View Full Version : Dahlquist history

12-14-2010, 10:54 AM
I got this off the yahoo Dahlquist group. No idea if its all true but who would lie? Anyway, some interesting tid bits of info in here.

About 3 years after Saul Marantz sold his company to Superscope Inc, he discovered another great talent who was obsessed with designing the perfect speaker. The man by trade was an engineer in the aerospace-industry and had played a key role in the development of the lunar landing module. His name was Jon Dahlquist and after a quick meeting Marantz sensed his greatness and immediately formed a partnership with him.

In 1972 the Dahlquist speaker corporation was born, although it wasn't until 1973 that they introduced their defining product, the DQ-10.

Carl also attended all the New York City hi-fi shows, and in 1956, while still in high school, built his first loudspeaker. His earliest jobs as a graduate engineer were with large companies, where he designed defense electronics, but he left weaponry behind to start his own musical instrument electronics business. His initial contract was with Gibson, and he manufactured sound effects devices for use with their guitars.

His fascination with hi-fi continued unabated, however, and he recalls a memorable event from the early 1970s: “I walked into a room at the New York Hi-Fi Show and saw Saul Marantz with another, much younger man — I was told his name was Jon Dahlquist. They were playing a speaker shaped like the Quad 57, but it was a dynamic speaker, and there was a big sign saying, ‘This Is Not An Electrostatic Loudspeaker.’ They were playing a tape of a live recording of a marching band through a Tandberg 64X. The sound was so live I couldn’t believe my ears.”

In 1976, Carl went to work for Saul and Jon as chief engineer, and his first assignment was to develop an electronic crossover for a Dahlquist subwoofer. That resulted in a product known as the LP1 variable low pass filter. (Nola’s Grand Reference uses an upgraded version of the same design.) Carl did the electronics while Saul handled graphics.

Carl was soon deeply involved in Dahlquist full-range speaker design and was ultimately responsible for DQ10 modifications and all the Dahlquist speakers that followed that model, including the DQ8, the DQ12, the DQ20 and DQ20i, and the firm’s box speakers series.

He was thrilled to be working with two of the hi-fi industry’s first-generation legends, Saul Marantz and the brilliant engineer Sid Smith, who had done groundbreaking work on the fabled Marantz 10B tuner of the 1960s and was involved in a Dahlquist amplifier project.

In the 1980s, Jon Dahlquist was severely injured in an automobile accident, and his company was sold. Carl and his wife Marilyn went on to start Acarian Systems, which manufactured Alon speakers, units still sought after in the used equipment market even though Acarian Systems is gone. They founded Accent Speaker Technology to build Nolas in 2004.

The DQ-10 was originally set up to use a CTS woofer. It was not meeting John Dahlquist's needs (I believe availability) so he opted for the Large Advent woofer. This is a long-excursion 10" woofer. Advent, under the helm of Henry Kloss, could not find a suitable 10" long-excursion driver, so built one using a 12" deep basket frame. The masonite ring was used to close the "gap" between a 10" cone and a frame initially designed for a 12" cone woofer.

The original DQ-10's had a 10" CTS woofer instead of the more widely known Large Advent woofer. (Factoid: CTS stands for Chicago Telephone Supply, and the likely reason they found their way into the DQ-10 was because Jon spent some time designing for Rectilinear Research, which used both 10 and 12 inch CTS woofers in some of their models). These were installed in units with serial numbers below 2000 and made primarily from 1973-74. Technically, those made after that number (with the Advent woofer) were called the DQ-10A. There was never any other model number for the 10's after the 10A. 10A's also had the yellow caps and mirror imaging standard, versus the earlier pairs which required the owner to replace/modify both the caps and the one speakers driver arrangement themselves via mailed instructions.

In total, 55,000 DQ-10's were manufactured (not pairs, but single speakers equaling 27,500 sets or pairs).

Every part of the crossover was assembled in-house as well.

At the start, the company consisted of roughly three people (including Jon) working out of a space in Freeport, NY about the size of "two garages." In looking for investors and knowledge on how to build the business, Jon came in contact with Saul Marantz, who subsequently bought in (at 49% ownership) after hearing the prototype DQ-10's. The number of employees fluctuated over the years, but it is said that during peak production years, there were about 15 people employed there.

According to Regnar, the DQ-10 was a very labor intensive speaker to build, most notably, the grills which were quite unique for their day, during a time when mass production technology wasn't available.

To date, there has been no reliable confirmation of the whereabouts or status of Jon, but it is known that after the company moved from Freeport to a much larger facility in Hauppauge (which Jon bought as opposed to leasing space) he continued on as a landlord of the old Dahlquist space long after the company had moved out and was sold.

12-14-2010, 12:00 PM
very cool info, thanks for posting it, i know i like my DQ 10s very much.

12-14-2010, 08:19 PM
It's very interesting to consider just how many different brands of loudspeaker systems had CTS drivers in them! :scratch2:

12-15-2010, 04:23 AM
Thanks very much for that bit of Dahlquist history. I enjoy reading posts about some of the various personalities involved in ground-breaking hi-fi innovations. Those guys were very passionate about their designs and had pride in their craftmanship.

I gave my DQ-10s some current a few months ago and they still sounded great.