Welcome to Linus’ new interview series on Headfonia.com! Every two weeks we will publish an interview with an insider of the audio industry. They will give us a little insight on how they started and what they are up to. We are thrilled to be able to share a little something with all of you.
We’re thrilled to have Oliver Marino, IEM designer and consultant for many brands, as chatting partner!
HFN: Please give us an introduction about yourself
OM: My Name is Oliver Marino, I am from Italy, I’ve been working in the pro audio market mainly as a monitor engineer for almost 30 years and as IEM designer since 2005.
HFN: What was it that got you into audio?
OM: Since when I was a little boy I have been always captivate by electronics, my first AC main short circuit was at the age of 6..ahahah. I’ve always been fascinated by technology and sound so I started to be attracted by sound reproduction devices like cassette players, record players (yes I have a quite few years) and sound devices in general, so it was a natural consequence to become a sound engineer when I grew up.
HFN: You have been making custom IEMs under your own brand, LiveZoneR41, how was that?
OM: Back in 1994 I was working with one of the first Italian artists that needed to use IEMs, so I came across to this technology. At that time the first IEM attempts were being born, very simple devices, not like the ones we use nowadays, but quite expensive. So I had the opportunity to make a huge experience. Mixing with was IEMs not so efficient, not to mention the radio wireless systems that were quite noisy and very compressed. I still remember the first wireless system, the Garwood Radio Station, a dual channels UHF system. At that time we had some generic fit moulds, made of some kind of medium-hard resin, where you could squeeze a simple earbud in. There was already something more professional available from the States, but it was expensive and difficult to buy. The shows business became more and more complex, and both myself and the musicians I worked with, were not happy with the few solutions offered by the market. In 2005 I met an audiologist, that was also a musician, we decided to start our own IEM company with the intent of creating IEMs that could satisfy the pro audio market in terms of performance and great sound. At that time the IEM market was still quite small and dominated mainly by a few US companies, so in a very short time we became the leading company in Italy.
HFN: Why did you leave LiveZoner41?
OM: Everything has an end. Things were changed and it was time for me to leave and start something new, I wanted to focus mainly on designing IEMs, dealing with the customers wasn’t my job
HFN: What exactly is it that draws you into designing IEMs? What do you like so much about fiddling with BAs?
OM: When I was at the company it was a natural process for me, due to my background, to design all the products. Honestly, at that time I didn’t know much about BA drivers and all the acoustics related to them, but I am the kind of person that likes to understand things in depth, so I started to dig the web looking for all kind of information, and what was available was mainly related to hearing aids. Everything was so new and fascinating for me, and I started to be, and still am, “thirsty” for knowledge. You cannot find any book about IEMs (no one want to share their own “secrets”). I like when I can learn something new about acoustics. This micro world is very interesting, you never stop learning.
Learn more on who Oliver worked with on Page Two!