How L-Acoustics is ramping up its commercial audio game

L-Acoustics revealed the latest addition to its SB lineup this week in the form of the new SB10i, which is aimed at the burgeoning residential and commercial audio sector. Germain Simon, the firm’s application engineer for product and technology communication, tells Headliner about the “exciting opportunities” that lie ahead in the market.

Built to deliver the same sonic signature as the company’s much larger subs, but from a significantly scaled-down enclosure design, the SB10i is described as being ‘not much larger than two side-by-side shoe boxes’.

Equipped with a single 10-inch driver, 27 Hz bandwidth limit, and 124 dB maximum SPL output, the high-powered SB10i measures 21.3” L x 21.3” W x 6.7” H (540 x 540 x 170 mm) and weighs just 33 pounds (15 kg). Sonically corresponding with L‑Acoustics X4i and 5XT ultra-compact coaxial speakers, the new sub is available in RAL colours, making it a suitable choice for high-end residential and commercial environments, as well as hospitality settings, sports luxury boxes, museum installs, and a host of other applications.

“There has been increasing demand in the residential and commercial markets for audio systems that give the same experience as being at a dynamic, vivacious live show,’” explained Nick Fichte, global business manager for L-Acoustics Creations. “With the launch of the new SB10i, we now have the perfect aesthetically unobtrusive subwoofer that delivers the impactful low-frequency punch that is a hallmark of our renowned festival and touring sound systems. The fact that it’s understated enough to be placed under a chair or a couch will be an unexpected bonus for residential and commercial projects alike.”

Here, Simon gives us the inside track on the company’s growing presence in the residential and commercial audio market...

How long has this product been in development?

The idea of having an ultra-compact sub that would be the perfect companion to our hospitality-friendly X4i and 5XT speakers has been discussed for a few years. The active development cycle has been accelerated for SB10i, we were able to apply decades of experience to this project, and find a way to concentrate all of our latest technology into this product in a fairly rapid way.

What kind of applications is it best suited to?

SB10i was born for hospitality. Museums, hotel lobbies or bars, restaurants, luxury boxes in sports venues or retail spaces will all find that this product gives them impact while also melting into any style or architecture.

Has the pandemic increased demand for higher quality audio products in residential and commercial settings? And how has the company responded to that?

Even before the pandemic, the demand for quality audio in residential and commercial spaces was burgeoning. In the last year and a half, as we’ve all retreated to our homes, the demand for bringing the world to our personal space has exploded and we are seeing a real interest in being able to bring the same concert-grade experience into your home office or living room. SB10i unites concert-grade sound with living room or luxury commercial appropriate size and aesthetic.

Few brands provide the concert-grade experience we deliver. Germain Simon, L-Acoustics

How much of a focus is there from L-Acoustics on the residential and commercial audio markets?

This area of the market represents a growing sector for us. We are well known as a leader in the pro audio space, but we have some outreach to do into the residential and architectural integration sector. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to grow our brand recognition and to demonstrate to this market that their clients can benefit from the same sound systems that tour with Adele or Foo Fighters or that they have come to know and love at iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl or the Philharmonie de Paris.

What kind of opportunities are there for L-Acoustics in these markets?

Hospitality and retail spaces aim at providing outstanding and consistent customer experience throughout their locations. The atmosphere created to encourage customers to spend more time is mostly provided by the choice of music and the quality of the reproduction. Having a dynamic, impactful, musical atmosphere makes all the difference. Very few brands can provide the concert-grade experience that L-Acoustics delivers, especially in spaces with volume and integration constraints. So, yes, we think opportunities are plentiful within this market.

Will the company be launching more products aimed at this audience over the coming months?

We are listening closely to our end users and to our partners in the field. In the past 18 months we’ve already launched products based on the input from and designed specifically for this audience. We continue to monitor the feedback to ensure we are bringing the response they need, and we have some great projects in the works.

The SB10i is available for order now, with volume shipments scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2022.