Diapason started its venture in the pro market, before entering the hi-end world. May you tell us how did the whole biz start?
At the beginning of the '80s Alessandro Orizio (now musical producer) and me created a recording studio with the aim of making something quite unusual for that time: a purist studio with just two microphones, the best cabling available and a PCM recorder, nothing else.
The missing link was a very good studio monitor, capable to reveal which kind of stereophonic event we were recording.
Since then I focused my work on the understanding of the human perception of the sounds and the research of the most realistic recording techniques.
During the recording sessions of the historical archive of the *Festival Pianistico Internazionale di Brescia e Bergamo* , some recordings for Fonè records, the *Audiorecord n.1* , the *Suono n.0* and other recordings we started to design and build the first two monitors and future Diapason products: the Prelude and the Adamantes.
The design of a loudspeaker involves so many different aspects: some designer swears by the key role of a good crossover network, others pay a great attention to the quality of the speakers and so on. Which are the guidelines of each Diapason design?
The complexity of the design of any loudspeaker is caused by the infinite variables that play a role in the final result.
I simply try to harmonize each of these different aspects, even if I've always been attracted by the importance of the shape of the cabinet. This is a very important issue, too often ignored by loudspeakers designers. The shape of a cabinet plays a key role in performance, not only in cool looks. It can easily change the sound of a given loudspeaker and also suggest emotional and tactile sensations that can help in the understanding of the musical experience.
It is becoming a common procedure to use small woofers without crossover network, directly connected to the amplifier, exactly like your Direct Drive design.
Which are the pros and cons of this kind of approach?
There are several pros, for example the increased driveability of the speaker and the improved feedback with the amplifier: the inductance which is used to filter any woofer is actually a passive element *added* between the amp and the woofer.
Other aspects that benefit from a woofer being directly connected to the amplifier are the overall musicality and the time response.
Of course this comes at a price: you need to forget the design of the crossover, in the usual sense, and focus your attention on the design of the woofer itself, trying to build (or choose) a component intended for working without filter i.e. thinking at its acoustic properties inside the cabinet (and the reflex port) and nothing else.
Taking this idea to its extreme consequences one may arrive to design one way wide-band loudspeaker, something that is becoming quite popular nowadays, especially when coupled with low-powered tube amps.
Which is your opinion on this trend?
I must admit that the Diapason Direct Drive (DDD) approach comes out from the study of that kind of one-way loudspeakers that I consider quite interesting, indeed.
This reminds me a mid-50s old tube radio I owned, which had a 7" mid-woofer (without filter) and two isodynamic tweeters with just two filtering caps.
I have always wondered if the so-called progress is just hype or not.
It seems to me that Diapason is taking a close look at the multimedia/Home Theater market. I believe that, for many reasons, common HiFi loudspeakers aren't well suited to be used into a Home Theater system. Are you planning a brand new stand-alone system for Home Theter use?
The main problem of any Home Theater system is the software and not the hardware. We can easily manage 5+1 channels of digital quality sound so this causes some trouble: it is very difficult to get a perfect sonic balance but, if the sound engineer is good enough, the result can be quite outstanding.
Unluckly there are very few specialists who are able to properly install a hi-end HT set-up that can sound good even when used as a simple stereophonic system.
Actually, any Diapason loudspeaker is ready to be used into a HT system, provided the quality of the rest is of the hi-end level.
Which are, according to you, the main problems an Italian brand has to face with to conquer the worldwide HiFi market? Do you believe that the Internet may help?
The main difficulty is the one caused by the markets that are not ready to accept revolutionary products or, better, products which are far from certain *organizations*.
It seems utopic that a product earns popularity and success because of its quality only. For this reason I believe that the Internet can help any manufacturer to make his products known worldwide, unless the big guys in the biz succeed in contaminating the freedom of speech on the WWW, transforming it into an electronic version of the printed magazines where the infos are *controlled* and not always transparent and truthful as they should be.
I'm not playing devil's advocate here, since Diapason has always been appraised and highly rewarded without spending a single buck on advertising...anyway, the problem remains the same.
As usual, may you tell us what's on your desk for the near future?
We are working hard on new projects for home HiFi, HT and recording studios: some new floorstander loudspeaker and a special subwoofer, for example. We are also designing some accessories for HiFi and HT. There's actually a top secret design but I can't unveil it yet.
Courtesy Alessandro Schiavi for TNT-Audio.
Copyright © 1999 Lucio Cadeddu