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‘Left and right configuration has always been a mistake’: L-Acoustics founder Christian Heil talks the future of live sound

The pro audio pioneer has spoken exclusively to PSNEurope about his life in audio in a new, in-depth interview

L-Acoustics founder and line array visionary, Christian Heil, has spoken to PSNEurope about the future of immersive sound and the company’s L-ISA technology, stating his belief that “left and right configuration has always been a mistake”.

Heil, winner of the Outstanding Contribution award at the 2018 Pro Sound Awards, broached the subject in an exclusive interview with PSNEurope after the firm’s L-ISA technology was incorporated by indie rock three-piece alt-J on their recent tour, culminating in two nights at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I believe that using left and right configuration is a mistake and has always been a mistake,” he said. “Since the beginning of L-Acoustics and my experience in sound, I wondered why people were using pseudo stereo systems for concerts. I did not understand the concept, I just admitted that it was practical. It was practical to put the sound on the side and leave the centre to the stage, to the performers and the visuals. But it is what it is in every single concert today, and the problem is that during these 30 years, visuals and stages have become more [central] and sound has been pushed to the sides, which disconnects the audience from what is really happening on stage.

“The concept of L-ISA and other alternative technologies is to bring the speakers back to the centre, where they should always have been, and if you have the option to use these speakers across the stage that means you can bring signals to these arrays that will replicate what is going on onstage, so you are opening a new world of creativity to the engineers, the artists, to production, but the first thing is to accept this concept of having speakers across the stage. That will be the most challenging thing for the next generation.”

You can read our exclusive interview with Heil here and in the latest issue of PSNEurope.