Question #3. When you have arrived at a first prototype, how many people are involved in listening tests? Describe the type comment such tests generate and what kind of adjustments it prompts in the engineering departments. Describe the system you listen to and what type music you use.

As you can imagine, this is the most secretive and delicate stage of the whole development cycle. Listening tests are managed and led by our CEO in a quasi private fashion so it's hard to share details especially when it involves company know-how. Before listening tests can take place, R&D and the engineers must ensure that the prototype hits the mark of electrical and acoustic measurements. In the case of amplifiers, heat dissipation and loading are tested to guarantee that optimal operating conditions are met.

Usually there are 3 key figures involved in these tests – our CEO, the Technical Director and the Acoustical Engineer. They work closely together to make modifications to the components on the spot. Prototypes are tested in a full Gold Note system first, either of the 10 or 1000 Line. Again, our focus is the audio chain, hence a Gold Note system is always the starting point. The next stage entails trying the prototype which now delivers our signature sound with components from other major brands. For the tests, our Acoustical Engineer has a playlist to cover all sorts of instruments from pure voice to symphonies, recorded in a broad range of conditions and environments. Some tracks were directly recorded by sound engineers we collaborate with, others are from our library. These are available in different formats and resolutions. One track that stands out is a recording of the "Cantico delle Creature" by San Francesco d'Assisi arranged for female voice and bass.

It's interesting to note that while listening tests carry on, the Product & Marketing team is testing the usability of the prototype. That's especially relevant for products with displays and extensive feature sets. Their feedback is then shared with R&D to optimize the user experience. Here it's extremely useful to update the Scope Statement with important information that will be later used to design the owner's manual.