The produce of Modena has always managed to stir something in our souls, reward our senses and induce WANT! more than the collective output of a small Italian province should have the right to. From legendary Italian sports cars – and most recently Pagani – to the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – produced on the Hombre dairy farm where the Panini Motor Museum is housed – Modena just seems to have the knack of producing totally tasty items that top the desirability scale.
While chatting to Matteo Panini – after visiting the Maserati collection of the Panini Motor Museum – and trying to appear suave and sophisticated – which is really difficult when you are shoveling cheese in to your gob like its the first time your taste buds have worked – I ask him about the iXoost audio systems, the brainchild of this man from Modena.
It is not difficult to get Signor Panini talking about the subject. Matteo is a passionate man. He is passionate about nature and his farm. He is passionate about Modena and the people. He is passionate about cars and even races many of the historic Maserati in the Panini collection. Fortunately, he is also passionate about sharing his passions. As we step away from the cheese and saunter over to the iXoost showroom and workshop – located in one of the outbuildings of the dairy farm – Matteo explains how the idea germinated.
The tale of the iXoost – an iPod and iPhone dock that induces iWant – had simple enough beginnings. Matteo was looking at a particularly fine racing manifold one day (made in Modena no doubt) and, posing for a photograph, held it like he was playing a saxophone. Something clicked in Matteo’s mind and perhaps the words of Enzo Ferrari (born in Modena in 1898) resurfaced and struck a chord; “the sound of a 12-cylinder engine should be listened to as if it were a symphony.”
Between the conception of the idea and the final product lay many obstacles, however, assisted by Mirco Pecorari from Aircraft Studio Designs – designer of the dock – and Antonio Gerardi and the team at ASPA in Modena – responsible for the precision mechanicals and manual finishings – the iXoost was born. And I really want one.
Even as an objet d’art, the iXoost is a beautiful piece of sculpture worthy of the finest man-cave. The precision engineering of the manifold is accompanied by a base of solid aluminium and detailed with high-quality leather. All of the components are top quality items and the finish is flawless. And then Matteo drops his iThingy in to the dock, accesses the iXoost App (available on the App Store) and hits play.
Suddenly, there is a Formula 1 Ferrari in the room. The mechanical sound of the engine is blasted through the speakers and 140W active subwoofer as the car accelerates from zero to full shat. Acoustically, this is as close as I think you could get to hearing an F1 car in your living room. But how does it sound if you want to listen to music?
Matteo changes track and I am impressed. The warm sound from the iXoost surprises me. No hint of metal manifold or the automotive origins of the components. A crisp, clean and natural sound is emitted that could replicate Luciano Pavarotti (born in Modena in 1935) singing in the shower. Damn it. I really want one of these.
So there you have it. The iXoost. Made in Modena. Want.