L-Acoustics and JH Audio reap praise as Contour XO helps power the US presidential inauguration
February 2021 – While the live music scene has been on pause for the past year, two live sound innovators, Dr. Christian Heil, president and founder of L-Acoustics, and Jerry Harvey, president and founder of JH Audio, came up with the spectacular idea to combine their technologies into the L-Acoustics Creations Contour XO in-ear headphones.
Following an initial meeting in which Jerry Harvey travelled to Paris to meet Christian Heil, the two companies’ teams collaborated remotely to build Contour XO, which incorporates the legendary massive L-Acoustics line array sound into the smallest set of speakers imaginable, JH Audio’s celebrated multi-driver portable in-ear monitors (IEMs).
Since their October 2020 release, Contour XO have been widely coveted by musicians, audio engineers, and music lovers as the only way to enjoy the L-Acoustics concert-quality sound wherever they go. The radical design of Contour XO incorporates a remarkable ten drivers and covers the full frequency spectrum down to an astounding 10Hz. They also feature bass adjustment of up to 15 dB so you can control how much low end you need.
Contour XO at Inauguration Day
Contour XO was given a crucial role at one of the most viewed live productions in recent memory: the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden and Vice President, Kamala Harris.
With over 30 million people watching in the US alone on 20th January 2021, Lady Gaga delivered a moving performance of the US National Anthem.
Chris Rabold, live engineer for Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé, represented Gaga at the mixing console as she serenaded millions of viewers. While mixing and monitoring the broadcast feed, Chris Rabold relied upon Contour XO to deliver extremely detailed, crystal-clear sound. Rabold comments, “I’m glad my Contour XO in-ear monitors came along for the momentous occasion and served as my mix reference.”
The performers themselves sparkled in customised JH Audio IEMs. Lady Gaga wore an opulent gold set of JH Audio 16v2s, while Jennifer Lopez, performing excerpts of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” stunned the crowd in a silver set of JH Audio 13v2s.
Contour XO at NAMM
Just days after the inauguration, Rabold moderated a panel discussion via Zoom for NAMM 2021. The discussion, titled “Contour XO IEM Origins Story: Dr. Christian Heil & Jerry Harvey,” allowed both pro audio innovators to reveal the details of how the collaboration unfolded. Rabold talked with Heil and Harvey about their shared passion for sound, their mutual respect for each other’s work, and their ultimate goals for the Contour XO.
In the interview, Dr. Christian Heil described what pushed him and Jerry Harvey to create Contour XO. “When you are preparing to mix a live performance, you are often in transit, in an airport or hotel room. We wanted to make a tool to match the frequency response of an L-Acoustics PA so that the transition from setting up a mix to engineering a live show is seamless.”
Regarding the tuning process and naming of Contour XO, Jerry Harvey explained, “I had to contour the low frequencies steeper to match the massive sub bass of an L-Acoustics line array. That’s why we named it Contour XO: because I was trying to match the contour. I must have heard the word ‘contour’ a thousand times in a week!”
Chris Rabold summed up his thoughts on Contour XO with nothing short of effusive praise. “Contour XO is my favorite sounding in-ear reference,” Rabold said. “I see it having a value in so many different ways, and above all else, it just sounds phenomenal. Because the palette is so even and smooth and musical, nothing ever feels hyped. Sonically, everything always feels right where it should be. That allows me to set perfect levels with no fuss and no guesswork.”
Contour XO first impressions
In a series of unboxing videos, L-Acoustics gathered first impressions of Contour XO from multiple live sound engineers at the top of their craft. Feedback from top engineers includes Darcy Khan (Outkast, Kanye West), Arica Rust (SEVENTEEN, Sarah McLachlan), James Rudder (The Rolling Stone, Michael Bublé), Ramon Morales (Ricky Martin, Bruno Mars), and Wayne “Rabbit” Sargent (Swedish House Mafia, Stormzy).
Contour XO is state-of-the-art equipment, and hand made in the USA by the talented engineers at JH Audio. Available via L-Acoustics Creations.
Priced at €1,350 plus tax, for universal fit.
Contour XO custom fit can be purchased directly at JHAudio.com, starting at $1,949 plus tax.
For more details, visit: l-acoustics.com/contour-xo
About L-Acoustics Creations
L-Acoustics Creations is a division of L-Acoustics, devoted to the creation of extraordinary sound systems and sound spaces in residential, architectural, and cultural environments. L-Acoustics is the world leader in premium sound systems for live events and large-scale architectural projects: music venues, stadia, performing arts centres, museums, theme parks, and cruise ships. For decades, L-Acoustics has shaped the future of sound through the company’s dedication to innovation, product design excellence and technologies that enable audio professionals and artists to elevate the listener experience. More information at www.l-acoustics-creations.com.
Founded in 1984 near Paris, France, L-Acoustics is the market leader in professional sound reinforcement technologies. With over 500 team members worldwide and offices in Paris, London, Los Angeles, New York, and Singapore, L-Acoustics is present in over 80 countries via our network of Certified Providers. Focused on solutions that elevate the audience experience, more than 25% of L-Acoustics’ talent is devoted to advanced R&D in the areas of acoustics, applications, mechanics, electronics, signal processing, and software development.
Recognised for pioneering the line source array, L-Acoustics continues to shape the future of sound with L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology, a multidimensional, object-based approach to designing, mixing, and processing sound that results in extremely natural and intelligible audio and a more vibrant, authentic connection between artists and their fans.
L-Acoustics technologies can be heard in places like the Hollywood Bowl, the NFL Cardinals State Farm Stadium, Allianz Arena home of Bayern Munich, or the Philharmonie de Paris, as well as the world’s top-grossing festivals, and on tour or in residencies with world-class artists such as P!nk, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, Mark Knopfler, and Post Malone. Please visit www.l-acoustics.com to learn more.
About JH Audio
JH Audio is headquartered in Orlando, Florida serving major entertainment hubs across the United States with offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Purveyors of audio innovation and pioneers of the most detailed, accurate in-ear monitors on the market, JH Audio has developed an unrivalled portfolio of proprietary pro-sound technology.
JH Audio combines over 25 years’ experience in live audio mixing with more than 15 years of designing and building in-ear monitors for some of the most demanding ears on the planet. JH Audio IEMs have served world-class talents including Van Halen, Aerosmith, Justin Timberlake, U2, Bruno Mars, the Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Post Malone, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, and many more. The company rocks a full line of custom in-ear pro music monitors, and their mind-blowing innovations are used by engineers, artists and audiophiles alike. Learn more at jhaudio.com.