While the following is not specifically about modern stereo systems, I thought that it might be interesting to music lovers here.
Last month we undertook a long road trip to the Desert SW of the USA. We accumulated 7745 Kms/4800 miles in 3 weeks & satisfied our 'desert fix' for another year. One of the highlights was a visit to Scotty's Castle in northern Death Valley, California where there is a phenomenal 'Music Room' from the 1930s.
The full pipe organ there is comprised of:
The Welte-Mignon theater pipe organ features 1,121 pipes, a grand piano, glockenspiel, xylophone, chimes, orchestra bells, sleigh bells, bird calls and a drum and cymbal assortment. It cost more than $50,000 to purchase, deliver, and installed in 1928
The US Park Service Ranger fired up this monster & allowed the 'Player Organ' to play a couple of tunes for us (there is also a full organ keyboard for those who can play). What is really unique is the volume control. There are several banks of louvers in the sound wall between the organ & the room that mechanically open & close to control the volume as required when the organ is playing. The mechanical complexity of this beast is mind boggling.
And the sound - all acoustic & simply stunning & stupendous. Talk about bass!! It's the stuff that today's amp & speaker designers strive so hard to achieve.
Have a look here to see & hear it in action - note the louvers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKPBsIX13xo&feature=related
If you are ever in that part of the world, stop in at Scotty's Castle for a most unique musical experience.