Meet the Maker

Ital­ian Made Uni­son Re­search & Opera Loud­speak­ers

NOVO - - MEET THE MAKER - by Dou­glas Brown

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

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