The White House's all-American hi-fi

The U.S. doesn't build TVs, iPods, cameras, or much technology, but in high-end audio, we rule! The White House should have an all-American hi-fi.

Klipsch P-39F speakers, with McIntosh electronics Klipsch

You don't see the phrase "world-class" associated with American-made consumer goods. TVs, iPods, computers, and cameras are mostly designed and built in other countries. The U.S. may be the world's leading consumer state; we just don't make the very best products here anymore.

High-end audio may be one of the few remaining industries where America still designs and builds the very best products. I'm proposing an all-American hi-fi system that could be installed in the White House. It would be the sort of hi-fi the president could, after a hard day's work solving the world's problems, use to kick out the jams. I'll volunteer my services to assemble such a system (all donated by the manufacturers).

I'd start with an Ayre DX-5 universal Blu-ray, SACD, DVD, CD, MP3 player; built in Boulder, Colorado. And when the president wants to spin vinyl, he'd use a VPI Classic turntable from Cliffwood, New Jersey. The VPI turntable would be fitted with a Grado Statement 1 phono cartridge; and for late-night listening, the president could don a set of Grado PS1000 headphones. The cartridge and headphones are hand-crafted in Brooklyn, NY.

This McIntosh tube amplifier was first introduced in 1961 and is still being made today. McIntosh
This Grado phono cartridge is hand-crafted in Brooklyn, NY Grado Labs

For electronics I selected one of the oldest and proudest names in American high-end audio, McIntosh, which still builds most of its products in Binghamton, NY. The White House system would feature McIntosh's stellar C-22 preamp and the MC75 power amplifier, which was introduced in 1961. Both components incorporate advanced tube design and updated circuitry, housed in the classic cosmetics of the original versions.

The Klipsch Palladium P-39F Tower as the White House speaker system would be just as special. Years in development, Klipsch's project engineers working in the company's technology center in Indianapolis, Indiana, collaborated on the project with engineers in Hope, Arkansas; Munich, Germany; and Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China. But the P-39F is made in Hope. I've reviewed and listened to most of the gear in this proposed system.

Just say the word, Mr. President, and I'll get it done.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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