We Ask 10 Questions For High-End
Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various
high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may
surprise you! This month we're featuring Jean Marie Clauzel, Owner and Chief Designer of Métronome Technologie.
Founded in 1987 and developed by a group of passionate music enthusiasts, Métronome is one of the highest audiophile brands. Along the years, the handcrafter company built loudspeakers, amplifiers, and the reputed CD players which made the world class reputation of the
brand. For several years, Métronome strengthens its position on high-resolution music, proposing integrated DAC and CD players as well as converters adapted to the latest formats. It's our constant commitment to be close to your needs and your audiophile
practices. Métronome designs and handcrafts all their production, in order to provide you perfectly built devices with the fantastic "Métronome sound". Every device is
controlled by the company's engineers so that its performance is always the best.
Q. What is your first memory of falling in love with music?
A. As far in the past I can remember, I've always been passionate by music. In my prime childhood, my parents couldn't afford high-end stuff, but they offered me a Radiola turntable (French old brand) which I've been using until I could buy my first "hi-fi" set at the age of 14.... Listening to music has always been my number one hobby!
Q. How did you first get introduced to high-fidelity audio gear?
A. One of my grand uncles was a hi-fi passionate in the 1960s, having a specific listening room, and I can remember being seven or eight years old and playing vinyl LPs in this auditorium on an automatic turntable... that was magic for me! But I really discovered high-fidelity when a friend of mine bought his first hi-fi system at the end of the seventies, with separate elements. I could not wait to have mine, which was completed a few years later. That was a big change for sure!
Q. What is your favorite piece of vintage hi-fi, and why?
A. Definitely the Jadis JA80! There are few legendary devices, but this is one of them! I'm not that much into tubes, but I like the power (without words) and the deepness that this machine gives off. It's not that old, since it was created in the early 1980s, and it is still manufactured, but for me it can compare with products of much greater reputation!
Q. When did you decide to start a high-end audio company?
A. My professional career was not in audio until the year 2013, when I began to discuss with Métronome founder about the takeover of his company. I immediately fell in love with the products and saw the global potential of this handcrafting company. But then it was still a very small enterprise, with no adapted premises, and very few activities. The only assets were the brand and its awareness amongst the connoisseur audiophiles. So this takeover was almost like starting a new company!
Q. What, and when, was your company's first product?
A. The very first product manufactured with the brand name of Métronome was a loudspeaker: the MT1. At the end of the 1980s, a few hundreds of this tiny bookshelf speaker were manufactured and sold mostly in France. Then came CD players and the story really begun...
Q. What challenges did you face during those early years?
A. I can't make a testimonial on the early years, but I can tell that from 2014 challenges were so many... the most important was to completely renew a range of products which had not really changed for years and years. The second one was to move the company from a pure CD player manufacturer to a specialist of digital sources, in order to comply with the new needs of the market, especially those linked to streaming.
Q. How have your products evolved over the years?
A. When I took the company, CD players and DACs were the only products to be manufactured by Métronome. The Kalista model was the flagship of the brand, and I decided to transform this name in a specific brand. Regarding the products themselves both Kalista and Métronome devices needed to be modernized, redesigned, and overall we needed to introduce new functionalities, like DSD reading, and streaming. It took us five years to completely renew all the ranges like you can see them now, with the guideline to keep and improve the famous "Métronome sound", considered the most analog on the digital sources offer.
Q. What is your company's most popular product(s)?
A. The Kalista DreamPlay is by far the most renowned of our products ever, existing since almost 20 years, and famous by its design and extraordinary sound performance. In terms of units sold, the CD8 and its last version CD8S has been the most produced, and when we replaced it by AQWO I was surprised that the number of units remained the same.
Q. What is your next planned product offering and its' features?
A. We're constantly innovating at Métronome. In May 2020, we launched a new CD transport in our Classica range, Le Player 3, and we're immediately working on the evolution of our streaming DAC, the DSC1. The future DSC will also be a DSD converter, with improved streaming capacities, and including a real novelty... but this is a secret by now. We also began to develop the future DreamPlay X in the Kalista range... and there will be a shock. But you have to wait till 2021....
Q. What advancements do you speculate high-end audio will offer ten years from now?
A. I have no crystal bowl, but the path on which the music industry is engaged with steaming will continue this way, quality will keep improving, but I feel that vinyl and CD will survive. I also feel that the users will like more and more simpler stuff, all-in-ones, wireless... so we must continue to innovate!