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THL Insights: FIR Audio

With Bogdan Belonozhko, CEO and Founder, FIR Audio

This is the first edition of our new THL Insights series. Join us as we chat to industry experts and insiders about what they do, how they do it, what keeps them going, and what the future holds. Keep tabs on our social media channels for news of upcoming THL Insights articles, and feel free to tell us who you’d like to see featured too!

I’d like to extend a special thanks to Vlad Belonozhko not only for making this interview happen, but also for helping facilitate the current (and future) in-depth Frontier Series product reviews you’ll find on this site. I’d also like to thanks Bogdan for his generous time and candour; we truly appreciate your continued support.


Not too many portable audio ‘startups’ can go from a seedling idea to opening up new premises in Nashville within five years, but that’s exactly what FIR Audio has done.

Founded in 2018 by the Belonozhko brothers (Bogdan and Alex), formerly of 64 Audio fame, the company has gone on to create numerous IEM designs that typically challenge convention, or at least push a few envelopes around the table.   

Today, FIR’s products take pride of place right at the top of the industry tree, its Frontier Series literally breaking new ground with technical advances that promise to change how we hear our favourite tunes today and into the future.

If, like me, your knowledge of an audio company only stretches as far as the products they make that you happen to like, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at, or what it takes to make real success happen? 

As Bogdan Belonozhko will tell you, success doesn’t happen overnight, and even when you’re successful, it takes time, patience, vision, determination, and even a willingness to fail, just to keep success alive. And so, in recognition of FIR’s five year anniversary milestone, we sat down with Bogdan to find out exactly what makes him – and his company – click.

THLYou come from a very successful and established IEM-making family in 64 Audio. What inspired you to take the risk of leaving 64 Audio and starting your own company, and what was the goal you had in mind when doing so?

BB: Yes indeed, FIR Audio was founded in 2018 by me, my brother Alex, and our friend Daniel after my exit from 64 Audio in April of that year. We wanted to continue creating the most innovative IEM products and felt that 64 Audio was not the place to do that anymore. I wanted to build a smaller core team that could move quickly in a more creative environment, and set out to do just that with the creation of FIR Audio. 

With a one year non-compete in place, we started off developing and releasing some much-needed maintenance products, like the IEM Vac and IEM Dryer, which greatly prolong the life of an IEM. Maintenance IEM products are an afterthought for most, but they’re essential to keep the IEMs we make at peak performance. 

That year away from building IEMs also gave us the opportunity to rethink the way IEMs are designed and manufactured. We addressed some major inefficiencies that needed to be eliminated and now, five years later, I feel that we’ve made big progress in that direction. 

THL: There must have been some real highs and lows over the journey so far. Can you tell us a bit about the highs, maybe some pleasant surprises and eye-openers along the way, but also share some of the lows that you had to overcome to get where you are today?

BB: One of the most significant ‘highs’ on the FIR Audio journey was when one of the most revered musicians and artists did a blind sound test and chose our Xenon 6 over the former brand he used. It was a moment of validation and a testament to our dedication and hard work, when we set out to make the world’s most advanced custom in-ear monitors. 

This moment made all the of the ‘lows’ worth it. It validated that it was worth fighting the uphill battles and pushing past the headwind to make our dreams a reality. Today, FIR Audio custom IEMs are on some of the world’s biggest tours, like Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen and many more, all of whom have entrusted us to deliver all their in-ear monitoring needs.

THL: What’s with Firry the bunny? 🙂

BB: When we first started FIR Audio, we remembered how we once fell in love with dreaming of ideas and being able to work on them freely without all the red tape. While developing, some discoveries took very unexpected turns and led us through many loops. It felt like every new discovery was a journey ‘down the rabbit hole’. 

This is where the idea of bunny rabbit came along. We first worked with our partners in Asia and later developed the Firry character, an adventurous and sometimes mischievous bunny. But we’d like believe that Firry has now grown up and out of that early inquisitive phase!

THL: Frontier Series. You introduced some serious new tech for this series. Talk us through the process of researching and developing the technology, what drove you to come up with some of the new designs (like Kinetic Bass), and how difficult was it to create the drivers that you needed to make it all work? 

BB: The creative process for the Frontier Series began around April of 2021. Coming off the launch of the 5×5 (VxV) and with the pandemic in full swing, we went back to the drawing board. 

The catalyst was [Alex and my] desire to build on the Tactile Bass technology that we developed for the M-Series. We wanted to take things to the next level. For those that aren’t aware, Tactile Bass technology is a dynamic low frequency driver attached to the IEM shell, which uses the entire shell as a transducer to create a more realistic bass feel. 

Alex had the idea of cutting a hole in the shell to let the dynamic driver radiate low frequencies directly in the cartilage of the ear. I thought that wasn’t a bad idea at all, so looked into where we could position it best, eventually deciding that the bowl of the ear would be ideal. 

We immediately named it “bowl bass”, but after laughing at the name for 20 straight minutes, we realised that we’d actually stumbled upon something very special. 

The moral of the story is that the secret ingredients to success are thinking outside the box and being daring enough to take the risk to make them a reality. Between my brother Alex and I, I think we possess a good mixture of these.

THL: Frontier breaks new ground with some design and tuning choices that were and still are unique on the market. Who came up with the different tuning profiles, and generally speaking what’s your process for tuning these IEMs? 

BB: Alex and I wanted to create tuning profiles that have a little bit of something for everyone. There are actually very few people that we allow into the development phase of design. We include a couple of monitor engineers out of Nashville, and a couple of trusted audiophiles in the final stages of development. 

Our core approach to this is that we first want to make something we ourselves enjoy listening to, with the understanding that you can’t always make everyone happy. That is why we also believe in different flavours of turning, so that our listeners can hopefully find something that they really like.

Continue to Radon 6…



Picture of Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.


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