This Sound System Has an Agent

by Gary Pini

Looking for a sweet little sound system for your crib? If you've got a couple of million dollars and an unused basketball court in the basement that you´d like to convert to a disco, we´ve got the perfect set-up. A gigantic system called Despacio is currently on the summer music festival circuit and when we heard it at SONAR last week, we were blown away by the crisp, clear sound quality. It is by far the best we´ve ever heard. It features seven 11-foot towers powered by McIntosh, the high-end audio equipment company based in Binghamton, New York, that put the whole thing together with John Klett after they were contacted by DFA records founder James Murphy, a  vintage audiophile equipment aficionado. Murphy and the Belgian brothers known as 2manydjs spun only vinyl in Barcelona for 6 hours each day and people lined up for hours for a chance to get into the 1,200 capacity room.

We ran into McIntosh CEO Charlie Randall outside the venue and asked why the 65-year old electronics company wanted to power a disco at an EDM festival: "Actually this is the fourth time we´ve done it. We´ve already been to Manchester, England, twice in London and after Barcelona the system is heading to Glastonbury. The system even has a booking agent, William Morris. Usually our equipment is sold to an older demo and we wanted to expose a new generation to the brand. We´ve had between 20,000 and 30,000 people come through each day."

The system uses three different models of McIntosh amps: twenty-eight MC 1.2Ks, each with 1200 watts; seven MC 452 stereo amps with 450 watts per channel; two MC 303 three channel amps with 300 watts per channel. It weighs about 20 tons and costs about $1.8 million including the speakers.

The line to listen to Despacio at SONAR.

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