- Metronome Technologie is considered a true digital specialist and also an expert in outstanding high-end hi-fi solutions under the Kalista brand.
The alarm clock rang much too early, but Franz J. Votruba, Sales Director of Metronome Technologie, was already waiting in the car in front of the house to start the journey together to Vienna Schwechat Airport. A trip to the South of France was on the agenda, to the headquarters of the French high-end hi-fi company Metronome Technologie and thus a flight from Vienna to Toulouse, which Kurt Wögerer, Managing Director of Audio Exclusive GmbH and thus the Austrian distributor of the French company, also took with us. The first rays of sunlight first flashed on the horizon when our rental car left the parking garage of Toulouse airport to start the last part of our journey to Montans, a small community near Albi.
Montans, the home of Metronome Technologie and Kalista
Admittedly, the company building looks a little unimpressive at first when we arrive, located in an industrial area right next to the motorway, but that is probably due to our high expectations, after all, the modern building not only houses the headquarters of Metronome Technologie, but also the products of the Kalista brand are made here.
We receive a friendly welcome with coffee and cake and not even a minute after our arrival, we are amazed at what and how French high-end hi-fi is developed and manufactured here.
Metronome Technologie – A company with a long history
To begin with, it should be mentioned that the history of Metronome Technologie basically began many, many years ago, in 1987. However, as we learn in conversation, it was a very manageable company whose focus was set solely on the French market. The ambitions to change this were not all that great in the early years, as they candidly admit. The company’s strategy in those years was characterised above all by the fact that they worked with enormous passion on outstanding products, that is, they focused specifically on development, but unfortunately lost sight of the equally important economic success.
In retrospect, one likes to speak of almost fanatical audiophiles who designed high-end hi-fi systems with the claim of offering absolute perfection. Over the years, the company developed amplifier systems, CD players and loudspeaker systems, thus initially covering a wide spectrum, especially with the company’s second brand – Kalista – initiated at the beginning of the 2000s. The first product was to be launched under this brand name in 2003.
Metronome Technologie and Kalista, initially an insider tip in audiophile circles
Over the years, Metronome Technologie gradually succeeded in acquiring the status of an insider’s tip in audiophile circles, but the company’s development really took off when Jean Marie Clauzel, together with a partner, took over Metronome Technologie and began to form the company that today presents itself as a globally active high-end hi-fi forge with an outstanding reputation.
A new headquarters, state-of-the-art development and manufacturing
The main reason why Metronome Technologie was able to gradually take a new and economically much more successful course was clearly due to the fact that, with Jean Marie Clauzel, a man took over the management who recognised the potential of the company, knew how to correctly assess its strengths but also its weaknesses, and enthusiastically set about implementing his specific ideas step by step. As a successful businessman with years of experience in the industry, Jean Marie Clauzel naturally brought the appropriate tools with him, although Clauzel would not describe himself as a classic audiophile, but rather as a pragmatically inclined technician.
The fact is that he was exactly the right man who recognised the strengths, the capital of the company based on the commitment and expertise, indeed the passion of its developers, and knew how to steer all of this in the right direction…
Of course, this also included the construction of the new company headquarters, where the optimal foundations for innovative development, modern production and, last but not least, an efficient administration for the expanding sales activities were created. Franz J. Votruba also played a significant role in this increasingly successful international sales activity. With his many years of worldwide contacts in the hi-fi and especially high-end hi-fi scene, he is the ideal person to be Metronome Technologie’s Sales Director.
Within a very short time, Jean Marie Clauzel and his team succeeded in giving Metronome Technologie and Kalista a new structure, setting new focal points in the orientation of the brands, and carrying out a well needed streamlining of the product range. Concentrating on what they can really do perfectly, as Jean Marie Clauzel emphasised several times in the interview, so that today both brands present themselves as independent and optimally positioned.
Metronome Technologie – The Specialist for Digital Sources
One thing is clear when looking at the product portfolio of the Metronome Technologie brand, and that is that it is a proven specialist in the field of digital sources. The spectrum here ranges from CD players, SACD players, D/A converters to streaming clients, so it really does cover all needs in this area, and at the very highest technical level.
Particularly exciting is the fact that Metronome Technologie offers three product families: the Metronome Classica Series, which currently includes the Metronome Le Player 4 CD Transport and Resampler, Metronome Le Player 4+ Hybrid D/A Converter and CD Player, as well as the Metronome Le DAC 2 Digital Analogic Converter, which represents the entry into the world of the French high-end hi-fi manufacturer.
Above this is the Metronome AQWO Series, which currently presents itself in the form of the Metronome AQWO DAC + SACD Player, Metronome t|AQWO SACD Transport and Metronome c|AQWO Digital to Analogue Converter.
Metronome Digital Sharing is the third product line, which includes everything related to streaming. Currently, the Metronome DSC Digital Converter, Streamer and Preamp, and the Metronome DSS 2 Network Player and Streamer are presented.
Metronome Technologie – Technical Perfection
All Metronome Technologie solutions are characterised by absolute technical perfection. It is an immensely impressive effort that the developers put into this, one can even speak of a real battle of materials, but in such a way that one can clearly prove for really every detail that this is ultimately decisive for the sound and therefore indispensable. A lot of effort, yes, but everything has to fulfil a function.
Every converter, SACD player or SACD transport, every streaming client of the Metronome Technologie brand is therefore packed with the finest electronics, whereby it is first and foremost an impeccable, elaborately designed power supply for all relevant components to which the developers attach particular importance and thus devote attention.
We find it particularly remarkable that the solutions of this brand follow a rather sober approach when it comes to design. The solutions of this brand are all characterised by timeless, simple elegance; no dazzling is used here.
Kalista – Ultimate performance and outstanding design
The Kalista brand, on the other hand, is completely different. The high-end hi-fi manufacturer Metronome Technologie considers it to be the optimum of what can be achieved in the field of high-end hi-fi. Here, the focus is deliberately on an outstanding, sometimes daring, even extravagant design, although the basis here is also outstanding technology and everything is also subordinated to the goal of achieving nothing less than perfection.
Metronome Technologie itself speaks of Kalista as the “Perfect audiophile Brand”, of products that combine the best technologies, the best components and materials.
Under the Kalista brand, it is one product line in particular that is currently in focus, namely the Kalista DreamPlay Collection, which features an outstanding audio CD player in the form of the Kalista DreamPlay ONE, a streaming client in the form of the Kalista DreamPlay STREAM, and, amazingly, a record player in the form of the Kalista DreamPlay Twenty-Twenty. So the proven digital specialist also has an analog source? From view of Metronome Technologie this is no contradiction, particularly if it concerns the mark Kalista. because here it belongs almost compellingly, in order to be able to fulfill the requirements of the customers also in this range in the best possible way.
The latest addition, the Kalista DreamPlay X, a 4-in-1 system as the manufacturer calls it, is a revolutionary product. The new Kalista DreamPlay X is an SACD player, but also a streamer, and if desired it can also be equipped with a D/A converter and then even be used as a digital preamplifier.
It’s fair to say that it’s clear from the above that Metronome Technologie is not a manufacturer where dozens of pallets leave the factory floor every day. It is rather a small but all the finer manufacture, where, as already described several times, everything is designed for perfection.
The bottom line is that no more than a handful of highly qualified employees carry out the final assembly of Metronome Technologie and Kalista solutions at the Montans site, while the production of housing components, for example, is carried out by partners in the region, and components such as circuit boards are, of course, also provided by appropriately specialized suppliers.
All components are subjected to various tests several times during production, and no system leaves the site without undergoing a detailed final test.
What one understands with Metronome Technologie by absolute perfection, of it one can convince oneself naturally also in a hearing room, which hides itself almost inconspicuously between the different office areas and the actual manufacturing, however with the very finest from the current product range as well as so some outstanding solution from the history of the two High-end HiFi marks up-appears. The grand finale of our visit was an extensive listening session with, among other things, a speaker system that is second to none, the Kalista EA.
Getting to the point
It is always very interesting to be able to take a look behind the scenes, to have a close look at the people who develop and manufacture high-end hi-fi, to find out first-hand what drives them, how they think they can realize their ideas and concepts in the best possible way. Particularly exciting for us in this regard was the visit to Metronome Technologie in the south of France, because here a comparatively small team under the leadership of Jean Marie Clauzel develops and manufactures outstanding solutions, where they want to be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection and make no compromises.
|THEME||Visiting Metronome Technology and Kalista|
|Distribution Austria||Audio Exclusive GmbH|
|Distribution Germany||H.E.A.R. GmbH|
|Distribution Switzerland||Portier Hi-Fi|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|