L-Acoustics enters in-ear monitor market with JH Audio collaboration

French loudspeaker giant L-Acoustics has broken into the in-ear monitor market with the Contour XO, powered by IEM specialist JH Audio.

The move from L-Acoustics into the IEM market represents that latest step in its product diversification. Earlier this year, the company unveiled its new L-Acoustics Creations division, aimed at bringing its professional audio offering to the high-end consumer market. Now, in collaboration with JH Audio, its Contour XO will aim to introduce its sonic capabilities to yet a wider audience. 

The Contour XO comes with with 10 balanced armature drivers and three-way crossover in a quad low, dual mid, and quad high configuration. It offers control of the low end with bass adjustment of up to 15 dB above flat response. L-Acoustics says the line was created for artists, musicians, sound professionals, and audiophiles alike.

“I was impressed by the jeweler-like precision with which JH Audio could tune to match our frequency contour in such a miniaturized enclosure,” commented L-Acoustics founder Christian Heil. “The first time I tried the prototype, I put on my favorite 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.”

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JH Audio founder Jerry Harvey added: “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.”

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.

“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 fulfill criteria that are both measurable and pleasurable,” explained Christophe Combet, L-Acoustics executive director of R&D. “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.”

Guillaume Le Nost, L-Acoustics executive director of creative technologies, elaborated on how the IEM represents a c’reative product fit’ for the company. “Object-based mixing to achieve natural, spatialized audio 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. The universal fit model is priced at €1,620 including VAT. Custom fit Contour XO are available for an additional €340 plus tax.