Without a doubt the loudspeaker is that most critical and contentious and potentially rewarding single piece of investment in audio that most of us make.

I would put a pair of good loudspeakers on the podium of consumerism above the ownership of a car, house, or kitchen.

There are few things in life that one can procure that will give such genuine pleasure for such a long period of time.

In the west we tend to obsess over our motor cars. Lygon St at times seems to be inhabited by a veritable parade of German and Italian luxury vehicles. I really wonder at the user satisfaction after the initial acquisitional honeymoon glow has worn off.

Cars are intrinsically functional devices that mostly take us on our daily grind. A Ferrari in a traffic jam is just a hot cramped and expensive way to be late for work.

In fact a good set of speakers in your car is a great way of mitigating the caged stress and boredom of your urban driving experience. 

My normal riposte when I show a novitiate potential customer a pair of loudspeakers worth tens of thousands dollars and they say “you can buy a car for that!” is to point out the sheer long term boredom, frustration, financial loss, and planetry burden of the normal car ownership experience.

By contrast a good set of speakers will make you feel good every time you see them in your room and even better when you play music through them.

People generally go through an evolution of loudspeakers. Typically their first pair may be a large boxy bassy thing that plays loud without finesse but is useful fuel for parties and general carousing. Traditionally this would have entailed a lot of AC/DC and a pair of house brand speakers with go louder fins from a chain store. Think the “Dominator X1” from the movie Ruthless People.

 This may be followed as they move out of their shared accommodation or parent’s house into a steady relationship with a pair of good quality bookshelf speakers that are more refined with good fidelity and imaging and may have been purchased carefully through audition from a specialist Hi Fi business.

Speakers like these are our bread and butter and they often have a client life cycle of decades. You might think that is a bit of a downer for repeat business if a client doesn’t need to replace their product for thirty years, however at least in Melbourne we have found that there have been more ladders rather than snakes in the Rakes progress of the urban Hi Fi and music fan.

 If the aforesaid consumer is lucky enough to pass through young children and a mortgage with some life and funding to spare, they often come back to us for the third stage of loudspeaker acquisition. This is the good one. This is where they are looking to get the loudspeaker that is up to the task of encompassing all of their life track musical experiences and potentially being their main entertainment partner for the rest of their time on this earth.

 By this time in this hypothetical individual’s life their music will not simply be something they have on in the background while waiting for the next episode of “Days Of Our Lives”. Their music will be diverse and will certainly be embedded in their persona in a number of significant ways; let’s be very clear here, music is much of our past, present, and future.

When that significant other dumped you as a teenager it will be hearing that music of the day that prompts the bittersweet schadenfreude time travel when you are older. The foreign trip, the friends you knew, the successes and the failures, the loves you have won and lost are encapsulated in the music you were listening to at the time and one can be returned to that experience, and most importantly the person you were then, by the stimulus of the music.

I will take the argument a bit further as to why you should be a third generation loudspeaker purchaser …

If your life is one of work and television without dedicated music time you are making a dreadful mistake. While work is the burden of civilisation Television has become the Orwellian nipple at which we suckle to feed us opinions and mercenary cultural idioms.

Once were Punks and Rockers and Sharpies and oh so many mayfly cults of youth inspired by a genre of music that not only predicated the fashion sense but also the relationships and general societal attitude of a generation of youth. Much of this has been degraded by the digital commoditisation of music making it actually harder for an artist to break the glass ceiling of fame with original content that carries a social message.

Rap and Trap music are a powerful force in the youth of the west it seems but alas any message of redemption it may once have carried in its mainstream seems to have been obscured by the hip of bling and cars and women as objects.

I hope I’m wrong by the way. I hope there are forces of music that have a qualitative improvement on the awareness of our youth in the same way as it had for Americans during the Vietnam war and Punk had for Britain in the Thatcherite era.


In Australia we have the wonderful institution of JJJ that bypasses government and commercial forces of censorship and control and feeds new music to our youth. As such it is unanimously hated by those Alt.right politicians who see it as undermining their own messages of simple ugly solutions to complex social issues.

And this is the point … Music makes us think. It has always been the friend of intellectuals and revolutionaries and the enemy of autocrats and despots. The more music you have in your life the more interesting a person you will become and the closer to your proper self you will become.

And lest we forget ... Music is about sex as well. Music has evolved in its own right as an important part of the human courtship ritual. It is part of our transition into adulthood and it is irrevocably entwined with our romantic lives.

And that’s why you need to get the third generation of loudspeakers in your life.  Not because your friends and neighbours will be impressed by your consumerism, not because it will make your home look like one of those in the glossy magazines. But because it will improve your emotional and intellectual life and make you a better person.