My past life as an importer and distributor still lingers as I try to cover these high-end audio shows. At AXPONA 2019, I was sideswiped by the presence of Bartolomeo Nasta, my brother from an Italian mother, the man who was our main business partner and contact while we were the US distributors for his two brands, Unison Research and Opera Loudspeakers. One of the last chores we had at Colleen Cardas Imports was to find a loving new home for these two Italian brands, the same two marques we started with way back in July 2011. Even though we could only “recommend” a successor, Colleen and I told Bart that Walter Swanbon and Fidelis AV was the best possible solution. It took a few months for the transition to occur, but we were finally able to make an announc–
Uh, I knew I forgot to do something as we turned off the lights at the CCI offices. Colleen asked me to announce via social media that Fidelis AV was the new US importer and distributor for Unison Research and Opera. I still haven’t done it. But here I am now, telling you that a new sheriff is in town.
That didn’t assuage the rush of emotions when I entered the Fidelis AV room at AXPONA 2019 and saw all those components from Unison Research and Opera. For one, I kept forgetting that Bart would be there. We haven’t seen each other in more than two years, and I was so busy recently with my friend’s Hawaiian wedding that I’ve had blinders on for the past few weeks. I consider Bart to be one of my best friends in the world, and it was tough for Colleen and me to move on. So Bart and I talked, we drank wine, and Bart brought Colleen a present from Italy. Best of all, I was again surrounded by these beautiful Italian products, these gorgeous works of art that also happen to sound great.
Fidelis had done a great job of bringing in a ton of Unison Research and Opera product for the show, along with other mainstays such as Accusound cabling and Acoustic Signature turntables. The main system was comprised of the Unison Research Unico Due, their latest integrated amplifier, along with the splendid CD Due, which I’ve used plenty of times for my earliest explorations into streaming. The high-efficiency Unison Research MAX 1 loudspeakers, with a 12″ long-throw woofer and compression horn tweeter, were delivering that oh-so-familiar sound–warm, emotive, instantly engaging. I miss listening to this gear on a daily basis.
As I said, Unison Research and Opera are now in great hands. Fidelis AV was one of our best dealers, and Colleen and I have always considered Walter Swanbon as one of the finest importers and distributors in the US. So good luck to Fidelis AV and Bartolomeo and I hope this partnership provides the success they all deserve.