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Out of This World

There’s only one good reason to buy the world’s most exotic and expensive audio products: because you love music. Buy a Ferrari and everyone will know you have a Ferrari. Buy Wilson Audio’s $26,900-per-pair Sophia W/P speakers and no one but you and your houseguests will see them-and your guests probably won’t recognize the brand any more readily than they’d recognize the sound of Chu Berry or Serge Chaloff.

That’s the nature of super-high-end audio. Most of the products are made by companies few people have ever heard of, sold at stores they’ve never visited, and sometimes so far removed from ordinary components that they might not even recognize them as audio gear. The speakers might weigh hundreds of pounds. The amps might use tubes instead of transistors. The system probably won’t be sourcing material from iTunes, and it might not even have a CD player. And the prices will be more in line with what you’re used to paying for a car than what you’re used to paying for an audio system.

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