In his 1950s radio series, the American satirist Stan Freberg portrayed a hi-fi nut called Herman Horne. In his pursuit of perfect audio, Horne counselled moving out of one's main dwelling in order to exploit its acoustic capabilities fully. The true range of sounds could only be enjoyed ‘as you and your wife sit of an evening, shivering in the garage, listening to your house’.
Funny then, funny now, but there are people who are quite willing to spend the price of a house on hi-fi. In Perfecting Sound Forever, Greg Milner meets one such creature: highly respected reviewer Michael Fremer, whose $90,000 Caliburn turntable has baffled even the makers of dark-matter detectors.