Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Smartest Gadgets a Man Can Buy in 2024

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The perfect 1980s gift for fans of Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi or Patti Smith, the Sound Burger was a bright-red portable plastic record player that came in a clam-shell design and with the advisory sticker, “Do not move while playing!”

Created in 1982 in a doomed attempt to head off the inexorable rise of shiny new CDs, the vinyl player — “Today’s high-tech takeaway. Amazing looks… even more amazing sound!” — was soon consigned to the “Where are they now?” file.

A fixture of hi-fi nerds’ weirdest-products-ever lists since, the Sound Burger has recently enjoyed a minor comeback. A 3D-printing template is available online, while eBay sellers have been flipping units of the £89.95 (including VAT) original for more than £500.

Now, its maker, the Japanese audio brand Audio-Technica, has reissued the Sound Burger. Updates include the addition of Bluetooth, a 21st-century cartridge and stylus and a recharge- able battery.

“With the rising demand for vinyl players, it seemed the perfect time to rerelease it,” Yu Kambe, Audio-Technica’s product manager, tells Esquire. “The older generation can get that nostalgic feeling. For the younger genera- tion, they have something they can take to their friends’ houses and enjoy streaming analogue sound.”

Perhaps Burna Boy, Fred Again or, for the full retro experience, “Livin’ on a Prayer”?, £199

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