Today I’ve been feeling a bit geeky. So I started thinking about the Hi-Fi gadgets that I would love to have but I’ll probably never do — simply because they are so atrociously expensive, and yet of so little practical value. I dug into some old, forgotten wish lists I had once drafted, secretly hoping that I would one day be rich enough to own some of those venerable gadgets. I came up with some pretty spectacular examples of stuff that would make any Hi-Fi buff drool in awe, yet would be hard to justify the price. So here goes the list of my favorite top 5 gadgets with the worst value-for-the-money proposition (in reverse order):
5. Ultrasone Edition 10 Headphones (Retail Price: $2,749). Ultrasone combines perfect aesthetics with ultra premium materials, with the latest sound technology, to create arguably the most beautiful and expensive pair of headphones. Any Edition 10 is made in Bavaria (Germany) by hand, and is limited to 2010 pieces. Forget about the too commercial to be cool Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, or the subdued Miles Davis Tribute in-ear speakers by Monster. Ultrasone’s Edition 10 is the quintessence of coolness when it comes to Hi-Fi headphones.
4. ELP Laser Turntable (Retail Price: From $7,150 to $21,010). Are you one of those audiophiles who can swear by their lives that the warmness and high resolution of analog sound from vinyl is unbeatable, even in our digital age? Do you have one of those rare vinyl records that you wish you could listen to without wearing them with your turntable’s needle? The ELP Laser Turntable series may be the right solution for you then. According to the company’s site, the laser beam can read 10 microns below the shoulder, thus picking up audio information that has never been touched/damaged by a needle. Now you can finally hear the same sound that the Beatles could hear in the studio when they were recording classics, such as “Help!” or “Yesterday.”
3. Samsung SyncMaster 820TSN-2 Touchscreen Display (Retail Price: $84,614). If you are really hooked on the simplicity of using a touchscreen, but iPad’s 9.7-inch display simply does not cut your size requirements — then Samsung’s SyncMaster 820TSN-2 may just be the perfect gadget for you. Featuring 82 inches of a touch-responsive screen, this TV also has a built-in PC, integrated speakers, and networking capabilities. Checking your email on this device would be quite the physical exercise. But Amazon gives you a nice 21% discount. So hurry up, while supplies last!
2. Pivetta Opera One amplifier (Retail Price: $650,000). Dubbed as the world’s ultimate and most expensive amp, the Opera One is designed in Italy and provides 12 channels of 1,600 watts each, for a total of 19,200 watts. It stands six feet tall and weighs over half a ton. If you really want to ensure the highest clarity for your sounds, you can get this monster of an amp at a 25% discount and with an installment plan from HigherFi.com.
1. Shape Audio’s Organic Harmony in Gold (Reportedly sold for $6,950,000). If you think owning a power amp will add too much of a techno look to your home interior, you may decide to skip the step and buy the super high-end powered speakers from Shape Audio. The company actually prefers to call its products “musical sculptures” rather than speakers. The Organic Harmony line exists in three variants — depending on the precious metal from which the speakers have been made of. The Gold one is completely unique (supposedly only one pair exists in the entire world). The Bronze model is more “pedestrian” with almost 100 units existing. The built-in amp packs 1,000 watts so you can rest assured that even your iPhone will be heard a long way from home. In case you were wondering what to buy me for Christmas, I will settle on the Bronze model. 🙂
What is your favorite object of ultimate Hi-Fi geekiness?