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JBL Announces the Passing of John Eargle

JBL Professional announced the passing of John Morgan Eargle (pictured) at the age of 76.

JBL Professional announced the passing of John Morgan Eargle (pictured) at the age of 76. Dr. Sidney Harman, founder and executive chairman of Harman International Industries, JBL’s parent company, made the announcement.

In announcing the passing, Dr. Harman called Eargle an industry legend and commended his 31 years of contributions to the JBL and Harman family of companies. “The industry lost a giant with the passing of John Eargle,” Dr. Harman said, “but we at JBL and Harman International lost a beloved and revered member of our family. John Eargle cannot be replaced, but his life, his vision and his many contributions to our industry can and will be memorialized in concrete ways by our company.”

Eargle joined JBL as a consultant in 1976, and shortly thereafter moved to a full-time position as vice president of product development for a six-year period. In the early 1980s he returned to a consulting role with the title Senior Director, Product Development and Application, the position that he held for the rest of his life.

Eargle participated in product development activities for JBL’s Professional and Consumer divisions, for Harman Becker on branded car sound systems, and for other Harman divisions such as AKG microphones. He wrote extensively for the companies, creating articles, applications and technical notes, owner’s manuals and other materials in support of products and their use in recording and sound reinforcement. He championed the concept of flat power response in sound reinforcement applications, and conceived of the application of the Bi-Radial constant-coverage horns to both studio monitors and cinema systems. In 2002 Eargle received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences along with other JBL engineers for the concept, design and engineering of the modern constant-directivity, direct radiator style motion picture loudspeaker systems.

He had just completed a book titled The JBL Story: 60 Years of Audio Innovation and had previously co-authored JBL Audio Engineering for Sound Reinforcement, which are among 10 books that Eargle wrote on audio, loudspeakers, microphones and recording. Many of his books have long been used as texts at the university level.

Eargle was a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and had engineered and/or produced more than 275 CDs. He was at the forefront of the development of multi-channel surround sound. He received Grammy Awards for jazz recordings that he engineered for Joe Williams and Ruth Brown, and in 2001 he was awarded the Grammy for Best-Engineered Album, Classical for Dvorák: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

John Eargle is survived by brother Robert Gray Eargle, sister Pauline
Tennison Eargle Dahlgren, nephew John Paul Eargle and five additional nieces and nephews, all of Texas. Funeral arrangements will be private.

Industry colleagues have established a remembrance Website at Plans are underway for a memorial convocation for friends and associates to be held in the near future. For more on Eargle’s life and accomplishments, visit