Visit to Aurea, Madrid. Part 1
It was a beautiful sunny September afternoon in Madrid when we landed at the airport to be met by Aurea’s sales & marketing director and the CEO.
40 minutes later and we’re in Arganda del Rey, a city approximately 30km southeast of downtown Madrid, stepping over the threshold and into the world of Aurea and its parent company, LW Speakers, both part of the MCA Group of companies.
Founder of the business, Luis Wassmann was there to greet us and conduct the guided tour of the company’s production facility, in which every LW and Aurea speaker is produced. So, whether bound for the local Odeon or your client’s cinema at home, the speakers have come out of this building – there’s no outsourcing to far east suppliers going on here! So much so, that Luis explained that every component that goes into the products is sourced from Europe. The cabinets are made in a local factory, the drive units come from Scandinavia and Italy, capacitors and other components from Germany and even the inductor coils for the crossovers are wound just down the road. The advantages in terms of supply are obvious – no waiting on shipments from thousands of miles away for either finished products or components – an issue that has and continues to plague the electronics manufacturing industry.
All the R&D work and cabinet prototyping is done in house and they used to make all the cabinets here. But such is the demand that this has had to be outsourced so the space could be given over to storage of raw materials and finished stock. The cabinets are still painted in house, by a craftsman who applies the very durable finish that Luis demonstrated by hitting with a hammer – and not a mark was left on the cabinet!
We were also treated to a delve into the history of the company, which was founded over 40 years ago as a manufacturer of 35mm film projectors. In the foyer stands a beautiful example of a projector from the golden era of film – sadly (or maybe it’s just progress) this part of the company’s heritage was confined to history when digital projectors and now digital streaming of movie content took over in commercial cinemas. Still, it was great to see where the company’s origins lay, and it underpins the message that this is a ‘real’ cinema company. Aurea speakers are no different, apart from their physical size, from the LW Speakers that you will have heard in the Odeon Leicester Square or BFI Imax for example.
One element of the company’s activities, headed up by CEO Carmen Pereira, is the supply and installation of commercial cinema equipment. It was really interesting to see the size of a proper cinema projector – with its own built-in aircon unit! And while the scale of such an installation is bigger than the average residential install, there are many similarities, especially on the audio side. LW Speakers produce a DSP box that enables them to set up the commercial cinema to the industry standard Dolby response curve – the very same DSP box is also available for residential installs using the Aurea speakers. Luis then showed us the rack of LW badged amplifiers they use for their cinema demonstration room (more of that later) and the identical, but Aurea badged, amps that they can supply to be used with the residential speakers.
By now we really were understanding the difference between Aurea and other home cinema speaker manufacturers. Actually, that’s doing them a disservice – they’re not a home cinema speaker manufacturer, they are a cinema speaker manufacturer. It doesn’t matter whether the products are for the cinema or the home – they’re designed the same, made by the same people, they use the same components and, most importantly, they sound exactly the same.