudspeaker design; this time in the Vatican Pavilion. Rudy and Bob worked tirelessly to develop an omni or hemispherical coverage ceiling-mounted loudspeaker. The result was the 2-way, hemispherical CM-109-2. These were installed and operated with great success over the course of the fair.

Bozak accepted occasional United States Department of Defense contracts including an underwater low frequency driver intended for acoustic communication testing, an ultrasonic transducer that was flat to 40 KHz, and a vibration platform that Bozak employees called "The Shaker" which was meant to test the G-force integrity of electronic assemblies.

The company name changed from "The R.T. Bozak Manufacturing Co." to "Bozak, Inc" in the mid-late 1960s.

Electronics

Power Amplifiers, Mixers, Equalizers, and DJ mixers

Bozak is often remembered today for his advanced designs of DJ mixers which allowed the development of the concept of disc jockey mixing and 'discotheques', but with exceptional sales to churches, arenas, stadiums, auditoriums, and other public areas. Beginning with the Bozak CMA-6-1 and CMA-10-1, 6 and 10-input monaural units of the mid 1960s, the peak of development was reached with the stereo Bozak CMA-10-2DL; a unit that was very quickly accepted as the standard of its day. The Bozak CMA mixers were very expensive: they used high-grade Allen-Bradley components, hand-selected transistors, and were of modular construction for ease of servicing and expansion. C/M Laboratories, co-founded by Wayne Chou, worked with Rudy Bozak on the construction of the predecessor to the DJ mixer. C/M Labs designed the CMA-10-1 mixer intended for orchestral sound reinforcement; it was produced in small quantities. C/M Labs also designed and built amplifiers and other integrated electronics for Bozak and used Bozak speakers to test their gear.

Eventually, Bozak brought these electronic products into the Bozak brand and developed them further. The CMA-10-2DL mixer was designed at Bozak. Bozak set up its own electronics production line, with further developments by Rudy and Bob, to include equalizers, high power amps, and specialized mixers.

The design of the famed CMA series of mixers was cloned by UREI, until they ceased production at which point the mixer was cloned by Rane Corp. In 2005, Soundcraft began to offer a UREI-Soundcraft units. The Bozak brand is now owned by Analog Developments Ltd.

Home Systems

In the mid-1970s, Bob Betts designed the face plates and chassis for a series of home entertainment stereo equipment. These were to be known as the 900-series of electronics. The 919 preamp and 929 power amp were great successes, with black out esthetics typical of the day, a la Marantz, McIntosh, etc. Other 900-Series products were developed, to include an economy version of the preamp and poweramp.

Saul Marantz joined Bozak as consultant in the mid 1970s. He helped with esthetic details of certain products, but mostly served as sales consultant and good-will emissary. When both Bozak and Marantz teamed up to demonstrate loudspeakers at Hi-Fi events and audio engineering conventions, a sizable crowd would form. Bozak shifted from using McIntosh amplifiers for powering his loudspeakers to using his own home entertainment models, late in the 1960s.

One of the last major Bozak projects that Rudy Bozak himself was an integral part of involved a thorough redesign of the B-200Y tweeter which had been a staple of Bozak loudspeakers since its introduction in 1962. The new design echoed earlier changes to the B-209/B-800 midrange design philosophy: the standard tweeter cone shape was modified into a curvilinear shape. The new design became the B-200Z. Its basic curvilinear configuration was settled by Betts in 1974 and put into limited production, but full production didn't get underway until 1975/1976 where it saw extensive use in the Monitor-C, and several of the original LS (Lab Standard) monitors. The new tweeter extended high frequency response to 18,000 Hz.

The Lab Standard systems were especially designed for recording studio mix-down applications and off-air monitors. Each loudspeaker was shipped with a machine run response curve and exhibited ultra flat response, with very low harmonic, phase, and inter-modulation distortion. The LS would later be corrupted by the new owners to the Listener Series of systems some quite good, but some not worthy of the Bozak name.

When Rudy Bozak turned 67 in 1977, he offered an opportunity for an employee buy-out headed by Bob Betts, his chief engineer. The arrangements required the personal loans of several key employees and would take a few months to transact with the companys bank. Bozak didn't wait for the employee buy-out; but with a handshake promise to retain certain crucial employees, Rudy sold the rights to his corporation to an existing venture business. The original employee buyout committee was assured of continued stable operation of the operation. Bozak stayed on in a minor consulting role and Bob Betts remained as chief engineer.

But things began to change, Quality was seen to go quickly downhill; the new owners appeared to longtime employees as being interested only in pulling money out of the operation. Betts and other company management officers left the company one by one.

In early 1982, Rudy Bozak died. His wife Lillian and their son-in-law Don Parks reorganized the company and quality of workmanship made a brief comeback from 1983 to 1985. The facility relocated several times: Newington, Bristol and New Britain but management was unable to sustain the effort. Finally, the company's assets were put into truck trailers to await final disposition. The company tooling was sold New England Audio Resource (N.E.A.R.), an audiophile loudspeaker manufacturer based in Lewiston, Maine.

NOTES:

Rudolph Thomas Bozak

Rudolph Thomas Bozak (1910-1982) was an audio electronics and acoustics designer and engineer in the field of sound reproduction. His parents were Bohemian Czech immigrants; Rudy was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Bozak studied at Milwaukee School of Engineering; in 1981, the school awarded him an honorary doctorate in engineering.

Recognitions

Patents

Author's Timeline (Bob Betts)

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