The unobtainum mystique

Sure, it seems like everybody knows about high-end watches, cars, clothes, yachts, private jets, what about high-end audio?

Steve Guttenberg
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 Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

Does the average Joe Six-Pack reader of Car and Driver magazine ever think he's going to buy a Ferrari or Lamborghini? Probably not, so why are most car magazine covers graced with only the most exotic rides?

The New York Times readership may be an upscale group, but I doubt too many of them are buyers of $26,500 Hermes Sable-and-Crocodile Kelly Muffs or $23,155 Yves Saint Laurent sweaters embroidered by Lesage. Especially nowadays, shouldn't the Times (Sunday) Magazine be running lavish spreads of affordable clothes? No, that would be boring!

Zanden Audio's seriously upmarket Model 2000T CD transport Zanden Audio

Let's face it, uber goods sell magazines, readers are fascinated by the mystique of unobtainum. We want to read about ultimate stuff, built without compromise. No one complains if the $1,657,000 Bugatti Veyron super car is only a wee bit faster than a $105,000 Chevy ZR1 Corvette. The Bugatti is faster, looks cooler, and it's way more exclusive. You don't have to justify super cars on any practical basis, they exist because there's a market for them (and good paying jobs for people who build, sell, and service luxury products).

Me, I'm amazed that virtually every high-end market has that sort of broad recognition, and who knows, if one of the readers wins the lottery or inherits wads of cash they'll be primed to rush out and buy the good stuff.

But high-end audio is pretty much a secret to the masses, hey, Donald Trump probably has a Bose Wave Radio in each room of his many mansions.

That's why the Audiophiliac is always trotting out high-end audio goodies. I want you guys to at least know they exist. If you get lucky you'll know better. I'm just doing my part.