Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Audiophiles: Where Does It End?

I'm an audiophile, although I often resist the label. Part of the reason is the tendency of the breed towards excess.

Upscale retailer Hammacher Schlemmer, who can always be counted on to go too far, has debuted this sassy little number, the Acoustic Immersion Pod.

According to the website:

This is the pod that immerses a listener in an acoustically optimized chamber, providing an enveloping audio experience with its robust six-speaker surround sound system (Play Video). Its interior is lined with open-cell acoustic foam--the same used in recording studios--that deflects, disperses, and absorbs sound waves, creating a personal sound environment that will not disturb those nearby. Providing a frequency response of 20 Hz-20 kHz for a full range of sound ideal for movies, sporting events, music, or games, the system is comprised of five 5 1/4" 40-watt mid- to high-range speakers built into the pod's ceiling (providing 80 watts peak output) and one 10" 250-watt subwoofer speaker under the seat. The system meets the 5.1 standard (the same used in commercial and home theater systems), and the subwoofer's 500-watt peak output makes the padded 17" wide seat resonate, placing a listener in the immediate vicinity of on-screen explosions, orchestral chords, or World Cup matches. Both a 5.1 and 2.1 sub-amplifier component are included to drive the speakers. High-density plastic construction. Red shell with red foam or Black with gray foam. 58" H x 34" W x 36" D. (120 lbs.)

At US$3000 it's not cheap, but few things in audiophile land are. Stylewise, it looks like something from a 1960's movie about what the future will look like. As far as how it sounds, well, I imagine that is very much in the ear of the beholder.

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