The world of luxury AV gear: No cash limit audio

How can pair of speakers, an amp or turntable cost more than your house, and who are the crazies that buy them? Anthony Fordham shines a light into the world of luxury AV gear.

Do you ever get the Buyer’s Remorse? When you’ve dropped $2,000 or more on a single piece of tech, and no matter how awesome it actually turns out to be, you still feel that kind of terrified hollow feeling in your wallet? Well, take that feeling and multiply it by two hundred, because that’s how much some people are prepared to spend on audiovisual gear.

We’re talking the very, very top end of the market. An end so high, it sort of snaps off the scale and floats away into the stratosphere, so rarefied are its adherents.

You’ve seen the products on this very website, in the You Wish articles. You think the companies that make those $200,000 speakers can’t sell them? According to the retailers we spoke to, they sell them easily.

But how exactly is it possible for a pair of speakers to be worth more than your house? How can you justify spending the cost of a luxury car on a mono bloc amplifier? And if CD is a digital medium, and the player just spits out a line of ones and zeroes, how can it command the sort of price you normally associate with a full kitchen renovation?

Obviously, these products are well made, by hand. Obviously, they use the very best components, in the very best designs. But to get the full story, we had to talk to the retailers who literally put their livelihoods on the line in their belief in these products.

Read on, to find out who buys a $400,000 stereo, what he (it’s almost always a he) gets for it, and how he chooses from a surprisingly large range of absolutely beautiful components.