One can be forgiven for wondering what could possibly justify the price tag on a loudspeaker that costs as much as a supercar. When audio designers are freed from the constraints of budget or price point, they begin to explore the outer limits of what is possible in loudspeaker design. Use of rare materials, labor-intensive manufacturing, and compelling styling results in truly extraordinary products. Some weigh several tons, others reach greater than 8 feet in height, and all have ultimate sound reproduction in common. This slideshow contains 10 great examples of what happens when audio manufacturers are limited only by their imagination and the material world. Feast your eyes on these exclusive audio titans that very few ears have heard.
If you have an extra quarter-of-a-million dollars lying around and are in the market for a three-way loudspeaker with serious bass presence, the Raidho D-5.1 is your best bet. These powerful towers sport four diamond bass drivers (featuring a layer of synthetic diamond on the cone), two diamond midrange drivers, and a ribbon tweeter, all oriented at filling a room with powerful yet non-fatiguing sound. Standing nearly 6.5 feet tall and weighing 360 pounds per loudspeaker, the massive D-5.1 can be purchased with black or walnut burl housing ($225,000 or $250,000, respectively) from select Raidho dealers worldwide. raidho.dk
Perfect8 The Force
Standing 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighing in at about 440 pounds apiece, the Force speakers from Perfect8 are like nothing else on the market, both visually and sonically. A complete set includes two of the iconic glass towers—each flanked by a gold-accented column housing ribbon tweeters—that rise above their four similarly glass-encased subwoofers. The tower’s tweeters are renowned for reproducing high frequencies with revealing clarity, and the midrange drivers perform their tasks with equal aplomb. If you want to add these to your living room setup, be prepared to shell out $566,000. perfect8.com
Kyron Audio Gaia
These speakers don’t just take cues from a modern design—they embody it. The Kyron Audio Gaia is one of the most extraordinary open-baffle loudspeaker designs on the market. These artistic creations each contain six woofers, two midrange drivers, and two tweeters, all of which feature open-baffle architecture for a wide, enveloping soundstage. Conveniently, the loudspeakers include power amplification within their housing, meaning they only require a source to play. The Gaia has won best in show awards at a variety of audio events, but such highly acclaimed quality comes with a steep price: about $250,000. kyronaudio.com.au
Robb Report | February 2017