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Enrico believes there is proof. But you need educated ears. It took him seven years and a concentrated R&D project started in 1991 to quantify how hifi gear compromises signal purity. Enrico’s company Opal began manufacturing Norma gear in 1997 but had already built measurement equipment to have him well familiar with the necessary tools: Living and being headquartered in Cremona influenced me. Our city is steeped in music and musical instruments. Think Monteverdi, Ponchielli, Giuseppe Verdi, the master violins of Stradivarius, Amati and Guarneri. They left a great legacy to our school of violin making and the university’s music faculty. I fondly remember student competitions to insure the few free subscriptions our school provided for concerts at the Teatro Ponchielli. The human voice and song are one of my greatest passions. Listened to attentively, the correct reproduction of the human voice is one of the most difficult tasks. If the recording quality allows, the micro/macro dynamics of a beautiful voice are incredible as are the richness of detail, expressive nuances and delivery refinement. And unlike other musical instruments the human voice is known to all. This enables immediate comparison. It’s why I often use the human voice in the development of Norma gear.

General Philosophy

Beyond material aspects it’s important to understand a product’s design philosophy. Over the years folks hearing NORMA products asked what our secret was. As direct expressions of our perception and thinking, we though them simple and devoid of secrets. But over time we concluded that as often happens, what’s really important isn’t obvious to outsiders. What’s the secret to the Stradivarius sound? After exploring all possible combinations of wood, aging and lacquer, we still don’t know. Perhaps the real secret was the designer’s sensitivity, taste and love which intuitively or strategically guided very specific choices. In the absence of such intense desire, none of the available materials and processes would have ended up being shaped as they were.

Technical Aspects

The elements of audio electronics which influence sound span circuit type/topology, parts quality, mechanical engineering, power supply and more all of it interdependent. It’s imperative to have the broadest possible understanding to properly gauge how particular choices interact. To design a winning Formula 1car everything must be perfectly integrated and of the highest quality, from the engine to the chassis, suspension, tires, driver, pit team and more. During our 7-year R&D project we attempted to investigate the totality of factors influencing hifi sound and how they interrelate.


It’s maybe easier to realize a good electronic than to describe its sound using words.
Even if the listening experience is unitary, as everything around us, it is an attitude of our minds to try and break it up in single factors. This way, the we are also partly going to follow, presents a great limit: as by describing a human body by sectioning its organs, you deprive it of its life, by trying to describe the listening experience by dividing it into many separate components you risk not to convey the emotive impact that, most of the time, is more than the sum of the single parts.

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