AKG Acoustics (originally Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H., English: Acoustic and Cinema Equipment) is an Austrian manufacturer of microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems and related accessories for professional and consumer markets. The company operates in Austria, and was founded in Vienna in 1947 by two Viennese, physicist Dr. Rudolf Görike and engineer Ernst Pless.
Originally, its main business was to provide technical equipment for cinemas: loudspeakers, film projectors and light meters. The business slowly expanded and AKG started selling car horns, door intercoms, carbon capsules for telephones, headsets and cushion speakers. The first AKG microphone was used by radio stations, theaters, jazz clubs and cabarets.
About this time, the company developed its first patents, the moving coil technology and the principle of mass load membranes, allowing its products to have extended frequency ranges.
With the creation of the D12 microphone in 1953, AKG achieved international fame, setting the standard for voice transmissions. Being the world’s first dynamic cardioid microphone, it possessed excellent sonic qualities for that time, making its way into radio stations and recording studios from across the world. The product was improved through subsequent upgrades, spanning the famous C414 and C12 microphones.
In 1984, AKG became a public company, listed on the Vienna stock exchange. As a blue chip company, it was one of the most traded stocks.
The company was acquired by the American company Harman International Industries in 1994. By this time, AKG’s United States subsidiary had been established (in Los Angeles in 1985). AKG Acoustics USA, still headquartered in the San Fernando Valley, also houses regional offices for Crown Audio, another Harman Industries subsidiary.
In 2010, the company received the prestigious Technical Grammy award.