Meet the Maker
Italian Made Unison Research & Opera Loudspeakers
The consumer audio industry around the world is driven by remarkably passionate and sometimes eccentric individuals. For many of these individuals, audio is not just their business, it is a lifelong hobby. Welcome to NOVO magazine’s “Meet the Maker” series of stories that connect us with some of these individuals as we ask what makes them tick as music lovers and learn about insights about their contributions to the audio business. In this issue, we speak with Gianni Maria Sacchetti, the Founder of Unison Research.
Douglas Brown (DB): What made you a music lover and what motivated you to start manufacturing audio equipment as a business?
Gianni Maria Sacchetti (GMS): Music is an art that involves all people, but not all people appreciate and pursue this art with the same levels of intensity. Education, culture, sensitivity, and many other factors determine this intensity. I had a parent who was both a concert pianist and a composer. This helped create a profoundly deep passion for music within me. A musician does not limit himself or herself to having only executive or technical skills. Creating hi-end audio equipment that faithfully reproduces music and that expresses my way of feeling and appreciating music was the main reason for creating a company of “musical reproduction instruments”.
DB: How important do you think it is for an audio company to be founded by musicians and/or people who love music?
(GMS): Companies that produce hi-end audiophile devices are different from other companies. Audiophiles seek to reproduce live musical events as accurately as possible through recorded mediums. Accurately recreating any live musical event — not only in terms of the timbre of musical instruments, but also in a realistic orchestral stage reconstruction — is what we’re striving to achieve.
In order to reach this level of sonic accuracy, audio companies need to have an advanced engineering knowledge, as well as a passionate musical knowledge and sensitivity that musicians and music lovers innately understand.
A hi-end audio company founded and run by people who are musicians will undoubtedly be better at achieving a natural, organic, and believable sound.
DB: Do Unison and Opera share design work, manufacturing processes, and/or engineering knowledge?
(GMS): Opera and Unison are located within the same building and our CEO is the same; Mr Giovanni Nasta. Our brands have many distributors worldwide and a number of our employees are actively involved with both companies. Opera and Unison have a strong and close collaboration. Even during the design process, we share a lot of information and engineering knowledge.
DB: In terms of sales volume and audiophile recognition, what are your most successful products to date?
(GMS): Differences exist between our brands, because the life cycles of the two product categories — loudspeakers and components — are completely different. Opera re-designs its speakers every 5-7 years. For Unison’s products, the life cycle is much longer. Some of Unison’s products have been in production for more than 10 years and are still selling very well. The most successful product in Unison’s history was our Simply Two amplifier. During its life cycle, we sold more than 30,000 units. Regarding current gear, our most successful tube products are the Simply Italy, the Triode 25, and the Sinfonia. From our Unico line, the Unico Primo, Unico Secondo, and our Unico CD Primo are our top selling pieces.
DB: Opera and Unison both manufacture gear for hi-end audiophile consumers, for mid-fi customers, and also for the entry-level market. Is there a “trickledown” effect of higher-end technologies filtering down to your mid-fi and entrylevel products?
(GMS): From our top range to our entry-level gear, all of our customers will experience the soul of Unison’s products. We feel it’s very important to maintain a level of consistency throughout the entire product line. When we consider creating something new, we always think of producing a line of products which offer people better choices and superior quality within every price range. We usually start from the top of the line and then engineer downward. With the Unison Triode 25, however, we don’t have a product on top or below with the same features. The Triode 25 was designed from the ground up. It has, in fact, been one of our most successful products to date.
DB: Are there any special materials or patented engineering processes which Opera and Unison use that you’d like audiophiles to know about?
has resulted in Opera and Unison producing products with very high quality standards. We are constantly refining our circuit designs, upgrading parts, and improving the sound quality of all of our products.
Through decades of on-going effort, we’ve gained a vast technical expertise that’s both precious and exclusive. This wealth of engineering knowledge and manufacturing know-how is the real value included in every one of Opera’s loudspeakers and Unison’s components. At trade shows, live product demonstrations, and even in press releases, our technicians always provide detailed technical information for the gear being demonstrated. We believe it’s important to allow audiophiles and music lovers to understand how our equipment is designed. For obvious reasons, we cannot disclose too much about our patented technologies. We do, however, try to provide our customers with coherent answers to their technical questions.
DB: What new products are you releasing to the North American market?
(GMS): Unison Research is a brand focused on two channel sound, but we’re also developing new technologies for the growing multi-channel market. Next year we’ll be launching some new products which we’re very excited about. We’re moving forward with cutting-edge technologies and also creating new products to expand our existing lines.
Although I cannot disclose too many details at this time, for Unison, we will be expanding our Max speakers (high efficiency loudspeakers) line. We’ll also be introducing a new tube amplifier which will reaffirm Unison Research’s strong commitment to vacuum tube gear.
We are even expanding our digital product line with some interesting new products.
Regarding Opera loudspeakers, we’re currently working on two different segments which will soon be unveiled.
DB: What are your favourite genres of music and what kinds of concerts do you attend most: rock, classical, jazz, blues, pop or other?
(GMS): I love going to concerts regardless of what style of music is being played. The charm of live events, to which is added the emotion of listening to sounds and music being created on a live stage, has always made me love live music. My personal taste is more directed towards classical symphonic music, and the baroque and jazz genres.
DB: How often do you attend live performances to update your mental reference of what live music sounds like?
(GMS): To me, attending live musical events is very important. I try to be at live shows as much as my schedule permits. Each and every month I go to a couple of concerts of different genres.
When I dedicate myself to the design and sonic calibration of equipment, listening to live music is my first point of reference. Building gear that tangibly recreates the feelings and emotions created by live musical events is a fundamental objective. We try to achieve this goal by making equipment that I like to call “music reproduction tools.”
DB: Where do you see Unison Research and Opera Loudspeakers as a company (sales volume, staff size, product lines, and market share by value) ten years from now?
(GMS): We are constantly investing in research to give our customers the best audio experience they’ve ever had. Within the next 10 years, I envision Opera and Unison continuing to deliver the joy and pleasure of listening to music to as many people as possible. Music is an emotional experience. We want to offer this experience to all of our customers by listening to music played through our products.
Gianni Maria Sacchetti, Founder, Unison Research
Bartolomeo Nasta, Export Manager, Unison Research and Opera Loudspeakers
Somebody has to test all the Unison Research electronics and Opera loudspeakers! Left: Mario Bon, Speaker Engineer; Right: Bartolomeo Nasta, Export Manager