You can produce acoustics in two ways: using other people’s spare parts, then assembling your own speakers, or you can do everything yourself under one roof. Both for yourself and for others. The family business Davis Acoustics has been operating precisely according to the second principle for almost three decades. And more than successfully.
It was all started by the company’s founder, Michael Visan. Michel was once the technical manager of a large manufacturer of diffusers and home speaker systems, Siare, and quietly developed his own speakers. After working for a long time in this now defunct company, Michel got pretty tired of marking time in one place, and together with his wife they decided to create their own company. They focused on research work on cones, considering them the most important part of the speaker.
Founder of Davis Acoustics Michel Visan (1938 – 2012)
All this happened back in the eighties, in the backyard (literally, by the way) of the Visanes couple in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, in the southeastern suburbs of Paris. At that time, this small company employed only three people (including the Visan spouses), who were involved in everything at once: development, assembly, testing and shipping of finished products. The “first sign” of the newly-minted company was high-end Kevlar speakers, which differed from what was offered on the market at that time. The next development and at the same time the company’s “business card” was the 20TK8 wideband speaker, which used a Kevlar cone and a large magnet made of an alloy of titanium, cobalt, nickel and aluminum. Then the TW26K high-frequency speaker was developed, also based on Kevlar cones, but using a completely new technology: its characteristics were reminiscent in shape and materials of midrange drivers rather than tweeters. After which the first speaker system, named Kristel, was finally assembled by hand. It sold unexpectedly well and received accolades from French hi-fi magazines.
The first acoustic models released by the company in 1988
And then everything went even better, production grew by leaps and bounds. The backyard was expanded, then again, then a third time – eventually what began as a small family operation turned into a large factory. In the summer of 1998, the plant moved to the city of Troyes in northern France, and, quite naturally, there were many more workers. Everything is run today by Michel Visan’s son, Olivier Visan, to whom his father passed on his knowledge (the dream of any father) and helped him become an engineer of the company, and then lead it. And since Davis Acoustics is still a family business today, Olivier’s brother David works in this field, heading the company’s internal sales department. Three years ago, Davis Acoustics turned 25, and the company owes all its modern developments to the talent of Olivier Visan, which is also noted by the company’s major partners, speaking about the fundamentally different approaches of father and son to creating models in favor of the latter.
Olivier Visan shows the cone structure of a Davis Acoustics speaker
No one can explain better than the creators themselves what the advantages of their products are compared to their competitors. David Visan explains in an interview: “Our main goal is to reproduce the recording as accurately as possible, which is why our acoustics have a fairly smooth, linear sound. However, those who use our speakers especially love the way they reproduce vocals. All our developments are distinguished by good detail at mid frequencies, which is exactly what the listener expects from us. Accuracy in voice reproduction is achieved precisely through Kevlar diffusers. When you compare Davis Acoustics to other brands, our sound is more accurate and cleaner—it’s like we’re removing the curtain that separates the listener from the speakers. Our technology for manufacturing diffusers allows us to do without complex crossover filters, and thereby maintain maximum dynamics in the sound.” Although David further corrects himself: “We try in every possible way not to focus on other players in the market and follow our own philosophy. And our philosophy is neutral sound, good dynamics and ease of use (our acoustics do not need a super-powerful amplifier). And don’t forget about design, of course.”
The range of the company’s products is wide. There are five main lines, a separate line of integrated speakers, and plus car models, of which there are over three hundred! This is what the company’s OEM division does: it produces standard acoustics for many premium cars, also performing the full production cycle, from design development to the finished product, which is then sent straight to the car. Moreover, there are so many car speakers that the manufacturer himself apologizes on the website – they say, sorry, we can’t show you everything, we’ll only show twenty. But if there is anything, write, order, we will tell you personally where to order any of the series.
Unlike many companies, Davis Acoustics does not limit itself, producing both relatively inexpensive Hi-Fi acoustics and expensive high-end ones. The French family firm chose a middle ground, maximizing its range of products – while manufacturing almost everything in one plant, including individual speaker components. Davis Acoustics is not afraid of bold experiments (take, for example, the same Karla), but they also do not forget about more modest users. Therefore, it makes sense to take a closer look at the products of the country of the Champs-Elysees and French women: maybe you will find something of your own?