The weirdest and wildest AV gear of 2023

This year has been full of some pretty outstanding and innovative tech products, and that includes audio/video and home theater gear – from ultra-bright TVs to headphones with Wi-Fi and earbud charging cases with LED screens to new and improved till. All the big shots like Apple, Sony, Amazon and others.

But I’m here for weird things. Interesting thing. The thing that made our eyes widen and our eyebrows do funny things. And throughout 2023, some cool things have happened, including a fire-breathing $3,900 surround sound setup, a turntable you might want to eat with fries, and a James Bond-worthy TV in a suitcase. So then, here are some of the weirdest AV gear of 2023.

Soundbar component of the Nakamichi Dragon Surround System.
Zeke Jones /

Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 Surround Sound System

The smoke and fire talk was loud, but you can’t blame our own Caleb Dennison in his excellent video review because Nakamichi Dragon The surround system got our studio pretty excited (great, now I’m doing that). Dennison called it “without a doubt the most spectacular home theater-in-a-box I’ve ever seen” – and with good reason. The $3,900 system consists of a main soundbar unit that weighs 32 pounds, is made of stainless steel, and contains 14 drivers, three tweeters, and seven amplifiers. Then there are two surround speakers (each with five drivers) and two subwoofers, each with two 8-inch woofers. The whole thing blasts out 3,000 watts of total system power at a peak output of 125 decibels. And just as smog is ruining lake-town, this Dolby Atmos system is just a face-melting home theater in a box.

Audio-Technica AT-SB727 Sound Burger playing 33 1/3 rpm record, cover closed.
Simon Cohen/

Audio-Technica Sound Burger

would you like fries with that? In the mid-1980s when vinyl records were all the rage, the original Audio-Technica Sound Burger was sold as the iPod of its time – a compact, battery-powered record player you could take anywhere… if You were willing to have a milk crate full of LPs with you. Its sandwich-like design and basic features were so popular that Audio-Technica saw fit to re-release it. Sound Burger This year, I’m hitting the spatula while it’s hot (man, I’m hungry) to take advantage of vinyl’s still-hot nostalgia factor (someone please feed me). However, this time, AT has given it a few upgrades, including Bluetooth connectivity and a new rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Sadly, there’s still no way to transport your bulky vinyl records, but maybe you can hit the drive-thru for some burger power first.

A man adjusts the LG StanbyMe Go's 27-inch monitor.
Zeke Jones /

LG StanbyME Go Portable Briefcase TV

The LG StanbyME Go is the kind of spy-colored monitor-in-a-briefcase you can see Impossible GoalVing Rhames sat in the back of a van and was helping Ethan Hunt get through the air ducts. Incidentally, this isn’t too far from the kind of briefcase you’d see keeping the golden-glowing soul of a Marcellus Wallace (see what I did there?). Sadly, you won’t find the spirit of Marcellus inside the 28-pound, $1,200 StanbyMe Go, Instead, there’s a 27-inch, 1080p LCD touchscreen that can rotate vertically, horizontally, up, down, left and right. Throw it in the back of a pickup for your next tailgate party (as we did with this one). And while it’s not technically a TV since it doesn’t have a tuner, its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as its webOS operating system, means you can cast to it from your device via AirPlay or streaming services like Netflix. Can access streaming services. Plus, you start looking like a badass spy.

A man wears an Apple Vision Pro.

apple vision pro

We can’t talk about weird and wild 2023 tech without mentioning the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, which Apple unveiled at its annual WWDC event in June. And while it’s not strictly an AV device, Apple gave us plenty to talk about with the headset’s TV and movie viewing features that promise an immersive experience that simulates a 100-foot-wide screen Which can remain within a limit. of simulated environment. The micro-OLED display inside has 4K resolution and can display 3D content, and the headset has support for spatial audio. Apart from the fact that it looks like it was torn straight out ready player oneThe Vision Pro received more criticism than it deserves, primarily for its soaring $3,500 price tag, but also because the VR space has been so thoroughly exploited, leading many to wonder what makes it different from Meta Quest . However, several hands-on reviews from WWDC reported an impressive experience, and if Apple can address many of its issues before it launches next year, 2024 will give us plenty to talk about with the Vision Pro.

Dyson Zone air-purifying ANC headphones on one model.

Dyson Zone Noise-Canceling, Air-Purifying Headphones

In addition to vacuums, hand dryers, and hair accessories, James Dyson has apparently invented a time machine. This is the only plausible explanation for this dyson zone headphonesA device that’s clearly from our dystopian future. But by the time they were finally released earlier this year, us ordinary citizens might not have been ready for their Optimus Prime-like styling. At a hefty price of $950, the Dyson Zone has ANC (active noise cancellation) and sound quality that’s received fairly favorable reviews across the board, but it’s the magnetically attached air purifier “visor” that’s worth noting. It is difficult to do. But do they work? When connected, air is pulled through the earcups and through two layers of electrostatic filters before flowing into your nose and mouth. And while the mask doesn’t seal as tightly as an N95 mask, or filter out viruses, the Dyson Zone can filter out gases and odors as well as air pollutants down to 0.1 microns. Strange, yes, but definitely more than meets the eye.

The main reference listening room of the Mackintosh Group House of Sound townhouse.
Derek Malcolm/

McIntosh House of Sound

ok so this is more wild Experience More than just a piece of AV technology, but the McIntosh House of Sound, a five-story townhouse in New York City decorated from top to bottom with some of the world’s best and most expensive audio gear, is something that has to be. Must be seen (and heard) to be believed. Opened to the public for private, guided listening sessions in late summer, the luxurious apartment features six curated listening rooms, which the Mackintosh Group equipped with amplifiers, speakers, turntables and other gear from its many brands, including Mackintosh, Sonus Faber Is. , Pro-Ject Audio, and Rotel. Highlights include its main music listening room featuring McIntosh’s 7-foot-tall flagship Includes 16 butt-rumbling subwoofers and a giant projector screen. Be sure to check it out next time you’re in the Big Apple.

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