Gianluca Madotto - the Artisan behind the Primal

Gianluca Madotto applying linseed oil to an ear cup

Meet Gianluca Madotto – the mind behind the 109 PRO Primal. Avid nature-lover, trail biker and tattoo artist in his spare time, he is an artisan at Meze Audio who made his mark by pushing the boundaries of what's possible in terms of headphone design, while paying homage to the roots of his craft. At the beginning of 2023, Gianluca embarked on a creative journey that led to the birth of the 109 PRO Primal headphones, a remarkable addition to the prestigious Art Gallery collection here at Meze Audio.


The Genesis of the 109 PRO Primal

It all began when Gianluca decided to personalize his pair of 109 PRO headphones. He wanted to infuse them with a sense of raw, primal energy and connect them with the ancient craft of knapping – the practice of shaping stone tools by striking them together. Think arrowheads crafted by early humans.

Carved wood from Maramures region

In doing so, Gianluca caught Antonio Meze’s eye, who was not just impressed; he was captivated by the concept. The idea of combining the precision of modern audio engineering, Romanian traditional woodworking elements, and the raw, instinctive feel of ancient tools appealed to his artistic sensibilities.

Inspired by Gianluca's unique vision, Antonio made the bold decision to include them in the coveted Art Gallery collection. Why bold? Because there’s a tedious process behind every single cup of the 109 PRO Primal, each step being equally important. From the careful selection of the wood grain, to the carving process itself, to the sanding and finishing, then applying the linseed oil, letting the cups rest for 24 hours in order for the oil and black walnut wood to bond, then another layer of linseed oil… not to mention the numerous stages of quality control, culminating in matching the cups to make the perfect pair. It is a laborious handmade process that takes time, effort, and careful attention to detail.


Preserving Tradition with Linseed Oil

In a departure from convention, Gianluca chose to treat the wooden earcups of the 109 PRO Primal with linseed oil instead of the usual wood lacquer. This decision was deliberate; it reflects his commitment to preserving the traditional Romanian woodworking feel. Linseed oil not only enhances the natural beauty of the wood but also protects it for generations to come.


The Significance of "Primal"

The name "Primal" was not chosen arbitrarily. It embodies the essence of these headphones – a connection to prehistoric tools and the craftsmanship of a time when the finer details weren't the main focus, but it was still art. "Primal" captures the raw, instinctive beauty of the headphones, reminding us of our ancient roots and the innate creativity of humanity.

The 109 PRO Primal offers a refreshing reminder that artistry, tradition, and a touch of primal inspiration can create something truly extraordinary. As you listen to your favorite tunes through these headphones, you're not just experiencing headphone-of-the-year grade sound quality; you're also connecting with the ancient spirit of craftsmanship that birthed them.

109 PRO Primal held by wooden hand sculpture


Find out more about the 109 PRO Primal.

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