October 31, 2012

Unison Research Factory Tour, Part III.

In this final installation of our Unison Research factory tour, we check out the QC and R&D areas within the building. We also take a detour to see where some sub assembly work, where special care and attention is required.
A worker takes a product off the assembly for QC testing.

However, we now take a detour to see where certain parts and sub assemblies that require that bit of extra special attention. like this batch of tubes, which are graded to match the circuit characteristics of the model of intended insertion.

A box of tubes awaiting grading.

Pair matching is crucial for L/R chanel balance.

So are certain parts along the sensitive pre-amp circuit section, where chanel matching is just as important. Otherwise, the power amp section would amplify an imbalanced stereo signal.

Another area that require special care is the volume pot assembly(a.k.a. step attenuator), again the chanel matching element is crucial here.

Not only chanel matching, but feel of the potentiometer is just as important. Not many audio companies build this part in house, due to the tedious work nature and long work time involved. 

The volume knob as shown earlier is now ready for it's crowning moment.

Here! Isn't this a work of art?

Even it's matching remote is not spared of the special care and attention!

Lower end model remotes get the standard assembly line treatment.

Senor Sacchetti seen here giving his personal touch by putting this tube amp thru it's paces and setting the tube biasing prior to final packaging.

More QC test parameters.

Further fine tuning and adjustments.

From the looks of that smile, a satisfied Giovanni indeed. Time to pack this amp up for shipping.

CAD(Computer Aided Design) software is used in the development of PCB circuit boards for optimum sound quality reproduction.

A very serious Giovanni scrutinises a power supply design section on the CAD software, reducing R&D time and cost.

Giovanni measures the small parts for fitting tolerances on a PCB board in a prototype amp design under going testing.

The work of a hifi/audio engineer never ceases!

It's an interesting angle to view how a company like Unison Research, who values traditional craftsmanship, classic tube design metal and wood work, embracing new the latest technology in an attempt to create audio equipment that sounds and looks like masterpieces. To buy and own one of this finely crafted audio equipment is to make a statement of your salutation to the finer things in life!

And lifestyle is something that the Italians have in spades. A special thanks to my buddy Bartolomio for making this factory tour happen.

October 29, 2012

Unison Research Factory Tour, Part II.

We first saw Unison Research's vast parts bin and storage warehouse section. Now we proceed to the work in progress area, where all the action is, with artisans and craftsman working hand in hand to assemble electronics, tubes, wood and metal work to form the final product. It's a relative large open space, partitioned only by rack and racks of semi finished products in various stages of WIP. At first glance, the work benches look chaotic, however watching the men work shows there's order within the chaos. Now that's assembly line, Italian style for you and me! Let's get on to it.
Rows and rows of racked semi finished products acts as partition in an otherwise open working area.

More semi finished products along the work bench.

Metal casings awaiting stuffing.

The beautifully CNC machined stainless steel volume knob assembly. 

All hand assembled, that's what Unison Research is about!

These nearly finished amps awaiting their precious volume knobs that are being assembled above.

All Unison Research products are hand made, including the entry level Unico line as seen here.

Wiring the inputs and outputs.

In line and awaiting for more tubes and wood work. 

PCB stuffing all done by thru hole, no SMD here. A phono stage seen put together here.

Craftsman at work.

More products awaiting further work on the racks.

Seen here are Unico line amps, awaiting their front panel knobs and switches. 

Beautiful wood work on metal casing, Italian artistry at it's finest! 

Now that you know the Italian assembly line is quite unlike others else where, they are very much like building fine watches and super sports cars(think Lamborghini or Ferrari!). Next, we see the QC and R&D areas and the final touches that goes in to completing the products for shipping.

October 28, 2012

CMY Invites! Franck Tchang Returns.

Franck Tchang Returns to Malaysia, again. 

You can tell that Franck Tchang loves coming to Malaysia, his favorite audiophile market. CMY Audio & Visual invites you to share the experience of music listening with acoustic treatment, a presentation by Franck Tchang, founder of ASI and designer of the controversial acoustic resonators, amongst other audio related products.

John Yew, CMY boss, tells me that Franck has some new and interesting items on demo. Refreshments and light snacks will be served.

The presentation and demo session will be held from 3pm, Sunday, 4th November 2012, at the CMY Audio & Visual Damansara Uptown showroom, located at 32, Jalan SS21/58, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya. 

For R.S.V.P. please call Chan at 03-77272419 or 012-2873551, as seats are limited.  

October 27, 2012

Unison Research Factory Tour, Part I.

Unison Research is located in the town of Treviso, Northern Italy, just an hours traveling time by road from Venice City. Treviso is an idyllic and scenic place, with a population of just over eighty two thousand. I was invited by Bartalomeo Nasta, to get to know the rest of the Unison Research guys, but my work commitments meant that it was not to be. Dang! I was actually looking forward towards an European holiday.

That meant this factory visit would have to be a virtual tour. After my 10Qs session with Giovanni Sacchetti, founder of Unison Research which allowed us a glimpse in to the man's amplifier design philosophy, and now followed by a factory tour, as promised. Let's start!

The industrial building that houses both Unison Research and Opera Loudspeakers.

First stop, let's raid their parts warehouse, where components and semi assembled modules are stocked, here we have some wire harness ready for assembly.

What does this look like? A volume knob?

The parts warehouse has rows and rows of neatly stacked stocks!

More parts for making amplifiers and CD players.

More wire harness!

Some toroidal transformers seen here.

Caps and more caps!
Various caps with values marked for easy identification.
Film caps.
Just one of the many boxes of tubes in stock!
PCB boards awaiting assembly.
Power supply e-caps in stock.

Next, we look at the assembly and test work stations at Unison Research.

October 25, 2012

SVS Sub War! PC12-NSD VS PB12-NSD Sub Woofers.

SVS Entry Level Subs, PC12-NSD(left) VS PB12-NSD.

Don't miss this ultimate entry level sub war coming soon!

An all SVS special for my AV system.

Would they beat my existing entry level Velodyne VX-10?

Stay tuned to find out!

Can't wait?

Contact Maxx or Benjamin at 017-6778820 of Maxx Audio to find out for yourselves.

October 22, 2012

Tara Labs, Now Available From A&L Audio Station!

Top of the range Tara Labs Zero interconnects.

Can't seem to get enough of cables?

The favourite play things of high end audio connoisseurs.

How about Tara Labs?

The full range is now available from the good guys at A&L Audio Station.

We've been supplied some for full review to come. Can't wait?

Then contact Yap(Wah Chai) at 03-79582884 for more info.

October 19, 2012

Power Wow Now! Supra LoRad 2.5 Power Cord.

The Supra Lorad 2.5 has a simple shielding scheme, utilising only a gold coated tin foil, wrapped around the conductor cores.

Just when you thought I had my fair share of power cord play, here's another one to consider! It's the Supra Lorad 2.5, available from A&L Audio Station as loose cuts from reel at RM$89/meter, which is very reasonably priced, considering the quality on offer. The chunky 13AWG, tin plated conductor core is shinny and rated to carry power loads of up to 16 amp, now that's more like a power cord for feeding power amps. The shielding method is rather simple, with only a gold coated tin foil wrap around the conductor cores, but if it's effective, then why not?

The Supra Lorad 2.5 power cord is directional, do take note when terminating.

I bought a meter of the Supra Lorad 2.5 home for trial(with hope that it works). Termination is much easier and faster due to it's simple internal design and layout. Like the Furutech FP-314AG power cord, I choose to use the same grades of China made generic gold plated IEC plugs on one end and the Indian made, BS standard, 13 amp fused MK Duraplug, the other end, again in the interest of keeping cost low. The termination work took less than 30 minutes. I then proceeded to plug the Supra Lorad 2.5 in between the wall socket and the Denon AVR-1612 surround receiver.

The finished cable.

From the very first movie, tittled Red Tails, the solid bass response tells me that I've found what I've been looking for. The Lucasfilm movie which script fictionalized around the all African American member squadron of Tuskegee Airman serving the USAF during the closing days of WWII, has plenty of heroic dogfights and combat tactical fighter vs bomber scenes between the USAF and Hitler's much feared Luftwaffe. The rumbling engines of the WWII bombers and fighters were weighty and there's enough low end grunt now to carry the big aircraft engine noises and loud dynamics of explosive scenes convincingly. I should mention that the CGI graphics on this movie is impressive too. I've never experienced any symptoms pointing to lack of power or the 5 x 120 watts rated Denon receiver running out of breath, at least not with the Supra Lorad 2.5 delivering the juices. All other aspects being equal, I couldn't detect other areas of performance improvements.

A comparison, Furutech FP-314AG(left) and Supra Lorad 2.5(light grey).

I do find the qualities of the Supra Lorad 2.5(when used to power AV receivers) rather complimentary to the Furutech FP-314AG(used to power front end, in my case the Pioneer BDP-140 Blu-ray player), when put together. The results of both these power cords in my AV system are highly commended for what is a small budget outlay, in the scheme of things.

Supra is sold at all A&L Audio Station outlets, contact Yap(Wah Chai) at 03-79582884.