The Temmer Years
While Gotham Audio Cables may not be a household name, longtime users of Neumann microphones have certainly recognized their exceptional quality. Here's the story behind the brand:
After World War II ended, German inventor Georg Neumann moved back to Berlin to rebuild and retool his old manufacturing company there, which had partially burned during bombing raids in 1943. By June 1948, the immortal Neumann U47 condenser microphone was in production, soon to be marketed worldwide by Telefunken.
Stephen Temmer, President of Gotham Recording in New York City, purchased his first U47 in 1953. Four years later Temmer visited the Neumann factory and learned that Neumann was having problems with Telefunken's American distributor. He returned to the US with a new stereo microphone and the hope of becoming the new US sales representative for Neumann.
Temmer had success selling Neumann disc-cutting lathes and in 1958 he went on to establish the Gotham Audio Sales Corporation as the exclusive distributor for Neumann microphones in the US. Gotham Audio wanted a cable that matched the superb quality of their Neumann microphones. They found an Austrian manufacturer who could build a cable that met their most demanding specifications.
Beginning in the mid-1970's, Gotham sold their Neumann microphones with this exceptional product from Vienna’s Dorfler Kabelwerk. The IC-3 series of extension cables supplied by Gotham became a standard accessory for the finest European microphones.
These cables became familiar to all US users of Neumann microphones from the mid-1970's through the early 1990's. Gotham cables reflect the finest heritage of European broadcast engineering, incorporating the double shielding designs developed by EMT for the absolute maximum in RF-rejection. Two Reussen layers of copper wire wound in opposite directions provided not only extraordinary shielding but also suppleness and a lack of memory. Neumann also chose a three-conductor design that insured power continuity and optimum grounding, in addition to uniform roundness. The conductors consisted of 96 (!) strands of 0.05mm copper wire for maximum flexibility and reliability.
When Stephen Temmer retired in 1985, he transferred the sales rights for Gotham Audio Cables to Gotham's Swiss subsidiary, Gotham AG, headed by Franz Ammann. Ammann greatly expanded the line, developing a full range of single pair and multipair double-shielded cables, along with specialized products for permanent installation, remote broadcast, tube microphones and a variety of industrial and aerospace applications. Especially notable were the debut in 1990 of the first cable specifically designed for the new AES/EBU digital audio format and the 1995 introduction of halogen free, non-corrosive, flame retardant cables.
A Decade of Change
Gotham Audio Cables achieved great popularity in North America during the 1980's when they were distributed by the Gotham companies in New York City and Canada. But the 1990's saw momentous changes as Germany reunified. Sennheiser acquired Neumann, bringing an end to Gotham Audio's exclusive US distribution of Neumann microphones. In 1991, Franz Ammann established GAC-Trading Ltd. to better market Gotham Audio Cables through an international network of distributors, independently of the microphones. The principals of Gotham Audio embarked upon new ventures, Gotham Service Labs continued on as an independent sales and repair center specializing in European microphones and Gotham Audio Cables.
The latter half of the 1990's were tumultuous years for many in professional audio, marked by dramatic changes in both technology and business organization. After a promising start, relationships between GAC-Trading and their new American distributor in Texas deteriorated. At about the same time, Gotham Service Labs in NY closed its doors and Gotham Audio Canada phased out its activities as a Canadian distributor for Gotham Audio Cable.
As the decade ended, Belden acquired ownership of the Dorfler cable plant in Austria and Gotham AG had to shift production to a larger Belden plant in Germany. Being an OEM client of a corporate giant proved to be a less than satisfactory experience. Issues developed over price, delivery and quality. All these developments made it difficult for Gotham to maintain its strong position in the rapidly changing US market.
In 2001, Gotham AG took steps to acquire its own ISO 9001 European manufacturing facility so as to regain complete control of the manufacturing process. Once this transition was completed in 2002, Gotham could give renewed attention to achieving more focused and effective distribution in the US.
With the establishment of a new American distribution company in late 2004, Gotham AG successfully revitalized the Gotham brand in the US market. For the next 15 years Gotham Audio LLC rejuvenated distribution in North America while strengthening the legacy of professionalism and excellence which it inherited from the original Gotham Audio Corporation. Gotham Audio in the US celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2013 and over the next 5 years its products regained a highly favored position among both professionals and audiophiles in North America.Sadly history often repeats itself. In 1991, Sennheiser ended a relationship between Gotham Audio and Neumann that had flourished for some 35 years. Just as suddenly, in November 2018, Gotham AG stopped shipping cable to Gotham Audio LLC, ending a relationship between Lewis Frisch and Gotham that dated back to January 1985.
Lewis Frisch continues to do business as Gotham Audio Sales Co. and Gotham Audio (USA). The legacy lives on...