Colleen Cardas Imports Opera & Unison Research

Although plagued by “Noisy Neighbor Syndrome,” Colleen Cardas Imports impressed me with the great sound they got from a 45rpm Acoustic Sounds test pressing of Stevie Ray Vaughan playing “Tin Pan Alley,” reproduced by the Opera Seconda loudspeakers ($3995/pair). Yes, that characteristic Hilton room mode was still in evidence, but these big two-and-a-half-ways produced an otherwise smooth, sonically compelling balance.

Hiding behind the speakers, because that’s the only place there was an AC outlet, was a selection of Unison Research components (the Italian Opera and Unison companies share ownership). Source was the Giro turntable ($3995 with arm and cartridge), CD player the Unico CDE with dual-mono optical DAC upgrade ($4120), integrated amplifier the Sinfonia ($6495). The other products featured were the Pure Audio phono preamplifier $4500) and all Furutech cables and power management.

silvertone's picture

Is it just me, or these speakers look like the old Revel Salons?

Et Quelle's picture

Nice modern look. I missed them at THE Show!

alexwgoody's picture

Having listened to them on my own, Et Quelle, you aren't missing anything. I could not have been less impressed when I heard them when shown in an Arizona club meeting in January. I am not alone, much of the club agreed. I'd be glad to send some specific notes if you would like.


But they are pretty...

BlackbirdAudio's picture

As a Southern California dealer for Opera, Unison Research and Pure Audio, I have to say that I'm confused and alarmed at the above statement, which was made by someone who wasn't even present at the show.  I heard this system and agree with Mr. Atkinson's appraisal.

Now, I understand everyone has their own thing for what they like and don't and that's just fine and dandy but let me go on record to say that we've been getting nothing but praise, not only for the musical prowess of the Opera Seconda speakers set up with these electronics but for many other models that Opera has to offer.

I can only guess that maybe this person didn't hear them at their best and I would encourage him to give them a listen in a more controlled environement - such as his dealer's showroom.

I'd like to think that we all own such stereo systems because of something that we all have in common and that is a love of music.  What a common denominator!  

There's certainly room for giving something a second chance before railing on it in a public forum and I'd like to think that Colleen Cardas, who's been in this industry longer than I can remember, is not the kind of person who'll invest time and money on substandard sound.

srwooten's picture

I have to disagree with Alex, although he is entitled to his opinion.

I was at the meeting in Arizona, and president of the AAVC at that time, and I remember the club members REALLY liking the Seconda's, as well as the electronics Colleen and Mark used. I personally found the sound musical, involving, non-tiring, and room filling. Not to mention a great bargain at their price.  A well designed speaker that was easy on the eyes and ears, IMO.

Bill Coomes's picture

I remember the huge (underline major) sentiment of appreciation expressed by member, after member, after member of the AZ Audio Video Club, both during after immediately after the Opera Speakers/Unison Research presentation of our January meeting.  the broad smiles were abundant, and we have many, many Golden Ears from lifelong audiophiles. Colleen and Marc provided that rare offering, 'music that sounds like music' that we have not had the equal of, in quite some time.  one of those rare occasions, that I look back on with fond memories.  I for one, am very grateful for their industry support, and their dedication to our hobby. Bill Coomesyesyes

shaynet98's picture

As Dan points out above, the love of music is indeed a powerful common denominator. While I have not heard the Seconda, it's big brother, the Quinta, currently resides in my main system and continues to amaze me with its ability to deliver the musical goods no matter what genre I throw at it.

To the descriptions above, I would add amazingly versatile, emotive, and tonally accurate.