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L-Acoustics Creations: Contour XO In-Ear Headphones

Stage Directions • Tools of the Trade • February 12, 2021

Contour XO provides the renowned L-Acoustics sonic signature in an IEM co-engineered with JH Audio

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 Contour XO in-ear headphones.

Following an initial meeting in which Jerry Harvey traveled 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).

Contour XO is a 10-driver balanced armature IEM with 3-way crossover delivering the signature sound of live music in a compact footprint

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 NAMM
At NAMM 2021, Chris Rabold, live engineer for Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé, moderated a panel discussion via Zoom. 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, mutual respect for each other’s work, and 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,” he 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).

Here’s a Contour XO Unboxing with Ramon Morales:

L-Acoustics Contour XO Ambassador Ramon Morales career in sound began at the legendary spans 25 years from the legendary Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, TX to serving chart topping artists, including Beyoncé, Ricky Martin, and Bruno Mars. Hear what he has to say about Contour XO.

Further information from L-Acoustics Creations: /
Download the Contour XO spec sheet here: Download



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