Do you hear that? That's the sound of France's Audio Revolution.

Do you hear that? That's the sound of France's Audio Revolution.

If you listen very closely – that is, if you’ve got your ear to the pulse of France’s growing audio tech ecosystem – you might just hear it. French companies are bending all the rules when it comes to audio, in hardware and in software.

Prizm – Make your Speakers Smarter

Launched at our October Paris Founders Event, Prizm’s attachment for speakers leverages the consumers desire to have the write music playing no matter the mood. It connects your speakers to your favorite music-streaming service, and, via your wi-fi network, pushes recommendations directly to your ears. The best part about Prizm is that it isn’t limited to one person’s tastes – it detects, via bluetooth, who’s in the room at the time, and will find the right music for everyone. Here’s something that no music streaming service has been able to get right: sometimes I don’t listen to music alone.

Phonotonic – I don’t know how to play the drums, but I can shake it like nobody’s business

Phonotonic was a favorite at the Rude Baguette team – when Nicolas showed us how they lined up movements to musical instruments, and how, by throwing their polygon ball up in the air, I could do a drum fill, I was hooked. We had them for our April Paris Founders Event, and, while their initial crowdfunding campaign wasn’t a success, the company was a hit at CES this year, and I could barely get a minute with founder Nicolas Rasamimanana

Devialet – Luxury listening experiences that audiophiles can afford

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One of the bigger hardware announcements for France at CES was Devailet’s new Phantom. Praised for standing up with Bang & Olefsen in terms of design, while vastly out-performing them under the hood, this $2000 product isn’t going to be the go-to speaker for everyone, but if you’re looking for an uncompromising listening experience, then enjoy the result of 7 years of audio R&D and a $15,000 speaker system at a fraction of the price.

NEOH – Because Why should I need 7 speakers to get surround-sound quality?

Keep your eyes out for 3D Sound Labs’ Kickstarter project, which should be available soon. I ran into these guys at CES and got to demo out what they call “3D Sound.” Essentially, the question is “Why should I need 9 speakers to get the experience of sound coming from all around me?” Even better is the fact that, with surround sound, you’re immobile. So 3D Sound Labs is using some amazing audio processing to provide a surround-sound experience in your headphones, meaning that if you’re watching a film on your ipad and you change location, the sound changes based on your relationship to the iPad.
It’s definitely something you need to hear to believe.