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Fifty years young

As the Montarbo® made in Italy brand turns 50 years old, its manufacturer, Elettronica Montarbo, is celebrating by creating a radically new and youthful future

 In Italy, on the outskirts of the historic city of Bologna, one of Italy’s most famous audio brands has just begun to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with a change so dramatic that it will never be the same again. Even the factory in which the company is based, proudly building loudspeakers, amplifiers, mixers and more for export across the world, is set to change, as the logo that adorns the side of the building – famous since its creation in the early 1960s – is replaced to reflect the company’s new direction.

For Elettronica Montarbo, reaching the milestone age of 50 is a point of pride, but it is the years to come that matter most.

 ‘This is a young company – the purchasing manager, the manufacturing manager, the sales manager, everybody is around 40 years old, maximum,’ declares CEO Lorenzo Aramini – the first person to lead the company whose surname isn’t Montanari. ‘We have a lot of energy in all of our discussions and meetings,’ he adds enthusiastically. ‘You feel that something is moving.’

 At the root of the plan is a recognition that Elettronica Montarbo must become more competitive. The current state of the euro combined with the company’s admirable determination to continue production in Italy has significantly pushed up the cost of its manufacturing, leading to higher prices in the marketplace.

 ‘Innovation used to be the major point of Montarbo®. In the 1960s Mr Montanari put some amplification inside a speaker and that was the very first time it had been done, then he put magnetic reverb into a mixer for the first time. We want to have Montarbo® back in that position. We understand that you cannot only offer mass products. You need to create something that might be expensive but offers a new idea to the market. You have to be pioneers.’

 In that vein, a great deal of R&D investment is currently being put forward for a new, bigger generation of PalcoPLUS line array. ‘We are thinking about the evolution of PalcoPLUS, particularly the amplification and increasing the size of the arrays,’ continues Mr Aramini, who also hints that a groundbreaking mixing technology is set to arrive in the near future.

 Even the building itself will soon demonstrate just how different the new Montarbo® is, as the company’s old logo – its calling card for 50 years – is scrubbed from the side of the offices and replaced by not one brand, but several. The 50-year legacy of the Montanari family remains intact, but the company it founded is moving rapidly towards a new future.