based purely on looks I like Nagra for solid state components and Air Tight for tube gear. The Luxman aesthetic is nice as well.
92 responses Add your response
Thanks, I will take a look.
I have spent most of my audiophile adult life based on the sonics...and I just kind of recognized how much cosmetics have been part of my private life, business life and enjoyment, but seemed to hold that back on being a factor in my audio pursuit. The only overt "liked the way it looked" product I can remember was the CJ ART preamp.
With his rat's nest of cables and random boxes spread across a sea of 1971-vintage Marriott hotel red carpet, MC's room looks like a collision between an accident reconstruction lab at Failure Analysis and a Las Vegas brothel. I'm shocked MC hasn't been contacted by Home & Garden magazine or Architectural Digest for a cover shot yet.
Well designed and good looking, hmmm.... #16. Best part is, you can't have one. Unless you buy mine. And its not for sale! 😉 https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367#&gid=1&pid=16
the whole audiogon community knows what your system looks like, no need to keep posting it. it’s getting old.....
So, are you telling me I should not post images of my 1969 Craig system with the 8 track and 4 "slider" equalizer section? It does have those wonderful speakers with the inverted funnel over the speaker to "disperse" the sound in a "360" pattern so everyone can enjoy "Perfect Sound Forever"...?
I like the looks of Accuphase gear and their solid state stuff is decent as far as solid state goes. For tube gear, VAC is nice looking and the no-nonsense look of Engstrom Sound sort of appeals to me.
But, I must admit I care very little about the look. An Audio Note dealer once had be listen to the top of the line AN-E speaker he had in the shop. It sounded really good, so I inquired about the amps that were running the speakers. He looked at me like I was an idiot because the amps were the Audio Note Kageki; I own a pair of Kageki. I did not recognize the amp because the first thing I did when I put it in my system was to install it backwards (ass forward) because the power switch is hard to reach at the back of the amp. I had only seen the backside of that amp for years.
When Vitus Audio first came on the market, a friend and I saw their room at CES. There was a very young man who was manning the room. After we had listened for a bit, he came over and asked what we thought of the gear. My friend responded: "It sounds like crap, but it looks really nice." The young man was thrilled with that response; it turns out he designed the casework and had nothing to do with the circuitry.
+1 on the Mac gear, I've always loved the look and a LOT of the Mac sound..
My Cary V12r is a beauty with sound to match..
Just heaven to listen to small planars with..
VMPS RMx Elixirs. Still have a pair and still love the look.. I love the sound even more. Though it has been 2 years.
I've been listening to RM30, I can't seem to break the spell... Easier to move too.. :-)
I like the look of them all dolled up too, VMPS RM30s.
I don't care about the looks of my equipment per say, since I never really look at it as most of it sits by my side. But I do care greatly about the looks of the wall behind my speakers in my house of stereo since that's what I always look at. Hence it features artwork and color tones I can relate to and relax in. If my room looked like a science lab in front of me, even with a million dollar system in it, I would have very little enjoyment. To me the music experience is more than just the ears, it also involves every other senses. Just me.
If my room looked like a science lab in front of me, even with a million dollar system in it, I would have very little enjoyment.
But what if it looked like a science experiment accompanied by a backdrop created with cheap, red, pealing wallpaper paired with wainscoting reminiscent of Kandy Kitchen in the malls? Would that help your overall sensory experience and musical enjoyment?
Black boxes--since everyone buys them, that must be what everyone wants. Serious answer?-- Dodd Audio. Gorgeous wood fascia. Or how about putting marble faceplates on those black boxes--and the buyer chooses his/her favorite rock, like kitchen counters? (Acora makes speakers out of granite...and they even sound wonderful too). P.S. I like exposed, glowing tubes.
Another vote for Luxman, at least their amps. If you are into vintage equipment, Bang and Olufsen years ago made a beautifully designed turntable. Their Beogram 4002 model was on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in their Architecture and Design gallery. I like the current look of much of the current Magico speaker line. Kind of a modern industrial look to them.
Don't know much modern gear so I'll list some vintage. Tandberg receivers, Marantz 2130, REL Precedent tuner; if you like Art Deco you'll like those last two.
+1 on the B&O, Luxman, vintage Mac and 80's Technics gear. JBL 250Ti speakers.
Dan D'Agostino amps are kind of cool looking in a ridiculously overbuilt and in-your-face steam punk kind of way.
I sold Tandberg receivers in college and I would agree that they are really beautiful. Rosewood cabinet and blue lit dials.
My 17 year old self was enthralled by the look of the GAS Ampzilla in Popular Electronics. I saw the real deal a few months later in an audio show, and had to have them. Cool meters!
So I built it...and after three rebuilds, it anchors my system yet again. I love looking at it, and it sounds remarkably good too, recapped with better capacitors and better driver and output transistors.
Millercarbon, I may not agree with your comments sometimes, but you obviously put great care into the details of your system and I am sure it sounds stupendously great. Your amplifier is beautiful.
Good to have friendly input. Tis not the season to be curt or ill mannered. If you are somewhat new to AudiogoN, the mood around here is generally one of camaraderie.
Camaraderie | Definition of Camaraderie by Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)
I’ve always felt that Musical Fidelity equipment was nice looking, even though I don’t have any.
McIntosh and Pass Labs gear is always great looking. Dodd preamps sound and look good. Most tube gear is cool especially in the evening.
I think it’s a combination of good sounding gear, stands, room treatment, organization and decoration. The system I idolize the most on Audiogon is by Lalitk, he calls it “A slice of Heaven”. His combination of cool gear and room treatment is outstanding. I’d love to hear it.
I privately study modern (post 1950) product and interior design. Hi-Fi design is of particular interest. To my eyes two Hi-Fi brands are at the pinnacle of design, where form meets function in perfect industrial design.
1. Naim ’olive’ series. This was the Naim design in the 1990s when they were arguably at their peak. So simple, so perfect. The ultimate interpretation of the stripped down ’black box’. Naim were ahead of the curve: their minimalist design which had been part of their DNA since the 70s, was not embraced into wider product design until Johnny Ive created the iPod and Apple made the look ubiquitous. Clean minimalistic interiors moved out of Scandinavia into the rest of Europe in the late 1990s - whilst Naim were there already.
2. Vitus electronics. To the OP - you will know better than anyone the beauty of Scandinavian design if you ran a shop selling it, and to me the Danish Vitus brand is the epitome of sleek, cool, minimalist Scandinavian design. And even better, they make the best sounding amps I have ever heard!
My home is designed in an "ultra-modern" way.
1. The Focal Sopra No 2 including center and sub are a very striking piece of speaker art, and have great sound too.
2. The Dalie Menuet SE is a beautiul small speaker that makes a bold statement, along with impressive sound for such a small package.
3. The Devialet Phantom Gold with Oak Stand doubles as both sculpture and audiophile heaven, especially on the bass.
My audio equipment is spaced throughout my home, and is often seen while it is not in use. My goal was to "have it all," looks and sound. I believe that my system is getting there.
Well, back in the day, Bang and Olufsen was the "design" audio company. Their stuff was middle-of-the-road in sound and it broke pretty much like the rest of the stuff in that sound range, but it was pretty.
We made some oak stands for it that we sold to our customers who wanted their stuff to be seen, but we were in the custom cabinet business as well, so we did like to sell the wall units and free-standing stuff more.
I don't follow them any more, but in the '70s and '80's we sold a ton of their stuff, and it was "designed" by people into Scandinavian design.
We also kept a Transcriptor TT in out shop; it does not actually play records, but it is pretty!
"...their minimalist design which had been part of their DNA since the 70s, was not embraced into wider product design until Johnny Ive created the iPod and Apple made the look ubiquitous."
I believe that Jony Ive "took cues" (plagiarized?) the design from Dieter Rahms rather than from Naim.
How Dieter Rams Inspired Some Apple Products – UltraLinx (theultralinx.com)
And then....Apple patented some of their shapes and even tried to protect the white color, I think.
Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Tapio Wirkkala, George Nelson and many other designers from the middle of the last Century until now have designed some great consumer products.
And like most "things", this list is a beginning rather than an end. Enjoy.
My Consonance Droplet 5.0 CD player would be at home in any Art Deco listening room. It looks like miniature UFO.
I recently bought a McIntosh headphone amplifier. You can’t tell me that the green glass and blue meters aren’t a factor in the purchasing decision of this expensive equipment. They have always appealed to me.
Also, I can't claim that the clear plexiglass enclosure didn't influence my purchase of a JA Michell GyroDec turntable.
I have no good looking sources, unless I count Altmann Tera Player; Mac Mini does not count, either. Pass D1 DAC is not bad looking (as well as that generation of preamps).I like the looks of Pass Labs Aleph power amps, esp. the big ones (Aleph 1, 1.2 and 4). Unfortunately Aleph 4 struggles with low efficiency, low impedance speakers.
Early Madrigal MLs are nice, in particular 23, 27, 28; and 26, but that one I have not seen in the flesh.
As for loudspeakers, Gradient 1.5 Helsinki have the looks and the sound to match; probably my room is a little too big for them (45 sqm / 500 sq. feet with a couple of large openings).
MBL 101c look great, I only wish I had the original stands, And they need a sub (by the sound of it, they need to be relieved from the lowest bass, as this model has nothing but three radialstrahler drivers).
And headphones. AKG 701 are nice, Ultrasone Ed. 8 Ltd. are posh, but the cushions fall off, beyerdynamic T5P are good looking (but have a fragile cable), Senn HD 600 look good, too; beyerdynamic 1350 also are good looking, but not very comfortable.
Larry, it is not always the women. I did architecture and interior design for years, even taught. Most of the best industrial design, architecture and MOMA consumer products were designed by men. Very few Ferraris, Porsche, Packards and others were designed by women. Women can and do design great things. But to say that men goober anything up not true...who designed and built that building you are living in or the car you drive or most of the furniture in your home? Do a Google search with the word Bauhaus or name Raymond Loewy....just for a basic beginning.
Do google/ebay for great designers, buildings, homes, cars, coffee pots and more and see which gender designed them. Like men are bad cooks, the vast majority of world class restaurants I have been to have a man for head chef.....not to mention the aircraft I flew on to get there. Both genders can excel.