It really came home to me when I borrowed a pair of the little Tangent Evo speakers, reviewed in our June issue, to see what all the fuss was about, writes Andrew Everard. I took them home, opened the box – and my wife fell about laughing.
Inside were two speakers – no, not a pair, since one of them was lime green and the other baby chick yellow – which made forming any sensible opinion of the sound a bit tricky, given that there were stifled giggles every time She Who Must Be Amused passed through the room. And the comments about taking too seriously the task of studiously listening to hi-fi components tended to multiply as the weekend progressed.
But it did set me thinking: the little Evos are a lot of fun, so why on earth not have them in garish colours if you want? Or even two different colours should that be your particular thing?
Fortunately for those less inclined to view their systems as something entirely sensible, there's a growing trend towards speakers in different colours. Yes, you can still have them in furniture grade veneers or with piano-quality lacquers if you must, but now you can buy the £80-a-pair Tangents, from Danish company Eltax, in lime green, red, yellow, black or white gloss finish.
And it must be something in the water, or the grape-flavoured Absolut vodka I saw the other day, but Swedish speaker operation Audio Pro has gone all fruity with its £180-a-pair Allroom satellite speakers: as well as black, white, silver, red and blue, you can now have them in apple, cherry, lemon, grape and orange, in every case with a high-gloss lacquer finish.
Hmmm - wonder how we can persuade them to sell them not in same-colour pairs, but singly, allowing us to create a 5.1 system with CBeebies aesthetics?
We've come a long way since the only choice for budget speakers was MFI-style sombre 'black ash' vinyl wrap, which looked like no tree anyone had ever seen, and was as lacklustre as the sound of the speakers it covered. These days, great-sounding budget speakers show that cheap can be not just cheerful, but plain daft, too.