When I discovered that a company — Gaudio — engineers, designs, and builds state-of-the-art earphones and in-ear monitors right here in Switzerland — I simply couldn’t believe it… After reaching-out to them, they agreed to answer a few of my questions. Here is the interview, unabridged and unaltered for your reading pleasure!
Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form affiliated to Gaudio, did not receive any incentive from them nor did I ask for any.
Q. In a market (almost) saturated by “Chi-Fi”, weren’t you afraid to jump into it with Swiss-made products?
A. Along with the abundance of low value-added products, there is a shortage of high-quality products. Products that have behind them a study of materials, aesthetics, comfort and sound quality.
If you look closely at the global premium line of in-ear offering, you will see that no product offers all these features in one complete package. You either have the sound quality, or the build quality, or the use of premium materials, or the comfort, etc. but there is always a trade-off.
This is our greatest value: we offer comfortable earphones, with great isolation, which are durable and feel premium as we use materials like Aluminum and Stainless Steel instead of cheap acrylic or injection-moulded plastic materials. Of course, we also put great efforts on acoustics.
We also strive every day to offer an excellent customer service. On top of that, we provide an excellent cable bundled with our products at no extra charge as well as use cheap but fast shipping methods such as DDP for our European customers.
We aim to offer something different, that is a great experience as a whole. We sincerely think that our offer is strong and believe it will be well received by our customers.
Q. Who was / is your inspiration, especially in the audiophile world?
A. We genuinely like the aesthetics and lines of Nagra 😉 It would be nice one day to have a success story as good as theirs!
Q. Outside of your product line, what’s your favorite IEM?
A. I would say the Vision Ears VE8 and VE5. I have listened to both on several occasions and I find them excellent for different reasons.
If I were to choose between headphones, Sennheiser HD600/650 and HD800 will be among the top picks! Also, notable mentions for Focal Clear and Ether 2.
Q. Speaking of IEMs… why IEMs and not headphones?
A. Because in-ears don’t mess with your hairstyle!
I’m kidding, of course. We think in-ears are the next natural step in HiFi. In the last decade in particular, there has been a progressive shift from traditional systems to over the ear headphones; the next natural step will be the transition from headphones to in-ear.
I don’t exclude possible future collaborations in this direction, but we haven’t yet moved further in this sense.
At the moment we prefer to devote ourselves solely to a single line and devote all our efforts to this to achieve excellent results.
Q. Let’s get technical now: why balanced armatures and not dynamic drivers / hybrids?
A. I would love working with high-quality dynamic drivers. The problem? Very few/no Swiss or European manufacturers (think Scan-speak, FaitalPRO, Peerless to name a few) produce small drivers.
So, you have to turn to the Asian market, order thousands of parts and go through the whole process of development, quality controls and goods going back and forth dozens of times before you can establish a process that works. It means setting up the entire supply chain that has to supply components that meet the requirements, on time and, above all, with tolerances that respect what has been agreed. When you are dealing with companies overseas the contact is only possible via email/phone, which can translates into troubles. The actual risk? Unstable supplies and products that do not meet expectations resulting in big headaches.
With that said, if we come into contact with a company that has serious intentions and the appropriate know-how to bring a high-quality product to the market, we would be very pleased to collaborate!
Q. Why a design with cross-over? Why not a cross-over-less design?
A. Honestly, there is no “secret recipe”.
It’s all in the hands of the acoustic designer. Using drivers as full-range rather than dividing them into defined frequency bands using crossovers; using tubes of different materials and dimensions (long, short, narrow or wide), using horn loads or other acoustic tricks.
Everything depends on what the designer wants to achieve, and it often happens that a solution found for two coupled drivers is not optimal for others, so you have to come up with a different solution.
Then, the importance of the impedance of the complete system, the match between drivers as well as the phase response should also be mentioned. There are many things to consider and to take care of; frequency response alone is not the only parameter to achieve great performance.
The real secret is, therefore, to know what you want to achieve and use all your knowledge to do so. You have to know what you’re doing.
One must not limit themselves and think in a conventional way and, most importantly, devote hundreds of hours of fine-tuning and listening to validate their project.
This is how the two Gaudio models were born: technique, passion and absolute dedication.
Q. I have a preference for an open, lush/smooth/warm sound with some definition, texture and soundstage — none to excess. I am not into an analytical, clinical or neutral sound. Which one of your IEMs would you recommend for me?
A. I think you might like the Clariden. Compared to the Nair it offers stronger bass, more detail in the midrange and an extended treble. An emotional sound that you will love!
Q. What’s in the plans after the 300 Series?
A. We are currently working on a couple of new prototypes. Both will be higher-end models that will have a corresponding price.
Both are at an early stage, so things can change considerably, but I dare say that both have shown great promise, so I feel confident about the final result!
At the moment the priority is to get our products out of Switzerland and we are therefore in contact with various retailers/distributors in Europe, Asia and the USA. In this way, customers will be able to hear and experience our products in their favourite shops.
In addition to this, we also offer B2B consulting. We can offer other companies tailor-made acoustic development of products for the professional and audiophile fields. It often happens that companies do not have the expertise to develop high performance systems of this type which is where our expertise comes in.