Some completely amazing things you should not pay full price for, unless you are rich.
Some of the designer stuff is completely amazing, but unfeasibly expensive. Watch office clearances, most of this stuff is work equipment intended to be bought on corporate budgets, with its costs amortized over years of marginally increased worker productivity.
If you’re buying it out of a “quality of life” budget, it’s a lot harder to justify, but maybe now with the long term “work from home” it all makes more sense. Tricky.
- Chadwick Chairs
The Chadwick chair is a successor to the Aeron, by the same designer. Same materials, same niche as the Aeron, but a different “ergonomic philosophy.” The Aeron sort of clamps around the body, and provides massive support. The Chadwick is open and moves with the body. I love it. They’re hard to find used, but Bruce Sterling’s sermon on quality of life applies here. Do it.
They make all kinds of things. Watch eBay like a hawk. I have a couple of their monitor arms and lamps. The monitor arms are just great, with elegant cable management, and many degrees of freedom – you can even flip from portrait to landscape just by turning the monitor. You’ll need a very strong desk to mount them. Apple sells a VESA mount adapter for iMacs. The lamps produce a beautiful, clear light which is strangely like daylight. I think they don’t flicker at 50hz as the AC current flows through them, so appear static. Things of beauty, really precious.
I love light.
- Terminal hifi
I did succumb to audiophilia. I was in Dublin a couple of hours early for a ferry and walked into a mall, and in the mall there was a B&O store. Now I know the audiophiles are already wincing, but hear me out. I’d auditioned the Spendor 1/2e’s a decade before, and knew what could be achieved with two speakers the size of refrigerators and a power amp that dimmed the lights for four city blocks. I knew. But the Beolab 3’s were bookshelf-sized, and came with their own amp, and that was it: I listened, I heard, and it was better sound quality per unit of volume than I believed to be possible. Then I asked the price, and realized why they sounded Pretty Good.
A few years later I brokered a deal to get a hundred thousand solar lights into Pakistani refugee camps, and took my winnings to a barn on the far side of Gatwick airport that specialized in used B&O gear, and bought the most beat up version they had in store. I’ve never regretted it, but I might have done it differently if I’d put six weeks into auditioning loudspeakers and amps!
The key, however, is you can’t really upgrade that system: audiophilia is committed, and there’s no tinkering. It’s not like you can switch out the amp and the pre amp and the speaker cable and so on on that endless “one more tweak” cycle: it comes in the box, and that’s the end of it. But, not ever new. If you’re going to spend that much money on new hifi gear, you can do better. Used, it’s an open question: depends on who’s selling what when you are buying.
I also love sound.