Some companies build businesses by following industry trends; French audio manufacturer L-Acoustics grew by ignoring them. Founder Christian Heil drew on his PhD in particle physics to pioneer Wavefront Sculpture Technology in the 90s—a quantum leap forward in providing laser-like precision to control and focus sound for large audiences. The result is greater clarity and uniformity as well as an enhanced concert experience, all in a compact package that reduced events’ carbon footprint dramatically. Their new technology rendered previous technology obsolete and is now used by most top events and venues around the world.
The company continues to find ways to elevate the listener experience. Accomplishments include creating the industry’s first 3D design modeling software and developing some of the world’s lightest, most flexible, and most powerful speakers. CEO Laurent Vaissié says their engineering-driven approach leads to sound system design as sophisticated and nuanced as Formula One racecar design processes, requiring advanced expertise in multiple domains beyond acoustics, including embedded software and mechanical engineering.
In 2016, L-Acoustics rolled out L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound, a new approach to live shows that connects audio and visuals to create more intimate relationships between artists and audiences. Live shows are critical revenue streams for artists, and with live entertainment competing with many forms of home entertainment, creating a one-of-a-kind performance is paramount, Vaissié explains. High-profile musicians, including Aerosmith, Bon Iver, and deadmau5 have already adopted L-ISA technology for their live shows, and trailblazing immersive experiences such as Cages in downtown Los Angeles, are also using it.
The formula for sensical innovation
The L-Acoustics team prides itself on thinking differently and taking a fearless approach to incorporating scientific concepts from outside the industry. That philosophy earns L-Acoustics a spot on Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies list.
To shape the future of sound, L-Acoustics relies on a uniquely assembled team. Twenty-five percent of its workforce is in research and development (R&D), and many employees have advanced technical degrees, including Vaissié, who has a PhD in lasers and optics. Researchers work side-by-side with recognized experts from the field, including former systems engineers for Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, and Nine Inch Nails, allowing L-Acoustics to apply science to audio in creative, yet practical ways.
Live Event-Caliber Audio, At Home
Now, L-Acoustics is expanding its mission to elevate the listener experience by allowing people to recreate live event experiences in exceptional private spaces, such as luxury homes, yachts, and entertainment destinations. This new division, L-Acoustics Creations, recently released Island, “the ultimate private sound space.” Island is an ergonomically designed, modular lounge that functions as a personal auditorium. Listeners step in, sit back, and enjoy 360-degree, deep listening experiences built on the same L-Acoustics audio technology used at concerts around the world. Like everything L-Acoustics undertakes, Island reflects a no-nonsense approach to product innovation, and a determination to create something unique.
“We always look to innovate in a way that is not following the flow,” Vaissié explains. “Our purpose is always to enhance the quality of the live entertainment experience.” This inventive spirit sets L-Acoustics apart and should position it for continued innovation—good news for music lovers everywhere.