DOUGLAS ADAMS: Buying his Subjective Audio Ltd system

Howard Popeck:

Douglas Adams was one of our most gracious, humorous, gentle and fun customers at Subjective Audio. Coincidental with him getting a “serious” advance from his publishers for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, he commissioned me to put together “almost” the best system money could buy. It was, apart from the turntable, a full Absolute Sounds system including the magnificent but hernia inducing Micro Seki CD M2 and one of the very few pairs of Magneplanar Tympani sold in the UK.

Installation was a complex affair and during the second day he had to pop out for a bit. He returned later that afternoon, in a taxi and struggling with a number of heavily filled old-style plastic milk crates. In fact they were packed with over 1,000 CDs.

He’d been to HMV and they were running some sort of promotion, and they gave him a hundred or so on top of his purchase. It’s quite likely that he had purchased the bulk of titles then available in the UK. It was, after all, the early days of CD. He cheerfully pointed out that he’d always dreamed of having more music than he could ever listen to. The publishing advance gave him that freedom. His happiness was palpable, and infectious – even when his Audio Research M300’s blew up the moment we switched them on.