Very few people can afford to even dream about their fantasy audio setup, especially when the highest of high-end speakers cost more than your average house.
However, for those mega-rich audiophiles for whom only the most extravagant setup will do, here is a selection of the best sounding – and most outrageous looking – audio tech created to adorn the yachts and mansions of the rich and famous.
1) Wilson Audio Alexx
Website: Wilson Audio
If ever a speaker looked as if it belonged in the home of the future, it’s the Wilson Audio Alexx. Aside from boasting that sleek sci-fi look, there’s geometry behind that design choice. The hand-built 62-inch stack weighs 400lb, offers two woofers (10-inch and 12.5-inch) two mid-rangers (5.75-inches and 7-inches) and a 1-inch tweeter. All of these can be moved independently, adjusting the sound to the listener’s preference.
2) MartinLogan Neolith
Price: £79,950 a pair
Looks more like a Ferrari than a speaker, costs about the same and is just as bloody loud. The built-to-order MartinLogan Neolith has been three years in the making and is unique due to its giant electrostatic radiating surface (which means the sound is generated by the force exerted on a membrane between two services) and the woofers that fire sound in both directions.
3) Magico Ultimate III
Price: £600,000 a pair
The result of “founder Alon Wolf’s unrestrained attempt to create the finest loudspeaker on the planet,” the Magico Ultimate III is an 8ft, 800lb loudspeaker with four horns, designed for any room where there are no neighbours within a 100 mile vicinity (kidding). Made-to-order in California, this range starts at around £14,000 but goes up to a whopping £600k.
4) Sonus Faber Aida
Website: Sonus Faber
You know when you concoct your ‘if I win the lottery’ shopping list? Well these are on ours. The gorgeous Sonus Faber Aida (pronounced Ai-ee-da) looks like a super-powered sports car made sweet love to a concert cello and the sound is just as delightful. As with most of these high-end solutions, each installation comes with a visit from a specialist to ensure they’re optimised for your mansion.
5) Kharma Grand Enigma
The Great Nature Boy Ric Flair once had a catchphrase: “My shoes cost more than your house!” Well, the same can almost certainly be said for the one-of-a-kind Kharma Grand Enigma speaker. According to reports, this Dutch-made creation resides in a Belgian’s home, presumably because the country’s entire symphony orchestra was unavailable to move in full-time.
(image via: http://www.electronichouse.com)
6) Cessaro Gamma II F-8
Website: Cessaro Home Acoustics
Cessaro promises the closest approximation you can get to live music in your home. It’ll even bring somebody around to hold their phone up in the air filming your speakers so you can’t see them. The Cessaro Gamma II F-8 recently broke cover at the Munich Audio Show and like all of the company’s modern art masterpieces, it is modular, enabling you to upgrade over time.
7) Vandersteen Model Seven Mk.II
When you want to “Exterminate” your neighbours, this Dalek-esque flagship loudspeaker model is the speaker for the job. And, if your budget is unlimited, allow us to recommend adding the liquid-cooled Vandersteen M7-HPA monoblock power amplifier (another £38,000) to your set-up. In May 2016, Stereophile Magazine praised the combo for its "true full-range sound, superb transparency and soundstaging, and a magically palpable way with recorded voices."
8) Marten Coltrane 3 Loudspeaker
Price: £365,000 a pair
After giving us ABBA and, erm, Ace of Bass, the Swedish know how good music should sound. As the manufacturer describes it, the Coltrane 3 is “a technical tour de force that brings together Marten’s most advanced research and sound engineering to date.” It looks bloody amazing too.
9) Hart Audio D&W Aural Pleasure Special Edition
Price £3.5 million a pair
Website: Hart Audio
Introduced in 2012, the special edition version of the Hart D&W Aural Pleasure was inspired by Big Ben’s largest bell. Except for the fact that wasn’t cast in 18ct gold, it’s a pretty good approximation. If this one-of-a-kind pair isn’t in your price range, then there are silver and bronze cast versions that are just £200,000 and £40,000 respectively. Bargain.
10) BeoLab 90 from Bang & Olufsen
This is a pretty nice way to celebrate 90 years in business, huh? The BeoLab 90 offers 360-degree sound and has been built to ensure an optimum listening experience wherever you are in the room and to ensure the speaker defines the sound rather than the environment. It is constructed from 65kg of aluminium, offers 18 drivers and is B&O’s “most complete loudspeaker to date”. Can’t argue with that.
Magico, Martin Logan, Sonus Faber and Wilson Audio are exclusively distributed in the UK by Absolute Sounds (www.absolutesounds.com; 020 8971 3909).