Naim & Focal Reloaded

Last night, in Melbourne's bustling Richmond district, BusiSoft AV held a ‘RELOADED’ event to mark their new distribution of Naim Audio electronics and Focal loudspeakers in Australia, as well as the recent launch of a number of new lines from the two companies, both of which are owned by the holding company VerVent Audio Group.

Focal's Stellia closed-back headphones: more info here

The event had two representatives from Focal French HQ on hand, along with a number of Naim/Focal systems on show, including Naim’s latest Uniti series of network streamers, with headphones and speakers from Focal including Kanta and Sopra models, one sizable pair even being used to deliver the DJ set which ran through most of the event, broken only for a rousing speech from BusiSoft’s George Poutakidis.

His speech was necessarily non-technical, since the audio press were outnumbered by ‘influencers’ called upon to hashtag #BusiSoft and #FocalandNaim in order to win time driving the latest Peugeot (also released Aug 1) so we have edited the speech below, but what remains included salient points which hit home with us, such as a general lack of attention given to the resolution of music compared with other media, and the slipping priority of audio in many homes against funds allocated to kitchens, bathrooms, shoes and other items.

BusiSoft's George Poutakidis behind the decks, presenting Naim & Focal.

Over to BusiSoft's George Poutakidis:

 “A few weeks ago, Focal celebrated its 40th birthday... and Naim 46 years. In my opinion these brands represent luxury, meticulous design, handcraftsmanship and uncompromised definition and performance in terms of audio excellence — it’s rare in our industry.

"And I think that the reason we’re here this evening is to elaborate on that point, and hopefully educate all of us that sound is about more than just a Bluetooth speaker.

"In my opinion these are inspirational products. Their quality and the way these companies produce them is second to none. They operate in the home sector, the car sector, in the studio side, the music we listen to is produced using Focal studio speakers. There is collaboration between the two — Focal makes loudspeakers, they’re a piece of furniture, they’re luxury, handcrafted, they’re not mass-produced. The cabinets are made in France, and the speaker drivers too — not many companies in the world today actually manufacture the drivers. Similarly Naim with their product is handcrafted almost entirely in Salisbury in the United Kingdom. That’s what important with these brands, that’s why I have a personal passion for these brands. We believe in these products.

“And the idea of resolution — ‘high-res’ — we understand this when we talk about televisions or printers or cameras. We all get that. But what I think is missing in our lives in the current era is high-res music. It’s not thought about by most people, they think they’re fine, they can Bluetooth to their speaker and that will do. But it’s interesting, when you start to hear music, and you can hear the musician and their breathing, you can hear someone moving their hands along the guitar, that changes your opinion on music, and again that’s what I think we’re here to celebrate, we’re here to celebrate music, because at the end of the day it’s all about the music.

“The iPod changed the way we listen to music — 10,000 songs in our pocket! That initially sounded like a great idea, but what are we giving up there? We’re giving up so much information. If you print out a photo of a high-res image from your holiday, some exotic holiday location you’ve been to, if you do it without the resolution, you’ll be very disappointed. Yet it seems we’re happy to give that up for music. So hopefully tonight, when you get a chance to listen to what we’re talking about, you may find a different perspective. 

“Focal and Naim are bringing the music the way the artist intended, and I think that’s what we’re about. Music can make you laugh, it can make you dance — maybe not me, but most people — it can make you cry. It brings emotions and it works emotions, and I think that’s what’s important to us: we’re selling emotions, a romance of bringing it all back and giving us as much of that experience as possible. We all like to spend money on clothes, cars, shoes, our home — we spend a fortune on our kitchens, our bathrooms, etc. — but it seems we all economise on the audio-visual aspect, and especially the audio.

"And again it’s the level of products here, these are luxury products alongside luxury products that we’re accustomed to, and I think that otherwise we are devaluing the enjoyment that audio can bring us. It evokes emotions, and that’s what’s important to us; it’s all about the music, and let’s have some fun bringing it to you tonight.” 

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Oh, and #busisoft and #focalandnaim