Gear | September 8, 2017 9:00 am

When Your Stereo Is This Pretty, Who Cares What It’s Playing?

We don't always fall in love with inanimate objects ...

It used to be that stereo systems were works of art. From brassy gramophones to the giant oaken towers of mid-century design, a proper stereo used to be the centerpiece of most bourgeois American living rooms.

But with the development of Bluetooth technologies and super-compact speakers that can still deliver a punch, the trend has been to downsize and obscure the speakers. To make them invisible, if possible.

Thankfully, someone out there still believes there’s a place for beautiful home audio design.

Symbol (4 images)

They’re called Symbol Audio, and they manufacture HiFi speakers and consoles that not only blast front-row sound quality, they also look damn good doing so. The New York-based designers have been making analogue and digital crossover stereos since 2012; each unit is housed in walnut, with a ’60s mod aesthetic that’s as timeless as the vinyl in your crates.

Their new crates come with leather-wrapped handles and can hold 100 LPs. They go great with their Modern Record Console, a vinyl-playing beast with a tube amp for that honey-thick sound.

But our money is on the Stereo Console, a smart-looking table with speakers embedded in its surface. It can be used with analogue players, wifi or your TV, and the exposed vinyl holder is a nice touch that doubles as display and function. Another new addition to their line — this wifi-enabled tabletop speaker — can pair with a record player if you bridge the two with a preamp.

Regardless of which piece you choose, Symbol is a perfect solution for anyone looking to raise their home-entertainment game.

Long live vinyl.