The Day the Wedge Died and the IEM Market Matured

L-Acoustics makes over 50,000 loudspeakers a year. And today they partnered with JH Audio to launch the Contour XO in-ear monitor.

This article is Authorized by the In-Ear Monitor International Trade Organziation

This is a new announcement from one of our founding members. Our members are always pushing the boundaries of what is sonically possible for in-ear monitoring.

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January 16, 2021

This is the first time a loudspeaker company debuts an IEM — and not just any loudspeaker company. L-Acoustics is the most well-respected and most innovative loudspeaker manufacturer who commands attention on stage and in homes. Their L-Acoustics Creations division is defying boundaries and blurring the lines between art and commerce. And when we as an industry talk about immersive audio, what we're really referencing is the pioneering L-ISA work.

So I'm not surprised by this move. It was inevitable. Sooner or later we knew it would happen. And of course it's spearheaded by L-Acoustics.

And of course it was in partnership with Jerry Harvey. That's how the cycle completes itself. Jerry who helped pioneer the modern IEM industry to take on the wedge manufacturers — now gets to help write the next chapter of the maturing IEM space.

From here, everyone else will follow suit. Within 3 years, every PA company will sell in-ears. (Which makes more sense than every instrument manufacturer... Zildjian. Mackie. Fender...)

But the real part of this story isn't what this means for consolidation around the stage. The real juice here is what will happen in the True Wireless space and how L-Acoustics will take a leading position in forthcoming innovations. Imagine when immersive audio is a standard feature of personal audio. It's already happening. A preview of the L-ISA binaural software tools that will be released in early 2021 is offered to first adopters of Contour XO as part of the package.

Pay attention. This is the part that matters for the industry at large. And as a case study for IEMITO — this is exactly why this trade organization exists. The technologies developed on stage will continue to drive and spread through the global headphone market.

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