High Style In High-End Audio
You don't need to be an Audiophile OG to chill with a sense of style.
Have been taking photos of audiophile gear for many decades, and am always impressed by the creative flow of many designs. Below are a very small sampling of the incredibly talented engineering and design by a variety of high-end audio manufacturers. Please note that photo descriptions are also vintage, so some products may not be available and / or pricing has changed. Enjoy!
From Top Audio Milan 2005 Show Report
Oh by Tutondo had perhaps the most stylish purpose-built listening chair as a pair of their dual cone round loudspeakers are placed right and left of the listener at precise placement as acoustic foam wraps around the remaining section behind the listener. Perhaps it is another offshoot of headphone listening? A small subwoofer on the floor assists in producing the lowermost frequencies. Alas, it is not for sale but the total price is about €1000 for the chair and €1300 according to the loudspeaker representative. So here is a hint to anyone reading this. You have a photo and basic design idea, now get to building it and you're welcome. All i ask is for a review sample. :)
South African company Vivid Audio had their stylish loudspeaker designs on display with their B1 (€12,000) three-way and K1 ($16,000) larger four-way. They are a bipolar (perhaps like your ex-lover ;) ) with bass drivers also/appearing on the rear. The designer of these loudspeakers is the same gentleman who did B&W designs. Notice the circa 2005 McIntosh stereo amplifier, which looks very much like their 2019 model. Some fashion / styles are timeless.
Ikarus Audio had their Vivaldi preamplifier (€2500) and a matching stereo amplifier (€2800). The ever-so-sexy tube is a 316A that produces 5 Watts per channel and looked erotic! While you will not find this at your local dealer, they do indeed sell directly to customers worldwide. Besides, the 300B amplifier you have probably needs a break, and thus time for a change.
From HIGH END 2007 Show In Munich
Now imagine yourself an engineer who loves vinyl. You have no life, no wife, plenty of metal fabrication machines and want to build the ultimate vision of what you feel the 'ultimate' turntable should be. The above photo might be what you would construct. Forget the gentleman's name who created it (send me an e-mail and we'll add it), yet this is indeed the #1 Rube Goldberg turntable I've ever seen. "A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, generally including a chain reaction."
Filed under "we need more color orange in hi-fi land", Beyerdynamic had a booth with plenty of listening opportunity for the head-fi'er. Many new products were launched at this show including their DT860, DT660, and DT440. The new headphone amplifier, A1 (€990), is solid state and an outstanding frequency response from 1Hz to 100kHz! Of course low noise and maximum 18dB amplification.
Forget about your Fire Stick or that Google dongle thingy, as in 2007 we had Soundcast's iCast and AudioCast, where the white unit is transmitter while the black is the receiver (€99 for each unit). The iCast (€149) allows for mounting an iPod for use and charging.
From AXPONA 2013
The first thing you see when entering AXPONA are speakers by Mancave Metal. He is simply an artist whilst speaker manufacturer Legacy handles the drivers, crossover work, etc. They make the custom cabinet out of metal... for a mere $70,000.
Colorful reel-to-reel in action! Here's a United Home Audio Phase 11S reel-to-reel tape machine with special Celtic Cross artwork ($19,000 for playback model, $26,000 for the playback/record).
Some speakers may sound a bit laid back, yet have you seen any that look the part too? I vote we call these floorstanders Snoop Dog.
From RMAF 2012
Cabasse speakers made a very good showing here at RMAF 2012. Very nice point-source multi-driver design. Their large floorstander looks like something right out of a sci-fi flick!
Sometimes the driver itself is artwork. Here we have KEF's LS50 speaker driver in focus.
From the New York Audio Show 2013
Love is always in style with Israel Blume and his muse Evie Rein. Coincident Speaker Technology's Turbo 845SE tubed stereo amplifier is constructed as true dual mono in every way as the only shared component between the two channels is the chassis. The Turbo has the convenience of remote control and having the linestage and stereo amplifier all in one chassis. Coincidence's Turbo has an enormous power supply and generates 28 Watts per channel via 6EM7 tube for input and a 300B driver per channel.
Symbol had their cool retro all-in-one system Modern Record Console $26,500. Anyone on Facebook or who regulars Enjoy the Music.com's Industry News page has seen these over a year ago. In person, it does look retro cool indeed! No "nice beaver" jokes, please.
And lastly, the world's most photographed pair of headphones is without a doubt the Audeze LCD-3 Steampunk Edition. Only one pair of these were made by the manufacturer. Close friends of mine, and those attending AXPONA, have fashionably rocked these too!
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