Question #4. When it comes to physical appearance, what is the process of approving a final look? How many people are involved, how many different designs do they have to pick from? Is such a "design competition" done purely with 3D simulations, 3D prints or actual prototypes?

Our electronics in the 10 and 1000 Lines have very distinctive looks due to the design of the vents and front panels. The designer, architect Stefano Bonifazi, has worked with us for almost a decade. His goal from the start was to create a look that's uniquely attractive and sober at the same time. Based on systems thinking, our philosophy is about offering a complete audio chain which means that our customers will usually have 3 to 4 of our products whose design must convey a sense of understated beauty which you and your wife can happily live with. We try to stay clear of flamboyance and extravagance to favor elegance and balance. This also applies to the sound. The concept of Suono Italiano moves in fact from a similar basis as it's meant to recreate the musical event in its original and natural form by minimizing imbalances.

So we have very clear guidelines for the design of our electronics and turntables thanks to Mr. Bonifazi. We usually rely mainly on 3D renders. On the other hand, real prototypes are necessary for the loudspeakers, to test the quality of the finish and how the materials feel to the touch. Loudspeakers tend to be more complex. Here we work with Italian craftsmen to achieve the highest quality. That makes the process longer due to the very nature of collaboration with artisans rather than more industrial suppliers. In this case we start with one design idea and the senior members from R&D, Acoustics and Product analyze it and provide feedback for the next iterations. Following a process known as Double Diamond borrowed from UX Design, these options are analyzed to identify the key elements of the design which will be used to reach the point of convergence. This design is then polished and refined, working on the details and ensuring that production can deliver the desired level of quality. Our CEO leads all the meetings required to finalize the design. We always trust Maurizio's expertise and detail-oriented eye to find the perfect solution.

Technology has been of great help as the pandemic forced us to collaborate remotely, moving from renders to actual 3D models that we can edit and share on the go, removing the need to spend time creating renderings and sketches.

Digging just a bit deeper into the IS-10 project, I wrote Tom "GaNFet class D. You’re already using GaN transistors in the PA-10 amp though with a linear power supply. With the IS-10 needing internal real estate for D/A conversion, a streaming module and line-stage functionality, it seems self-evident that an SMPS with switching output stage would fit more power into the limited space than a class A/B circuit with linear supply." [At left, Gold Note at the 2021 Beijing hifi show.]

Adopting a switching power supply is central to the Scope Statement. This is one of the key factors since real estate is the most limiting factor. We're in fact even considering a bigger chassis. That's still very much at the idea stage but nonetheless a viable option."

How about a class D output stage?

Being at an early stage, it’s difficult to tell. We entertain any number of ideas but as with all great puzzles, there are factors beyond the product itself such as the positioning of the 10 Line, how the IS-10 might fit in, feedback from distributors and dealers etc.

I now asked for some supportive IS-10 documentation to illustrate our more generalized background with actual details.

That's tricky because there are details which our engineers prefer not to share. I think I can amend them such that you can at least publish some of them including renders and other schematics if possible. It's an exciting time for us because recent growth brought more people on board. As our organisation grows, internal processes get re-imagined and adjusted, especially the development of complex new products.

While Tom tussles with IP, let's switch to a few factory renders when parts of its ground floor are still under construction. If you detect a planned in-door swimming pool, so did I.

… to be continued…