The Source Of The Sound

My sister visited a friend's grandfather who had an amazing, super hi-fidelity, crazy-ass speaker stereo system. Knowing I would be interested to see it, she passed along a photo. I thought you might be interested in viewing this thing of wonder yourself.


The photo also got me thinking about how all of us music listeners have different devices from which our music springs forth: iPods and mp3 players, car stereos, computer speakers, boom boxes, or the old fashion stereo console. If you are so inclined, please take a picture of the device on which you listen to music most of the time and I'll compile the photos for Friday or Monday's blog.

Send your pictures to

To start things off, here is a picture of my home stereo system (infinitely less cool than the one pictured above). I also have a boom box in the shape of a 1950s car in my kitchen (on sale at Fred Meyer many moons ago), but most of my CDs, records, and mp3s get played through this set up.




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Admit it. You really just wanted to show off that FABULOUS bureau.

Sent by Q. | 7:52 PM | 4-30-2008

what kind of speakers are those? i've got to sweep under my stereo credenza and then i'll send a photo.

Sent by l | 8:11 PM | 4-30-2008

Yeah, that is a totally great bureau. Too bad those aren't on sale at Fred Meyer. Danish?

Sent by Zoe | 8:44 PM | 4-30-2008

oooh i love your red record playerrr.

Sent by esme | 11:45 PM | 4-30-2008

She's got tofu the size of Texas!

Sent by nsf | 4:43 AM | 5-1-2008

That looks like a Project Debut turntable..? I have a black one but am out of the country so can't send a pic. I'm currently listening to The Triffids on my iPod Nano that I won in a competition, but I ain't taking a photo - you'll all have to imagine it!!

Sent by Julia | 9:52 AM | 5-1-2008

wow, grandpa's speakers look like sousaphone bells. i wonder whether that really affects the sound from the speakers or if they're mostly for show...?

I think they should just be called "grandpa's speakers" from now on. -CB

Sent by nikki | 12:36 PM | 5-1-2008

it must be strange living with those white funnels in your house...

Sent by jess | 1:58 PM | 5-1-2008

Can that guy be my grandpa, too!? What a sweet system.

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 2:14 PM | 5-1-2008

"Bureau"? That's a credenza!
A nice one, at that.

Sent by Midcentury Modern-ist | 2:15 PM | 5-1-2008

It looks like a shrine to some stereo god.

Sent by ryanjohnson | 3:29 PM | 5-1-2008

Did your sister say what the system sounded like?

Sadly, no. -CB

Sent by tim weeks | 4:56 PM | 5-1-2008

I've got a pair of Etymotic headphones. They're pretty sweet, as far as quality of sound goes, but they're no match for the above hifi system. Crazy! Also, it's so good to read the words "Fred Meyer" again. Here in Williamsburg, all I see is "Bloom" and "Ukrops." Seeing that in your entry brings me a little bit closer to home! =)

Sent by Jeff | 5:49 PM | 5-1-2008

So I've sent my stereo pics in, but I did want to share the story of the best stereo I have had an opportunity to hear. To make up for my stereo pics.

Due to an audophile's perfect storm of sorts developing on the coast of southern Maine just before Brian Wilson's Smile came out, I was able to finagle my way into a sneak preview of the album sponsored by a local record shop and Nonesuch played on a $30,000.00 stereo in the isolated sound room of Transparent Audio. (the room and stereo can be seen at

I was just about 30 at the time and had not worn ear plugs to numerous loud live shows so probably about $29,850.00 worth of the sound was wasted on me, but it still sounded absolutely amazing.

The kicker is that the album tracks were delivered by the man who mastered the album, Bob Ludwig. He played a few of the tracks without the vocals at the end of the listen and talked a little about mastering the album.

For a Brian Wilson nut, it turned something already mythical into that much more of an epic experience. I didn't wash my ears for a month after.

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 6:05 PM | 5-1-2008

Love that credenza! Aesthetically a brilliant set up; I'm sure the sound is on par as well.

Sent by David | 7:44 PM | 5-1-2008

I splurged on some nice audiophile stuff when I had a good job a few years ago, but I rarely use it because loud music stresses out my beloved dogs.

So, I generally rock the Grado headphones.

Sent by mikey | 4:06 AM | 5-2-2008

I broke an audiophile addiction several years ago and today prefer spending my money on concert tickets and new recordings (it's the music, stupid!). That said, I recognize your equipment--it's all good stuff--you are good to go.

I also recognize grandpa's stereo equipment as pretty much the most expensive you can buy. Take a look at that room, though. First the garden is a hell of a lot prettier to look at then all that junk. What a waste! Second the sound in the room must be absolutely awful with all that glass in the background. Gives me a headache thinking about how bright it must sound.

Sent by Vggbrgr | 12:35 PM | 5-2-2008

Please elaborate on the item on the rt. of the credenza : its make, its function, its non-tofu-ness.

Sent by nsf | 11:52 PM | 5-2-2008

first guess would be glyph horns as seen in the old whole earth catalog. designed by john meyer for sound snobs.

Sent by hiltz | 3:41 PM | 5-3-2008

Those big horn speakers are Avantegarde Trios. Avantegarde is one of the leading makers of high-end horn speakers (the same basic technology in use since the 1930s). Amazing thing about these is that they need only a few watts to make a big noise (109 db/w/m sensitivity, for those who care). Yes, they're expensive, but not the most expensive speakers out there by a long way.

Nice gear you've got. Always warms an audiophile's heart to see someone who appreciates good equipment who isn't one of us addicted sorts.

Sent by Fred von Lohmann | 9:49 PM | 5-3-2008

That shit looks like something out of Dr. Seuss.

Sent by Jaime | 1:59 PM | 5-4-2008

I WANT THAT LAMP! (it's a lamp, right?)

Sent by jojo | 3:51 PM | 5-5-2008

I applaud the above observation and its idiom.

Sent by nsf | 4:40 AM | 5-6-2008

love the mid century modern stereo set up. you could be in dwell.

Sent by megan | 8:40 PM | 5-20-2008

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