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Company history (Continuation)

Dr. Küsters was respon­sible pri­marily for tech­nology and pro­duction; Dr. Schoeps directed the company and rep­re­sented it to the outside world. Due to his slowly degen­er­ating health, Dr. Küsters sought a co-​worker to assist him, and so Jörg Wuttke joined the company in 1970. He was a student of, and assistant to, the inventor of the inter­ference tube (“shotgun”) direc­tional micro­phone — Prof. Kurtze, who taught in Karl­sruhe. Mr. Wuttke actually wanted only to gain some prac­tical expe­rience fol­lowing the com­pletion of his under­graduate studies; he intended to return to complete his doc­torate. But Dr. Küsters passed away at the end of 1971. Mr. Wuttke assumed his position and remained with the company. In 1973 he intro­duced the well-​known “Colette” micro­phone series, the most extensive and multi-​faceted micro­phone system on the market for over 35 years now.

In the next period of time, contacts were estab­lished above all with the German radio and TV broad­casting orga­ni­za­tions, through which SCHOEPS became very well known in Germany. But it was not simple to compete with the large-​diaphragm micro­phones then estab­lished among radio broad­casters. Simply offering more of the same at lower cost could not be the way; thus it remained to convince the cus­tomers of the special advan­tages of smaller micro­phones which are typical of SCHOEPS.

1972 marked the company’s first appearance at the grand exhi­bi­tions of the Audio Engi­neering Society and the VDT (the primary orga­ni­zation of German recording engineers).

In 1978 the GmbH (limited lia­bility cor­po­ration) was founded, and in 1980 Ulrich Schoeps, the son of the founder, joined his father’s company. This was a time in which many formerly inde­pendent firms were being acquired by larger com­panies or con­glom­erates; employees and cus­tomers under­stood this as a hopeful sign that the SCHOEPS company would continue to be a family enter­prise. Dr. Schoeps was already 74 years old and until this point no clear line of suc­cession had been set forth. But in 1986 Ulrich Schoeps became the assistant to his father in his role as business director.

Jörg Wuttke,
Member of the Corporation, Technical Director until the beginning of 2007

The company’s founding and its initial pro­duction had taken place in private apart­ments, but soon the company moved into a building which, at first, was rented, then acquired in 1965 along with the neigh­boring house. This doubled the available space. Along with the cellar vault, many parts of the building’s foun­dation walls date back to 1662, making it among the oldest still pre­served in Durlach. Over the years, the space became too restrictive, and thus in 1990 a former dance hall was obtained and rebuilt as a pro­duction area for mechanical parts. Dr. Schoeps died at the end of 1993, having come to work at the company every day until the end. His son took over direction of the business. In 1997 Mr. Wuttke became second share­holder of the corporation.

Read on in part 3 »