A rock concert blasts 105 decibels into your ear holes. And, though your neighbors might curse the day you moved in, you can re-create that level of acoustic insanity in your living room, basement, or whatever personal sound cave suits you. WARNING—cranking up the volume can lead to bad sound. But have no fear: If carefully constructed, a high-end audio setup can knock you back in your seat, without losing its fidelity.
Even with bass rumbling, the Technics SL-1200GR turntable won’t skip. The aluminum platter (a.k.a. the playing surface) has a rubber lining, the footings are silicone, and polymer tubes string through the body—all absorbing bad vibes. $1,700 (needle cartridge sold separately).
The preamp gets an audio signal ready for the amplifier to crankify. Unlike many big-box-store—even high-end—models, the Audio Research GSPre has inputs for modern devices and a circuit, complete with a pair of vacuum tubes, devoted to turntables. $15,000.
Delivering 450 watts apiece to two speakers, the McIntosh MC452 is among the loudest stereo amps. Ironically, though, it makes quiet work of pushing out massive sound. Inside the 110-pound behemoth, each channel has two amps that cancel out one another’s tremors. $8,000.
The midrange driver (the one for guitars and vocals) on the Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 rings true at high volumes. A new woven composite stops vibrating faster than its Kevlar predecessor. Meanwhile, a 1-inch tweeter pings highs, and two 10-inch subwoofers go low. $30,000 (pair).
This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Popular Science.