WL mag: What made you decide to start Alclair and how long have you been in business? Alclair is an evolution of three generations of family business. My grandfather, father, brother and I have all worked in the custom hearing device industry. Alclair grew out of that legacy and my own drive to invent.
WL mag: How is the Alclair IEM different from other IEMs?
All manufacturers use the same basic components; the distinction between us is how we use them. Our history gives us an understanding of custom molding acrylics and management of sound delivery that helps us create distinctive products. My background is in polymer chemistry, we make the stuff they shoot in your ear when you get impressions, so when you place an order, if you don’t have an audiologist already, we will help you find someone in our network to make your impressions, or if we don’t know someone, we’ll find someone in your area and even call them and talk to get the best impressions possible.
WL mag: It looks like you have a great lineup of IEMs right now, do you have any plans for any new products? We have high end offerings and universals in the works. One of our main goals is to make a great sounding universal IEM, especially for churches who have rotating band members to use on a regular basis on Sunday morning. We also want our universals to be repairable so our customers can send them to us for repairs if needed.
WL Mag: When you are working on a new product, what are the key things you have in mind? For us a key theme in our design is reliability. IEMs are of no value to our artists if they aren’t ready to work. Also, we design iem’s for different tastes and needs. Some are designed to cut through the stage like a horn-loaded wedge, others have more bottom end, and some very flat like a reference monitor. Since the beginning, I have focused on what artists want/need not my idea of what it should be. Our first model, the dual driver has balanced lows and clear highs, making it perfect for vocalists, but when I showed them to a drummer friend, he said, “I like it, but I’d love a little more low end to feel the kick and groove”. That’s how the dual XB came about, I designed them for musicians who want a little more bass. That’s how I approached making IEM, I want to help musicians hear what they want and need.
WL mag: What is a driver and how does it affect the sound of an IEM? Drivers are also known as balanced armatures. They are micro speakers designed originally for the hearing instrument market. The choice and combination of drivers is a function of the design objective, sound signature/quality and the price point.
WL mag: A lot of people say that the seal of a custom IEM is the biggest difference in sound quality when changing from generic earphones, what do you think the biggest difference is? Seal is critical to experience the best performance from custom monitors. A poor fit can totally take out the low end. Another huge benefit of customs many people often don’t consider is the hearing protection. A proper seal with custom IEMs provides ambient sound reduction in the range of 25 – 30db. That’s a huge benefit in preserving the hearing of our artists. Comfort, and consistency would also be factors in changing to customs. We have a great staff who make high quality shells so they fit correctly in your ear. Everyone seems to focus on sound quality and drivers, but a big factor is the fit, if they don’t fit comfortably or keep falling out of your ears, then the balance of the sound is thrown off.
WL Mag: How do you feel your products fit into a church/worship setting? I see it as the body of Christ at work. God gave me the gifts of invention and creation. For me, creating these designs and producing the finished product are an act of worship. Providing great service to our artists is an act of ministry. And, when we gather corporately to worship our Father, let nothing impede our best for him. I believe our efforts help artists offer praise worthy of our Creator.
WL Mag: What would you like your customers to know/remember about your products? Our products do what our customers need them to do. The reason artists choose and come back to Alclair is the service and care they receive from us.
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