You are now offering professional products to customers who are not professionals? Isn’t that a little complex?
Yes and no.
We offer a carefully chosen selection of professional products, but these products are optimized for private use. The loudspeakers and amplifiers have been selected for their objective and perceptual performance, then packaged as multi-purpose systems, each of which has a natural use scenario.
The systems are presented in a range called Archipel, in 2.0 or 2.1, 5.1, atmospheric, or custom configurations.
Originally designed as professional loudspeaker systems, all Archipel components have been selected, refined, and sometimes re-designed and tuned for private use without compromising any of the original performance characteristics. The Ibiza system, built around Kara II which is unanimously popular with star DJs, is the most sophisticated system in our Archipel offering.
Thus, each Archipel system is designed as a turnkey package with factory presets, and connects easily to the usual home hi-fi environment. We go as far as recommending third-party products for streaming, video, and upmixing, in order to help the customer find their way through the jungle of formats and streamers on the market.
How do you explain this change of course for L‑Acoustics? Is it a pivot strategy linked to Covid-19?
Firstly, this is not a change of course. The heart of L‑Acoustics activity remains the professional sector and live performance. It is an integral part of our DNA, an exciting and passionate field. In the same way that Formula 1 serves the wider automotive industry, touring puts audio products and new technologies to the test and places innovation at the very heart of production and artists’ creativity.
L‑Acoustics’ mission is to enable audio professionals and artists to elevate the listener experience through innovation and product design excellence. We remain steadfast in our focus on shaping the future of sound as the leader in premium professional sound reinforcement. L‑Acoustics Creations allows us to fulfil our stated mission by introducing the exceptional performance of pro audio into a new user environment: the home.
Our affinity for the residential sector started several years ago and since that time we have been taking a holistic approach. Rather than focusing on a single product or technology, our approach has emphasized the transformation of the living space by reconsidering the architectural environment within a framework for sound. We’ve embarked upon an outreach campaign with architects and designers to help them understand that the space in which we live is not only visual and tactile, but also alive with sound. From this came the introduction of “Sound Spaces” immersive hyperreal spaces that you can discover on this site.
That said, our current focus on L‑Acoustics Creations Archipel Sound Systems is not entirely removed from the COVID-19 context.
During this devastating period for the entertainment industry, it quickly became obvious that music, celebration, and the human connections they make were being sorely missed by people of all origins and from all walks of life.
The frustration of confinement created the desire to experience emotion, to feel the communal atmosphere of concerts, celebrations, and parties. As things start to gradually improve, we have witnessed an irresistible urge to meet again around a meal, a glass of wine, and music.
Of course, we are unable to bring about an immediate return of live music. But we can and did decide to quickly implement what we had originally planned to do by the end of 2020: make pro audio available to the private sector so that the party could begin again, with music that thrills us and makes us feel more alive!
But don’t you feel like you’re taking advantage of the current situation?
The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard. Music and the arts, the talented and hard-working people who derive their livelihood from working in the entertainment industry, the service companies, ourselves and other suppliers of these professions have all suffered considerable loss, from which some will not recover. It is tragic.
I do not see where there would be any benefit in a sector struck by disaster. L‑Acoustics currently employs 550 people. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have done our utmost to preserve jobs while keeping our staff safe so as to not compound the hardship. Our sales in the touring sector have ceased since the beginning of confinement. The forecast for activity starting up again in this sector is uncertain and unfavorable, and we understand why. For as long as touring and festivals are on hold, there are no reassuring prospects.
During this period, which is usually an extremely busy one for L‑Acoustics with the deployment of systems for new tours, deliveries for performance venue installations, support and training services, we have taken the time to accelerate the roll-out of this residential and private range.
As for any windfall, we don’t believe in miracles; in these difficult and disturbing times, affluent customers will not race to buy our systems in the same way we raced to buy protective masks or hand sanitizer gel. But we prefer to act and preserve optimism.
How do you plan to support the industry?
L‑Acoustics is first and foremost committed to supporting the people in the profession who are close to us and with whom we have lasting relationships; our customers, our suppliers, and our employees, all of whom we want to help and protect as much as possible.
As part of the launch of the L‑Acoustics eStore and L‑Acoustics Creations Archipel Sound Systems, we have opted for wider support by offering our professional users, sound engineers and sound designers the opportunity to offer friends, relatives, contacts, discounts on any online purchase of a system. All purchases directly benefit the referring partners during this challenging time for the sector.
Some of the people buying our systems will even have the pleasure of meeting one of these expert sound engineers who thrill the public and carry the sound of their artists, venue after venue, concert after concert, come rain or shine. These workers, who remain in the shadows while making artists shine, are also severely impacted by COVID-19 confinement.
We are honored to collaborate with some of the industry’s leading sound engineers as Ambassadors for this new initiative.