Earlier this year, a new and elegant high-end Italian audio brand appeared. There’s nothing special in that: high-end start-ups appear frequently, and many of the more elegant ones come from the home of Ferrari and Maserati. But YAR Audio is different from most.
YAR Audio’s system is an ambitious amplifier/loudspeaker project, designed to be more than just an elegant piece of audiophile art. The three-way, five driver tall loudspeakers are a semi-open baffle design, featuring large planar magnetic panels for the midrange and treble set in a carbon fibre shell with wooden surrounds, all suspended from an aluminium exoskeleton frame-base. These are matched with a hybrid 700W valve/Class D amplifier in a unique carbon-fibre chassis, and a series of sophisticated sandwich isolation platforms for source components used with the system. Although the individual components have names in their own right (Feeld platforms, B-yond amp, Y-der loudspeakers), the whole system is designed to be supplied as a whole, and owners of a YAR system will be visited by a two-man set-up team to install and fine-tune the system wherever they are in the world. There will never be more than 99 YAR Audio systems manufactured, and the price of admission to the exclusive YAR Audio club is a healthy €250,000.
There is an uncommon commonality to the shape of the equipment, too. The tall floorstanding loudspeakers and especially the amplifier look very ‘sci-fi’ – the amplifier’s distinctive, almost tumid, hump and clear central grille panel with its glowing blue LEDs offset by the orange glow of valves is redolent of popular images of UFOs. This is intentional; the name ‘YAR’ is drawn from the former Russian rocket test site Kasputin Yar, often nicknamed ‘Russia’s Roswell’ because of the number of Soviet-era UFO sightings in the area. Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Giancarlo Sopegno chose the name as he is something of an ufologist, and thinks the quest for alien life has parallels with the search for the unattainable in audio.
YAR Audio isn’t just magicked out of thin air; it’s no cynical start-up designed to bilk a few super-rich. Sopegno, who has decades of high-end experience as consultant to some of the best in the business, including Audio Tekne, MBL, and Yamaha, joined forces with entrepreneur and friend Adriano Marconetto as CEO on this project, the dynamic duo calling on the forces of noted Italian audio designers like amp specialist Franco Savio and speaker expert Giacomo Satti along the way. Pulling together a dream team of designers is not a new thing in high-end audio – it’s what Constellation Audio has done so well – but few have been quite so Italian, and therefore few will have been quite so well dressed!