Hammacher Schlemmer offers $4K iPod speaker system | iLounge News

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Hammacher Schlemmer offers $4K iPod speaker system

imageHammacher Schlemmer is now selling a $4,000 tube-based iPod speaker system. Scheduled to ship on January 20th, the system produces a “luxurious warmth and clarity prized by audiophiles and previously difficult to reproduce outside of custom-built amplifiers of a handful of live musicians.”

“Developed and built by German audio technicians, the system consists of an aluminum-encased amplifier housing four powerful Class-A tubes which glow gently as they generate warm, low-octave sound that is virtually distortion-free, considered by audiophiles to be the most pleasing to the human ear,” says the store. “The tube amplifier smoothes over distortions found in modern digital recordings while helping to compensate and minimize the quality loss inherent in compressed audio such as MP3s. The matching double-cone, full-range speakers—designed solely for use with this system—faithfully generate warm, realistic tones using a single, highly synchronized chassis per speaker (reducing ill-timed and out of phase audio).”

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Comments

1

My entire set of tube mid-fi:
tube CD player, tube pre-amp, tube DAC, Tube power amp, 4 power cords ( each weighs about 3 kg), signal cables, antique tubes…....and floor stand speakers cost less than 4K.

Posted by William on January 2, 2006 at 7:18 AM (PDT)

2

Exactly what I was going to point out William! But then an iFool and his money are easily parted….. you got to be rolling in it and be stuck for something to buy to get this….

Posted by Piarco75 on January 2, 2006 at 8:00 AM (PDT)

3

Wait, didn’t a similar product come out years ago?

Posted by Cameron T. on January 2, 2006 at 8:46 AM (PDT)

4

$4,000 and you don’t even get a dock?  You get a lousy line-in, but they didn’t bother to build in a dock?

Posted by Marc O. on January 2, 2006 at 9:47 AM (PDT)

5

holy boxed bankrolls batman, what a rip-off!

Posted by photofire on January 2, 2006 at 10:07 AM (PDT)

6

This just boggles the iMind wink

Even assuming the hardware was worth the money, if you’ve got $4K to drop on a sound system, you could do so much better by running everything from a dedicated box with everything stored as lossless anyhow. What exactly would possess someone to buy the “best” sound system money can buy and then fuel it with a 192 kbps mp3 or AAC just leaves me with my scalp bleeding from all the head scratching.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 2, 2006 at 10:19 AM (PDT)

7

This IS Hammacher Schlemmer, after all. The “real” price is probably half that $4K price tag.  BTW, my Mark Levinson amp purchased over a decade ago makes that $4K price tag look like pocket change, with nary a tube in the stack. Or pre-amp and interconnects. Price is indeed relative.

I agree w/ CM, however; it’s moronic to think that an “audiophile” would settle for an 128k AAC file as a music source, regardless of HS’s mark-up.

At least HS didn’t mark up a Conrad-Johnson stack. Now THAT would’ve been obscene.

Posted by flatline response on January 2, 2006 at 11:37 AM (PDT)

8

I ran a story on this system on Retrothing.com in the September. It’s produced by a German company: http://www.retrothing.com/2005/09/hell_freezes_ov.html

Posted by james on January 2, 2006 at 11:46 AM (PDT)

9

...you needn’t assume that this “high quality” system is necessarily being fed by 128kpbs AAC files.

correctly configured, you can produce audibly transparent mp3’s (using LAME), so that’s certainly a possibility.

i would, however, like to point out richard clark’s challenge as to the ‘distinguishability’ of tube amps…still not sure i buy that; i put it in the ‘marketing’ category, along with several other things.

Posted by shawn on January 2, 2006 at 1:21 PM (PDT)

10

”...you needn’t assume that this “high quality? system is necessarily being fed by 128kpbs AAC files.”

I wasn’t making that assumption. However, the only reason I’m using compressed music in the first place is I don’t have the funds to be running my music off of a terrabyte+ server with complete backup, and I could do that for a lot less than $4K.

Clearly a product for someone with more money than sense and who puts the appearance of quality before actual quality.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 2, 2006 at 1:45 PM (PDT)

11

Well said Code Monkey.  I agree completely.

Posted by ucfgrad93 on January 2, 2006 at 8:57 PM (PDT)

12

It came out about 1 year ago.

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/goldster-audio-debuts-tube-amp-and-speakers-for-ipod/

Posted by Robert on January 3, 2006 at 6:16 PM (PDT)

13

Whizzer cones. Nice. Those drivers look like stock car speakers from the 70’s. I know, I know, some “audiphile” is going to say that the whizzer cone extends the frequency of the driver without adding a tweeter which does blah blah blah to the imaging or whatever. It still looks goofy. Maybe some grill cloth, No wait, that will disperse the high blah blah blah and cause blah phase blah.
I’m sure it’s a joy to be able to afford a system like that, that’s about all.
BTW, I’ve never felt inclined to comment about any accessory yet and I check this site every day, this just seems especially repulsive.

Posted by RCB on January 3, 2006 at 10:30 PM (PDT)

14

RCB, I have never commented as well, and I recall reading the first realted posting of this about 1 year ago.  At that time, no price was mentioned.
But after witnessing the listed price…I find it….anyway.  I did a bit and research and found the followings:
“1 x ECL 82 / 6BM8 1- and 7 Watts plate-dissipation (pre and driver stage)
1 x 6AS7 G dual-power-triode 2 x 13 Watts plate-dissipation (Power Amplification)” for each channel- how much power is that?  The power is similar a 200W mini hi-fi.  While ECL 82 single tube for preamp will cause distortion when the volume is turned to about 70%.
Single Drive with 88db for sensitivity when playing MP3 with a small preamp?! No comments.  Just don’t ask for details, imaging and layers.
 
From the audiophiles (Only a beginner) point of view, it is only good for a 9 by 9 room where you have to use the “one third” setup to make it sound nice.  Just my 2 cents.

Posted by William on January 4, 2006 at 7:39 AM (PDT)

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