history of Beam-Echo is based upon an article written by Tony Holmes formerly of "The Juke Joint".
One of the features that
distinguishes a British BAL-AMi jukebox from its American AMi counterpart, is
the type of amplifier that's fitted. In the case of BAL-AMi, these are Beam-Echo
Beam-Echo began in 1953 when a
chap called Henry Rahmer saw an opportunity to buy a run down cine projector
manufacturing company called Danson. Rahmer decided that he could build the cine
projectors, so he bought the company from the official receivers. He persuaded a
friend, a Mr Philip Hounsfield, to give him some space in his factory so he
could make a start.
Hounsfield ran a company in
Witham, Essex called Parion Products that built caravans from a factory on
Witham High St. They had just marketed a very successful product in the form of
a fold up camp bed called the Hounsfield Safari and thus had capital available
for new ideas. A deal was done on the basis of working space in exchange for
shares in the new company and this was how Beam-Echo began. The name,
incidentally, is derived from cinema jargon. The beam represents the light
source and the echo is a reference to the cinema sound track. Soon after setting
up manufacturing the projectors, Rahmer got the contract to make the amplifiers
for the newly operating BAL-AMi company. Soon most cafes would have a BAL-AMi
jukebox playing rock and roll via a Beam-Echo amplifier
By the mid fifties they were
selling thousands of units so they decided to branch out into the blossoming Hi-Fi
business, at that time dominated by names such as Leak Radford, Quad Pye etc.
Beam-Echo took on a new designer, Gordon Lawson, who had a good background in
amplifier design. The company developed a new range of products which they sold
under the brand name Avantic. They later introduced loudspeaker enclosures, a
radio tuner, and several other items of Hi-Fi related equipment. So Beam-Echo
became established in the UK Hi-Fi market, with an enviable reputation for
The first amplifier to be sold was the 20W monoblock
DL7-35, with a matching mono pre-amp. These two units sold for £55.
Beam-Echo at that time must have been doing well
internationally as the company had its own showroom and sales office in the USA
at 820 Greenwich Street, New York City.
All Beam -Echo products were well made, stylish, and many
are now highly collectable among audio enthusiasts.
In the early sixties the company
came to the attention of the growing electronics giant, Thorn Electrical
Industries, and they subsequently acquired Beam-Echo in order to get hold of the
trade name Glyndbourne, which was part of the company. Thorn then closed down the
Beam-Echo plant in the early sixties, possibly as early as 1961.
Some thirty plus years later, in 1994, a man called Stuart Perry
discovered a pair of old Avantic amplifiers that had been thrown out for scrap.
He restored them and immediately fell in love with their superb quality sound.
More than 50 years on from the original start of Beam-Echo, Stuart
designed a new range of products, together with products based on original
designs offering long lasting products for musical pleasure - just like those
BAL-AMi jukeboxes that just keep on rockin' !
A new version of the DL7-35 was launched at the Hi-Fi Show
at the Ramada Hotel Heathrow, London. The price for a pair of these monoblock
amps was £2,850. Hi-Fi News magazine called it a 'classic in every sense of the
Unfortunately, Stuart's Beam-Echo adventure didn't survive
and in 1998 the Beam-Echo name was once again consigned to amplifier history.
Henry Rahmer, founder of Beam-Echo