What's the point of investing in a high-end home audio system if you're going to use it for crappy-sounding MP3s? That's the premise behind the new Sooloos music server, which combines the random-access, all-in-one convenience of digital music storage with CD sound quality. Yours for the price of a secondhand Volvo, it's obviously not intended for casual listeners—though if you're the type to blow ungodly sums on amps, preamps, speakers, and cables, what's another 12 grand? And frankly, the Sooloos sounds like money: It uses FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), an uncompressed (a.k.a. "lossless") audio file format that retains fidelity as your tunes are converted from disc to hard drive. Those sweet-sounding FLAC files take up significant space—about 1,000 times more than MP3s—but the system compensates with three terabytes, or about 3,000 gigs, worth of storage, which is enough for 6,000 albums. And it's all housed in an unobtrusive, brushed-aluminum storage unit with a separate 17-inch touch-screen monitor, where you can browse and shuffle as you please. Preferably with a beer in hand. As Sooloos cocreator Rob Darling reminds us, "Everyone has a favorite memory in their life that involves alcohol, loud music, and a jukebox."
Sooloos high-fidelity music server, $12,000, sooloos.com
— Mark Ellwood, GQ