In the mid 80's Crown was building very powerful amplifiers for MRI machines made by GE Medical Systems in Waukesha WI.
This was being done under the Techron brand in our medical / industrial equipment division.
While we were producing those products, the Pro Audio division met up with John Royer and Tom Alibrandi,
the PA engineer and radio network engineers at the Indy 500. At that time the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway (IMS) was using some very old industrial tube power amplifiers made by Ling. They had 6
and each consumed an entire 6 ft rack. Despite their enormous size, being vacuum tube based they
required constant attention during the race to prevent thermal runaway (destruction). Crown started
working with them to replace the old Ling amps with our MA10k, an amplifier based on
the Techron MRI amplifier. The MA10k was much smaller and produced twice as much power.
Along with this proposal came the PIP-IQ System and many different flavors of microphones
including the SASS and the very unique
Tridundant (as in three‑element) hand
held. The Tridundant microphone was the one used at the podium to carry Mrs. Hulman's
most famous of words:
Gentlemen start your engines!.
Over the years the connection between John Royer and Crown became very close. John started working with Crown Marketing to define amplifiers and features for the needs of professional sound engineers worldwide, as well as for home systems. The 2.5 mile track of the IMS made for a very large laboratory to develop new product.
Having a company airplane and pilot made the various trips very quick. A trip took 30 minutes in the air. Down in the morning, back at noon.
Below are some documents that tell stories about the people, the track and the various tests conducted. Hope you enjoy these stories, and if you have one that you don't see here, please email Tom Szerencse so we can put it here.
Crown's connection to the Indy 500
Please email Tom Szerencse and let us know if you have any other Indy 500 documentation that we could include here.