The Gotham Audio companies were officially launched by Stephen Temmer when he registered the Gotham Audio Corporation with the State of New York on June 11, 1958.
Temmer's Gotham Recording had purchased their first Neumann microphones in 1953. Four years later, Temmer visited the Neumann factory in Berlin and returned to the US with a new stereo microphone and the US sales rights for the new Neumann Stereo Disk Transfer system. In 1958 he incorporated under the Gotham Audio name and became the exclusive US distributor for Neumann microphones and disk cutting systems.
Stephen Temmer was a musician and tonmeister whose forty year career was marked by a passionate dedication to music, broadcasting, recording and education. Temmer began recording for radio broadcasts in the 1940s and established Gotham Recording in 1950. He made the first recordings of the Metropolitan Opera for broadcast and produced landmark recordings with the Chicago Symphony and Edith Piaf.
For the next thirty years, Gotham was best known as the exclusive American distributor for Neumann products for recording and broadcast. Driven by Temmer's quest for improved recording techniques, Gotham also undertook US distribution for many other specialized European audio manufacturers, including Studer, Beyer, AEG-Telefunken, Klein+Hummel and EMT, the pioneering German manufacturer of plate reverbs, turntables and reusen shielded audio cable.
Gotham also developed a thriving export business in Europe for a number of American audio manufacturers including Lexicon, UREI, Valley Audio, MRL and Switchcraft. Stephen Temmer and Franz Ammann, his export distributor, opened a Gotham office in Regensdorf, Switzerland near Studer's facilities.
In 1964 Gotham initiated its own annual audio show to highlight "Innovaton in Audio Engineering Technology from Europe." The distintive "GA and Design" logo was registered as Gotham's US trademark on August 24, 1965.
A Swiss company, Gotham AG, was founded in 1983 to act as a headquarters for the export side of Gotham Audio. Gotham AG also handled worldwide distribution for the very popular Gotham Audio Cables, manufactured in Austria. These cables reflected the finest heritage of European broadcast engineering which had distinguished products from manufacturers such as EMT and Neumann since the mid 1960s.
When Temmer retired in 1985, he sold his remaining shares in the Swiss company to Franz and Manuela Ammann, who developed Gotham AG as a Swiss domestic distributor for pro audio products. The Ammanns also received the sales rights for Gotham Audio Cables, which they continued to export to Gotham Audio in New York and to other distrubutors wordwide. Gotham AG developed a full range of audio cables, many featuring the acclaimed "Double Reussen Shielding."
The US Gotham company prospered under the leadership of Russ Hamm and his associates Jerry Graham, Jurgen Wahl and Joe Leung. Relationships with companies such as Harmonia Mundi Acustica and CEDAR Audio kept Gotham on the cutting edge. Gotham continued to co-develop new digital products with leading manufacturers including and early hard disc multitrack digital recorder (1984), the ProDAT professional DAT recorder and the CDR-90 Compact Disc Reference System, which was the first practical recordable CD system (1989).
The world of professional audio was profoundly affect by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany in 1989. In 1991 Sennheiser took over Neumann, ending Gotham's exclusive distribution of Neumann products in the US. THe principals of Gotham Audio embarked upon new ventures, and with the untimely death of Stephen Temmer in October 1992, the Gotham Audio (NY) name and Temmer legacy slowly faded from the North American Audio Scene.
But even as its legendary parent copany ceased to exist, the Swiss company, Gotham AG, continued to prosper, establishing a worldwide distribution network for an expanding line of Gotham Audio cables. By way of the Swiss company, the unique Gotham trademark and its proud traditions survived through a tumultuous decade. In 2004, Franz Ammann partnered with industry veteran and former Gotham Audio dealer, Lewis Frisch, to re-launch the American Gotham Audio in Pennsylvania, some 70 miles west of the original Gotham birthplace in New York City.
The new American Gotham company immediately faced legal challenges from parties, unrelated to Stephen Temmer or his enterprises, who hoped to appropriate Temmer's Gotham trademarks to brand their own line of audio equipment. After several years of litigation, Frisch secured the US trademarke registration (#3,371,152) in January 2008, following a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruling unequivocably linking both Gotham Audio LLC and Gotham AG to the original Gotham Audio Corporation and its 1965 trademark.
With the establishment of a new American distribution company (Gotham Audio LLC), 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. In recent years, the Gotham brand regained a highly favored position among both professionals and audiophiles in North America.
Sadly, even the most productive relationships in professional audio often fall victim to changing times and unforeseen circumstances. In 1991, Sennheiser abruptly ended a relationshiop between Gotham Audio and Neumann that had flourished for some 36 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 continued to honor the legacy of Temmer's Gotham Audio conducting business as Gotham Audio Sales (USA) and Gotham Audio Sales Co. until his retirement in June 2022.
U.S. TRADEMARKE REGISTRATION FOR "GA AND DESIGN"
REGISTRATION NUMBER 3,371,152 issued January 22, 2008
REGISTRANT: GOTHAM AUDIO, LLC