L-Acoustics injects iconic sonic signature into premium in-ear monitors
If you've attended top concert venues and music festivals around the world, you may have experienced the L-Acoustics signature sound. Now the French high-end speaker/amp manufacturer has teamed up with US IEM maker JH Audio for the Contour XO in-ear monitors, which are described as the "perfect reference IEM on stage, at the mixing desk, in the studio, or on the move."
"Contour XO achieves pocket-size portability for our sonic signature, earning the same golden logo that adorns our PAs around the world," Executive Director of R&D at L-Acoustics, Christophe Combet, said of the company's first IEM.
As well as music venues, L-Acoustics has also installed its sound systems in numerous theaters, convention centers, sport arenas, houses of worship, amusement parks and even at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Jerry Harvey – who has been providing music legends with in-ear monitors for decades, through the Ultimate Ears brand and now JH Audio – says that he has "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 Contour XO IEMs are aimed at sound professionals, musicians, sound engineers, composers and audiophiles, and feature 10 balanced-armature drivers with three-way crossover in a quad low, dual mid and quad high configuration.
Listeners are promised a natural, dynamic live concert sound that's precise, accurate and distortion-free across the 10 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range. They have an input sensitivity of 116 dB, 8-ohms impedance and the lower end can be adjusted by up to 15 dB above a flat response. There's no active noise cancellation technology employed here, but up to 26 dB of passive noise isolation is on offer.
"The first time I tried the prototype, I put on my favorite playlist, and it took me 20 seconds to love them," commented Dr. Christian Heil, founder of L-Acoustics. "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."
The Contour XO in-ear monitors are on sale now, and as you might expect from a collaboration of two high-end audio titans, they're not budget-friendly. The standard, universal fit model is priced at €1,620 (about US$1,900) a pair, but buyers can stump up another €340 for a custom fit version.
Product page: Contour XO