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Audiophi-Ls Rejoice

JH Audio and L-Acoustics got together and what did they produce? A ten-driver, concert PA-sounding, IEM that even Dr. Heil rates. 

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October 29, 2020

L-Acoustics reinforces its mission of elevating the listening experience for professionals and audiophiles worldwide with its first offering in personal audio, Contour XO in-ear monitor powered by JH Audio.

Contour XO is born from the meeting of two pro sound icons: Jerry Harvey and Dr. Christian Heil. Both pioneered industry-shaping technologies: multi-driver in-ear monitors and the present-day concert PA based on the L-Acoustics line source array.

Jerry Harvey, the founder of JH Audio, focused on the in-ear experience. Challenged by mega-stars demanding better sound quality on stage, Harvey developed the first custom dual balanced armature in-ear monitor. Demand caught fire, catapulting him into the position of a world-leading custom in-ear monitor manufacturer.

L-Acoustics, founded by Dr. Christian Heil, revolutionized the live sound industry not once, but twice, bringing the Wavefront Sculpture Technology of V-DOSC line source arrays to the masses in 1992, and then in 2016 deepened the connection between artist and audience with the first object-based mixing technology for live events, L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound.

For the first time, Harvey and Heil have combined their R&D teams’ forces to reproduce the renowned L-Acoustics sonic signature frequency contour in a premium, 10-driver in-ear monitor (IEM) that elevates the standard for in-ear monitoring.

Designed to reproduce the nuances, emotion and impact of live music, L-Acoustics professional sound systems have their own “sonic signature”. Widely viewed as the benchmark for the live music and performing arts industries, the L-Acoustics sonic signature is natural, dynamic, generous, and consistent. Contour XO provides that perfect reference IEM on stage, at the mixing desk, in the studio, or on the move.

Furthermore, the development of Contour XO supports the upcoming release of new L-ISA binaural object-based mixing software tools currently in beta testing with a select pool of audio professionals.

“I was impressed by the jeweller-like precision with which JH Audio could tune to match our frequency contour in such a miniaturised enclosure,” comments Christian Heil of the new Contour XO. “The first time I tried the prototype, I put on my favourite playlist, and it took me 20 seconds to love them. There’s a very generous, deep low-end contour, and a high-end extension that I’ve never heard on an IEM before. The sound is natural and powerful! We recently launched sound systems for private use via our new division, L-Acoustics Creations, allowing music lovers to ‘bring the concert home.’ This IEM extends that lifestyle philosophy further still with the concept of L-Acoustics sound wearables to bring the concert with you, anywhere.”

Jerry Harvey was pleased with the new audiophile tech fusion, “I’ve been trying to make my in-ears sound like an L-Acoustics PA for years. It wasn’t until their team challenged us that we got as close as we could. The L-Acoustics R&D team has been great to work with!”

“It was an exhilarating challenge to collaborate with the fast-paced and talented team at JH Audio on the first L-Acoustics IEM. We knew that the outcome of our joint efforts would need to fulfil criteria that are both measurable and pleasurable,” explains Christophe Combet, L-Acoustics Executive Director of Research and Development. “The testing process was iterative and uncompromising, right up through the final review and approval from our expert ears listening committee. Contour XO achieves pocket-size portability for our sonic signature, earning the same golden logo that adorns our PAs around the world.”

The newly designed universal in-ear monitors bring listeners inside the music with ten balanced armature drivers and 3-way crossover in a quad low, dual mid, and quad high configuration. Contour XO offers control of the low end with bass adjustment of up to 15 dB above flat response. Artists, musicians, sound professionals, and audiophiles alike will appreciate the individual care and attention to detail transmitted by the limited edition premium in-ear audio solution, Contour XO.

Guillaume Le Nost, L-Acoustics Executive Director of Creative Technologies, elaborates on how the IEM represents a creative product fit for the company. “Object-based mixing to achieve natural, spatialized audio, we believe, is the future of sound. The success of L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology has led us to seek ways to further streamline the production process. L-ISA binaural software tools are scheduled to be released in early 2021. We are pleased to offer early access to this L-ISA binaural software package to first adopters of Contour XO.”

Available now via the L-Acoustics eStore, customers can choose from both universal and custom fit options of Contour XO to bring home the L-Acoustics sonic signature. 

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UNMASKED
Producing Masked Wolf’s Astronaut in the Ocean
READ ONLINE NOW
Online
Issue 72