All of the speakers we feature here in You Wish punch well above the weight of the average stereo system, and not just in terms of performance. Speakers actually weighing 100-plus kilos are the norm, but none go quite as far as the Arvus Prerenaissance.

Even before we get to performance, the sheer physicality of these speakers will take your breath away. Especially if you try to lift one, because it’s 2.25 metres tall and weighs 348 kg.

Arvus calls the Prerenaissance a quad-chamber, quasi five-way active DSP corrected loudspeaker system. It also uses Arvus’ trademark Hypacoustic technology.

Hypacoustic was originally developed for cinemas, because Arvus founder Matthew Simmons says, psychologically, audio makes its biggest impact in the first 100 milliseconds – and that’s precisely when most speakers distort.

In fact Arvus claims its loudspeaker systems engage people emotionally, and Hypacoustic technology has been so successful in the select New Zealand cinemas in which you’ll find it, it’s managed to drag people away from their DVDs and back into the matinees.

Let’s rock

Arvus-Prerenaissanc-two.j...But back to these amazing speakers. That the Prerenaissance intends to make a design statement should be obvious. Arvus says it took design cues from all the world’s beautiful machines: musical instruments, high-end sports cars (the Prerenaissance is often photographed alongside the Maserati Granturismo) yachts and their scientific keels, even the Coca Cola bottle.

And of course, from nature the female torso gets a nod.

The plinth is hand-carved from a solid block of Indian granite, so there’s not much chance of you knocking it over during one of your exclusive cocktail parties.

Though if you did use the Prerenaissance for party music, conversation might be difficult. The system packs 4000 watts RMS power output, with three channels of amplification per speaker.

The curve on the front panel focuses the sound, but you can select from a distance of three metres all the way up to ten.

The active variable frequency response is 87dB to 120dB and the system responds flat from 0 to 87dB, thanks to that trademarked Hypacoustic tech. Room-corrected frequency response at the selected focal length is 17Hz up to 43kHz, and crossover frequencies occur at 240Hz and 3570Hz. The system has a maximum continuous output of 120dB.

What’s in a name?

Arvus-Prerenaissance-Pre-...What’s the deal with the name? Well Arvus claims – rather coyly – the company has been working on a revolutionary new loudspeaker technology that is radically different from the conical drivers we take for granted.

According to Simmons, Renaissance Loudspeaker Technology (or RLT) has been in development for eight years and still needs another two or three years of work: he’s expecting a launch in 2011.

But it seems fans of Arvus can’t wait another two or three years. Simmons says the company was actually pressured into creating and releasing the speakers you see here. And on a promise of a sale from a close friend, the project went ahead and this is the result.

Arvus says this is the last set of speakers it will produce using traditional drivers. It’s the final release before the Renaissance. Thus: Prerenaissance.

The system will set you back $140,000. But that’s in US dollars so depending on the state of the Aussie at the time you read this, could mean up to $250,000. And don’t forget to take into account customs charges.

Worried you don’t have the fortitude to install a 696 kg speaker system and its custom pre-amp crossover, or concerned you lack the quarter-century of acoustic engineering experience you need to set it up in a way that does it justice?

Don’t worry: as part of the package, Arvus will fly a technician to your location to install and configure the whole thing. Even if you’re one of those Bond-style supervillains who lives in a volcano.

Just so long as your mansion has a minimalist polished concrete forecourt with a Stromboli Grey Maserati Granturismo (or Ferrari 430 Scuderia at a pinch) parked in it, the Arvus Prerenaissance will feel right at home.