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The story of Racal Acoustics

Racal Acoustics
A history of more than 100 years

Racal Acoustics’ pedigree can be traced back as far as 1911. One of the pioneers of the first heydays of radio communications was Sidney George Brown, a successful inventor with some 1,000 registered patents. His company, SG Brown Limited, produced some of the first headphones along with telephone relays, receivers and loudspeakers.

Throughout both the First and Second World Wars, S.G Brown played a key role in technology development. He was behind the type ‘A’ headset, for example. Brown’s efforts resulted in a letter of appreciation from Winston Churchill.

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Birth of the Racal Acoustics brand

Racal was founded in 1950 by RAymond Brown and George CALder Cunningham. The company soon became one of the leading providers of communication systems in the global defense industry.

A series of mergers between SG Brown, Amplivox and Avionics formed the backbone of Racal Acoustics, before it was acquired by INVISIO in 2021. Racal’s headsets have featured in many blockbuster films, such as Star Wars and Alien. One was even worn by John Lennon on the cover of the classic Imagine album.

 

Racal Acoustics Part Of Logo
Racal Acoustics Part Of Logo

Technology pedigree

In the spirit of SG Brown, Racal Acoustics continued to develop and find innovative solutions to new challenges. Today the technology is embedded in international standards, which stipulate that headsets must also protect hearing – while maintaining the user’s situational awareness. This is particularly important in military vehicle environments where the noise level is high.

Racal Acoustics developed the first analogue, electronic Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset – adapted for military use. The company was also behind the development of electronic “hear through”, a further development of the conventional mechanical valve technology. In the mid 2000’s, analogue and digital technologies started to be combined, enabling the addition of software functionality. This in turn enabled easier integration into the customer’s systems and solutions.

Continuing investment in product development has made it possible to develop platforms based on Digital Signal Processing (DSP). This technology allows customized solutions, including ANR profiling to specific vehicles, to be implemented throughout the lifetime of the headset without the need for costly hardware upgrades, thus reducing life-cycle costs.

Military communications equipment has become increasingly digital, which presents opportunities to use 3D sound technology. This is used in the latest headsets from Racal Acoustics, allowing the user to listen to eight audio channels at the same time, compared with two or three channels, which is the limit for conventional technology.

Nearly half a century of service at Racal Acoustics.
Mohindra Patel
Mohindra Patel
Production operator
Nearly half a century of service at Racal Acoustics.
Mohindra Patel
Mohindra Patel
Production operator
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