SCN: How long have you been with this company, and what are your responsibilities?
Luca Lastrucci: Powersoft was jointly founded in March 1995 by myself, my brother Claudio Lastrucci (R&D director), and our good friend, Antonio Peruch (production engineering director). Even after 27 years, we are all still deeply involved in the operational side of the business on a day-to-day basis.
[Executive Q&A: All the World's a Stage] (opens in new tab)
We all have different functions and responsibilities, but we share the same objective: to innovate through products that are design-driven. This requires being present, guiding and stimulating our employees through our corporate mission statement, which is constantly present and which our president (my father, Carlo) regularly renews. This is one of the key points of Powersoft's success, which has kept in mind this mission of innovation combined with extreme quality.
SCN: What makes a great amplifier?
LL: Power is important, but signal processing (opens in new tab) is equally important. Both our tour amp platforms and those installed are equipped with a powerful digital signal processor (DSP). No less important is the reliability of the product. During the design phase, the utmost attention is given to guarantee performance and continuity of operation. Before a product is approved, it undergoes all kinds of tests, stresses, and certifications. These amps are rigorously tested in our burn-in room where they are driven with custom programs for hours, even days at times, to ensure maximum durability and reliability.
During the mass production phase, as the last step before packing and shipping, each product is tested.
And of course, energy efficiency is key: Our amplifiers deliver the industry’s best power-to-size ratio. Fewer amplifiers (with smaller size) are required to run the same PA system, which directly impacts CO2 emissions.
SCN: What was the inspiration behind your Mover product, and what are some of the more interesting applications in use today?
LL: It all started with M-Force, our patented transducer based on a moving magnet, linear motor structure. This product really redefined what was possible in the realm of infra-bass, reaching well below the conventional frequency range.
[Explore Faraway Lands…in Atlanta] (opens in new tab)
Back in 2018, we were approached by the Lava Center in Iceland, which was about to open an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition about volcanic activity and earthquakes. They wanted to simulate the sonic realism of an earthquake for visitors, so they turned to us to create a 1.5-meter platform that was able to realistically replicate earthquakes up to magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale with the M-Force. It was the first time our M-Force technology had been used for mechanical movement. The development of this system led the way to the creation of the Mover product line.
Mover uses a moving magnet linear motor to create low-frequency vibration, but it is extremely compact and therefore more versatile when it comes to its applications. This effectively adds another dimension to sound, one that can be felt through haptic perception—the human ability to experience and interpret our surrounding environment based on touch and feel.
Mover can be used underneath nightclub flooring to enhance the bassline of music being played, onto the back of cinema chairs for a 4D cinematic experience, or within immersive exhibitions such as the Illuminarium in Las Vegas and Atlanta. All these venues benefit from Mover’s low-end frequencies paired with the surrounding content, so the visitors can literally feel the action.
SCN: Many companies keep quiet about their OEM efforts, but not Powersoft. Why are you so open about your component production for other manufacturers?
LL: As innovators of technology, we want the tech we create to be used and pushed to the limit by as many people as possible. So, we produce and sell a wide range of amp modules. For example, we have engineered a set of designs that harness the power of our M-Force in different ways (known as EDM Sub, DV Sub, M Sub, and CINESUB). Each design offers unique optimizations that are aimed at speaker builders, sound system owners, and install pros that are looking to extend the low-end capabilities of their systems. This opens up a whole new avenue of innovation for other individuals or companies to develop their own products. In fact, 80% of top loudspeaker brands are currently using Powersoft-manufactured components in their boxes.
SCN: Why is Powersoft so committed to R&D?
LL: Research and development are the driving force of every product. It is part of our DNA to push the boundaries and involve people doing that. We have been investing between 8-10% of turnover each year in R&D, and around 30% of our workforce is based in that department.
[Why a Bakery Chose Powersoft to Set the Musical Mood] (opens in new tab)
In the pursuit of innovation, seven years ago we launched "Ideofarm," an internal incubator that allows engineers, designers, and potential new employees to develop new and disruptive ideas. It literally is a farm of ideas with the aim of dedicating a space for the younger generation to focus and revitalize the research and (possible) development of innovative technologies. One benefit of Ideofarm is that it gives Powersoft the ability to think of new products to sell; in fact, Mover came from Ideofarm.
As a team, we have collectively created some of the most forward-thinking audio solutions over the last two decades. We pride ourselves on R&D being at the very core of these achievements.
SCN: How have supply chain issues impacted Powersoft product development?
LL: During the COVID-19 period, Powersoft continued to develop, plan, and invest in purchasing and production. Without proper planning, we would have found ourselves in an unsustainable situation due to the supply chain problems (opens in new tab) we are still facing. Thanks also to the ability to react quickly to the unavailability of components on the market, sometimes redesigning the product, it has allowed us to manage this situation and grow significantly this year as well.
Maintaining production in Italy was the other important strategic choice made some years ago, which proved successful especially in this period and allowed us to react quickly thanks to the close relationships with our strategic suppliers. This also gives us great flexibility in planning products on the production line to better respond to our customers' requests.