The Hifi market in Italy is pretty *singular*: though common people show a diminuished interest in the Hi-quality HiFi systems, many new esoteric components are being imported in our Country (mainly loudspeakers and tube amplifiers), and these are very often incredibly expensive and aimed to a niche of a niche-market.
I believe that it should be better to try to *spread* the Culture of Hi-quality Audio to a wider audience (pun intended) by means of new mid-class and budget-conscious HiFi components.
Which is your opinion on this subject?
If new products are being imported into our Country despite of a general period of crisis it means that the market needs them otherwise they won't last long.
As for tube amplifiers: to me the present success of vacuum tube equipped components is due -mainly- to two reasons.
First of all, the HiFi magazines have been *pushing* and *advertising* vacuum tube products for a long time, by means of tech articles on old tube schemes and hifi history.
Certainly this has stimulated the curiosity and the interest towards this kind of products.
Secondly, vacuum tube HiFi components are somewhat *amazing* and their feeling and *flavour* is certainly a plus over their cold solid state counterparts.
Also, while it is sometimes hard to *tell* the difference, at a first glance, between a consumer solid state component and a *Hi-end* one, this is easy with tube components.
I mean, it is easier to *attach* the hi-end label to a tube amplifier than to a solid state one.
Speaking of costs I'd say that -generally- some prices of vacuum tube HiFi components are well justified, considering the limited production, though some products, with their prices, are just an insult to good common sense.
It is self-evident that into a free-market a 300,000$ amplifier does have its place, exactly like a Ferrari Testarossa has.
Only, in the case of the car industry the differences are far easier to tell and test.
Finally I strongly believe that HiFi divulgation is necessary and the advertising campaign proposed by the APAF (High Fidelity Promotion Association - Italy) in a popular newspaper is just the first and clever step towards this direction.
Though we have a wide choice of Italian hi-quality HiFi products at extremely concorrential prices, the Italian audiophile seems to prefer components made abroad (it doesn't matter where...) which, very often, are ridiculuosly overpriced thanks to taxes, VAT and other charges once they cross the Italin borders, and the resulting prices are even double than the list price in the Country of origin.
Do you believe someone has the responsability of this strange situation? How can we try to solve it?
Until some years ago Italian HiFi components were almost impossible to find.
Now the situation is changing quickly and I'm quite sure that, with some patience and good work, we Italian manufacturers will have our success.
I think it is necessary to suffer a little bit more in order to face the international markets, where the US and the English brands have a longer and solid tradition.
I don't think there's someone who's responsible for the fact that Italian audiophiles still seem to prefer non-Italian brands: we've jumped into the HiFi wagon a little bit later so we have to wait.
But don't forget that some Italian firms have conquered a wide success both in Italy and abroad.
LC > Fase Evoluzione Audio is mainly involved in HiFi amplification. Considering the revival of some products, designed and built even 40 or 50 years ago (Marantz, Mc Intosh etc.), one could argue that the research in HiFi amplification devices hasn't progressed a lot during the last decades. According to you, is this just *fashion* or is there any significant reason for this revival?
We at Fase are now involved in loudspeakers too, since we have presented our ARIA bookshelves and three new loudspeakers from a brand new Italian firm (AMB) at the Top Audio in Milan.
The revival of old designs is just *hype* and doomed to an end.
The research in the field of HiFi amplification devices has made giant steps forward during the last 20 years or so, thanks also to new, faster and more linear circuit schemes.
It seems that HiFi Audio will be, in the near future, just a part of a multimedia system where TV, computer and HiFi musical reproduction will interact each other.
Which is your position on this issue?
The natural evolution of the Audio and Video systems will bring us a quickly growing integration with the computer that will administrate everything.
While maintaining our identity, we at Fase will try to follow this natural evolution.
Are you going to design any vacuum tube electronics in the near future?
Any Home Theater components on the desk?
We're not going to design vacuum tube HiFi components anytime soon.
As for Home Theater: we're simply waiting to see a standard for the HT at least for the European community, then we'll see.
Courtesy Fabio Serblin
Copyright © Lucio Cadeddu