California Bear

Friday Finds: the California Audiophile

In an experience-driven economy, where people seem to be shedding worldly possessions at a rapid clip and all generations, not just the younger ones, are obsessed with accessibility and convenience, the pursuit of record collecting makes little sense. Records are expensive. They also take up a lot of space and are incredibly cumbersome. (Your average LP weighs about as much as an iPhone 11 Pro—and holds substantially less music.) Yet here we are.

In 2020, vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since 1986. Last year, US vinyl sales reached a 30-year high, exceeding two million units for the first time in decades and continuing a trend that has seen an unprecedented 16 years of consecutive growth. All this despite Covid-related store closures, production delays and shipping setbacks. While streaming will always be the king of convenience in a world fueled by instant gratification, collecting and playing records flies in the face of the metaverse mentality. It’s a tactile, patient activity that resonates just as strongly in solitary as it does social situations. But most importantly, it’s an ageless pursuit.   

Whether you’re a die-hard vinyl fan or just game to splurge on some quality gear for the media of your choice, check out these incredible products, all sourced right here in the Golden State.

S5 MkII Speakers

S5 MkII Speakers by Magico Audio / Hayward, CA

Simply stunning. Each tower houses a single 1″ diamond-coated beryllium dome tweeter, one 6″ midrange cone, and two 10″ aluminum bass cones. At $38,000 per pair, these speakers aren’t the most expensive ones Magico offers, but they’re probably the most expensive ones you’ll ever buy.

LCD-4z Headphones by 
Audeze / Santa Ana, CA

Audeze’s flagship LCD-4 is the pinnacle of over-ear headphones. With an impedance rating of just 15 ohms and a cast-magnesium housing that yields a weight of 1.2 pounds, these are perfect for referencing as well as premium personal listening—and they’ll only set you back $3,995.

M1 Flagship Console by Wrensilva / San Diego, CA

The holy grail of extravagant home hi-fi, the $10,999 M1 doesn’t just look the part. Its bluetooth DNA works seamlessly with Sonos audio so you can beam sound to your preexisting system without having to run unsightly wires. Want something smaller and a little less pricey? Check out the Loft.

Ultrasonic Record Cleaner – Upscale Audio Edition by Kirmuss Audio / La Verne, CA

Want to bring back the lustre and quality of your old vinyl? This is the machine you need. Upscale Audio’s signature edition ($1,335) comes with an upgraded assembly that fits three LPs and one 45 RPM all at once!

Pete Deeble Furniture Long Beach, CA & A.M. Wood / Los Angeles, CA

From vinyl LP storage benches with a mid-century modern flair to stereo cabinets and credenzas with built in turntables and record storage, these two makers will turn your hobby into an artform. After all, you’ve already come this far in your collecting. Don’t slack on presentation!

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