|A very happy Bartolomeo with the Unison Research S6 amplifier. "Your're test driving this baby after the show", he told me!|
I met Bartolomeo Nasta at the A&L Audio Station 4th floor demo suite during the KLIAV 2011 show. We barely talked for about 3 minutes and he already struck me like an ol' friend! I grab the opportunity to ask him 10 Qs about Unison Research, tubes, and hifi in general.
Big E: Bartolomeo, your first time to Kuala Lumpur and KLIAV?
BN: Yes, but I am already loving it here already!
Big E: Given that Unison Research deals with tube amps, and there are only so many tube circuitry available for a given tube spec, how does the company keeps coming out with new models every now and then?
BN: Correct, there are already established schematics for any given audio tube available today, we at Unison Research continues to refine on the basic circuitry over the years. You know, like newer parts and tighter tolerances, that sort of thing. In Unison Research, we believe our products have a certain soul to reflect it's Italian-ness. Just like a Ferrari automobile, you know?
Big E: About your statement of Italian-ness. Would you agree that the hifi's sound character reflects their nationality? Like French hifi sounding French, German hifi have a Germanic sound quality, and the British hifi has that unique mid range quality?
BN: I do not quite agree, on the hifi's sounding like their nationality, with the exception of British hifi! They certainly do have their own kind of sound.
Big E: Does Unison Research build everything in house?
BN: We try to keep everything made within 20 kilometers from the factory, which keeps logistics simple. We make almost every thing in house now days, including our amplifier casings, as we operate our own CNC metal cutters too. The only part on the amplifier we don't make in house is the wood inserts. That's made by a carpenter nearby the factory.
Big E: What about NOS tube rolling, what's Unison Research's policy on that?
BN: I am very glad you asked this all important question. I would like to say that many customers have asked, why we do not supply our amps with certain NOS tubes of their choice? The answer would be that it would be too difficult for us to find large enough quantities of NOS tubes to sustain our daily production quantities. And NOS tubes comes in many variations of quality too, which makes QC testing time consuming and too in exact to ensure long term reliability. However, we do understand that in some case, fitting NOS tubes can contribute to better sound of the amps. Hence we are O.K. with it.
Big E: Would fitting NOS tubes, other than those originally supplied, void warranty of the amps?
BN: I'd advise all our customer who intends to fit NOS tubes in to their Unison Research amps write to us by e-mail, provide the product serial no. and tell us the replacement NOS tubes they want to use, we'd advise the customers about the suitability of their intended NOS tube. Alternatively, our customers can also ask our dealers to confirm with us, which is the best way to do it, if the intention is to keep the product warranty in effect.
Big E: Opera loudspeakers, what is Unison Research's relationship with them?
BN: Opera loudspeakers is owned by the same owners of Unison Research, we share the same building, which is partition in to half, we both use the facilities of a university nearby for some research work too.
Big E: Does that means that Unison Research Amplifiers are an instant match to the Opera speakers?
BN: They actually do match very well, but Unison Research amplifiers will power most speakers of average specs decently. Again, I must stress to our customers, if they are unsure about speakers matching, please write us or talk to our dealers, who are more than happy to help.
|Another "happy meal" time? I think it must be the Char Koay Tiew that he's having for lunch. I told him that it's stir fried pasta made from rice flour. The man loved his Char Koay Tiew indeed!|
Big E: Is it safe to assume that you're running Unison Research amps and Opera loudspeakers at home too?
BN: I have a pair of S9 mono block powering a pair of Opera loudspeakers.
Big E: How is Unison Research bridging the market between audiophile and lifestyle?
BN: I wouldn't say lifestyle, but our Unico range have done very well in the regards of bringing new interest in to the "pleasurable"(this guy says the word like he really means it! No wonder he's a self proclaim lover, not fighter! Ladies look out!) world of hifi. Our classic range continues to draw audiophiles longing for tube sound with a soul.
As lunch time draws to a close, it's back to work for Bartolomeo at the A&L Audio Station demo suite. A quick thanks to Yap and Atven for making this session possible.