19 Amazing Massive Stereos

19 Amazing Massive Stereos

Giant stereos are everywhere — on the shoulders of cool ’90s teens, in the living rooms of finance fat cats, and on the stages of face-melting electronic shows. Even though we have iPods and discreet speakers now, awesome huge systems haven’t gone anywhere.

About 140 years before everyone became a DJ, Thomas Edison accidentally invented the phonograph. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images [clear]

In the early 1900s, artist Luigi Russolo created this “noise machine” for his futurist symphonies. Every time adults call a teenager’s music “noise”, Russolo’s legacy lives on. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images [clear]

Back in 1926, the USDA was in on the giant stereo game, as you can see from this photo of bug scientist W.J. Walton. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images [clear]

This guest at the UK’s 1947 National Radio Exhibition, in Olympia, is shocked at the size and sound coming out of the HMV machine — it had a record player, pop-up TV and two speakers. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images [clear]

In 1965, stereos had to be big. It takes a lot of cabinet to fit a tuner, receiver, speakers and a record player. Better make it stylish. Photo: Three Lions/Getty Images [clear]

This 1960s set up seems giant, but it was made for a doll house. Photo: diepuppenstubensammlerin [clear]

This is a 1974 advertising photo for a Zenith Allegro F736W Quadrille system. It’s not, actually, a photo from the set of Austin Powers. Photo: magazine scan [clear]

More contemporary styles can still have classic aesthetics — Arcadian Audio’s Pnoe Horn is inspired by an upside-down tuba. Photo: Arcadian Audio [clear]

The Avant Garde trio shows design cues from the earliest phonographs. Photo: Avantgarde Acoustic [clear]

Others borrow styles from different industries — the speaker outputs of this aluminium and carbon fibre Pagani system come out of a tail pipe. Not surprising, since it’s designed by a car maker. Photo: Pagani [clear]

There’s a reason the Pivetta Opera One, a 1.8m-tall monster that weighs 450kg, looks like it first appeared on a space ship — the outside is made of aeronautic aluminium. Photo: Only Creative [clear]

The 1980s were an apex for giant stereo design. Gemme Audio’s Vflex Katana Itokawa is a more recent model, but you can easily imagine it in Patrick Bateman’s living room from American Psycho. Photo: Gemme Audio [clear]

This crazy sound system cost around $US1.4 million and has an output of 40,000 watts. Enough to knock your face right off your head. Photo: Jan Bauer/AP [clear]

Wouldn’t you love to have this Wilson Mezzo set in your home? It’s more accessible than the $US1.4 million system, but you’ll still need more than $US10,000 to get it. Photo: Wilson Audio [clear]

This A Capella machine goes by the name Excalibur. How could it not? Photo: Acapella [clear]

This two-channel system is designed by five different Swedish companies. You won’t find it in IKEA. Photo: Swedish Statement [clear]

Magico’s Ultimate II has 200-watt amplifiers, measures 2.3m tall and weighs 360kg. Photo: Magico [clear]

Gargantuan stereos are still a big business. Shown last week at the Gothenburg Show, the Wilson Sasha is one of the most pleasant new ways to blow out your ear drums. Photo: Wilson Audio/Facebook [clear]

But even some contemporary models maintain a classic aesthetic. The DaVinci Audio Reference Turntable Mk II, currently one of the highest-fidelity turntables in the world, looks like it came straight out of the 1960s. But it’s actually just a year old. Photo: DaVinciAudio [clear]

Top image: dual.pytalhost.eu