Spinal Tap
Actors aren't the only ones who can make a big impression in the movies. Here are some of the best cameos from hi-fi and home cinema kit...

From multiplex blockbusters to art-house classics, films give us a wonderful sense of escapism. That said, we admit to finding it a little hard to turn off from the day job...

If you're anything like us you'll no doubt find it hard not to gleefully name-check any AV kit you spot in films, from over-the-top cinema systems to retro hi-fi gear. So we thought we'd share some of our favourite spots.

So, join us as we dim the lights and fire-up the projector to bring you 15 of the best AV cameos from the big screen.

Of course, there are plenty of other examples, so be sure to let us know which ones we've missed in the comments section below...

 

1. The Departed [2006]

(Photo: Warner Bros. via  avforums.com)

Madolyn dons a pair of Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones to hear details of Sergeant Costello's criminal dealings with mobster Frank Sullivan on a McIntosh stereo system. There are worse ways to hear bad news...

MORE: McIntosh introduces new compact amps, Media Bridge and headphones at CES 2014

 

2. The Counselor [2013]

(Photo: 20th Century Fox via  Meridian)

Something attractive has caught our eye in this scene, and it isn't Reiner's shirt. Yes, it's the Meridian DSP7200 digital active speaker taking up residence in the office of Javier Bardem's character (right). They're both loud in their own ways... 

MORE: Meridian celebrates 25 years of digital speakers with Special Edition models

 

3. Risky Business [1983]

(Photo: Warner Bros. via giphy.com)

A young Tom Cruise has the freedom of his parents' house, which means control of the drinks cabinet and his father's stereo – including a Rare Phase Linear 7000 II cassette deck. It's enough reason to have a one-man party, isn't it?

WATCH: Risky Business – Dance Scene

 

4. American Psycho [2000]

(Photo: Lionsgate via giphy.com)

Investment banker Patrick Bateman enjoys the finer things in life, including what seems to be Harman Kardon 700 series separates with KEF speakers. He also enjoys murder, soundtracked to Huey Lewis and the News' Hip To Be Square in this scene. 

WATCH: American Psycho – "Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?" (Warning: graphic content)

 

5. The Big Lebowski [1998]

(Photo: Grammercy Pictures via The Big Lebowiki)

Jeff Lebowski could do more with his life, but when you've got your Sony Auto-Reverse Walkman, why not just lay back in the middle of your living room? Well, because you're being asked to recover a millionaire's kidnapped wife for a start.

WATCH: The Big Lebowski – The Dude In Me

MORE: Sony NWZ-ZX1 Walkman review

 

6. The Hangover Part III [2013]

(Photo: Warner Bros. via Digital Spy)

It might not stand up to the test of time as one of the all-time greats, but The Hangover Part III must surely be a candidate for most ostentatious use of headphones? Beats by Dre to pick up an Academy Award for Best Supported By An Actor?

MORE: Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless review

 

7. The Dark Knight [2008]

(Photo: Warner Bros. via audiokarma.org)

If you're a Caped Crusader, you're going to have some sharp kit in your pad. Bang & Olufsen is the company of choice in The Dark Knight, maybe because the "bang" takes you back to the Adam West days of exploding cartoon onomatopoeias? 

MORE: Bang & Olufsen unveils three new high-end wireless speakers

 

More after the break

8. High Fidelity [2000]

(Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

Rob Gordon is a self-confessed music enthusiast and he has the equipment to match – a Marantz 110; Sansui AU-7700 or 7900; and NAD CD522 CD player is the kit that we seem to have agreed upon...

WATCH: High Fidelity – final scene

 

9. A Clockwork Orange [1971]

(Photo: Colombia Warner)

"Oh Bliss! Bliss and Heaven!" - Alex rather seems to enjoy listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with his Bang & Olufsen Beomaster 5000 Tuner and Transcriptor Hydraulic Turntable.

WATCH: A Clockwork Orange – Alex's apartment

 

10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off [1986]

(Photo: Paramount Pictures via Flashlights Are Something To Eat)

If you owned a Carver M-500t, Audio Source EQ-ONE, Carver DTL-100 and Carver Receiver 2000, you'd probably want the day off to stay at home and enjoy it. Which probably makes you no different to Ferris Bueller.

 

11. The Conversation [1974]

(Photo: Paramount Pictures via Steve Hoffman Music Forums)

Is this a Rek-o-kut turntable? Indeed it is – and Gene Hackman's character Harry Caul is the proud owner. But it's presumably not used to listen back to the conversations he records in his day job as a surveillance expert...

 

12. The Cable Guy [1996]

(Photo: Colombia Pictures)

We couldn't make it through an AV countdown without an expansive home cinema set-up. And it's as no shock that a film called The Cable Guy has one of the best that we've seen on film. Antiques Roadshow never sounded so crisp.

WATCH: The Cable Guy – "... and THX quality that would make George Lucas cream his pants"

MORE: See all our home cinema speaker package reviews

 

13. The Shawshank Redemption [1994]

(Photo: Rank Organisation via giphy.com)

It sounds like a prank. Lock yourself in the governor's office, put on the turntable and hook it up to the PA system. The result? A prison full of downtrodden inmates who are suddenly inspired to hope by Le Nozze di Figaro. Magic.

WATCH: The Shawshank Redemption – Mozart opera scene

MORE: See all our turntable reviews

 

14. Pulp Fiction [1994]

(Photo: Miramax Films via giphy.com)

With the Teac X-2000r in full flow, the last thing we reckon Uma Thurman wanted to see was John Travolta walking through the door. Still, we'd probably make the compromise to listen to this reel-to-reel deck given half the chance.

WATCH: Pulp Fiction – "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon"

 

15. This Is Spinal Tap [1984]

(Photo: Embassy Pictures/StudioCanal/MGM via giphy.com)

OK, we've used a bit of artistic licence with this last entry but who wouldn't want to own a Marshall amp that turned all the way up to 11? Maybe it's a feature for other manufacturers out there to consider...

"You see, most blokes will be playing at 10. You’re on 10, all the way up, all the way up. Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, is if we need that extra push over the cliff... 11."

WATCH: This Is Spinal Tap – "These go to 11"

 

by  Pete Hayman

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Comments

Yugoslav's picture

The Promising Boy [1981]

Hi,

Let me show you this movie and the audio gear ( 0:15, 36:20). Maybe Phase Linear amp. lineup...? Which cassette deck, speakers....,  just God knows, or.... "Live long and prosper!"   Smile

 

Yugoslav's picture

...oh, the link....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZddmkTQsZaE