Music thing: The Sixty Inch Subwoofer

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Yes. It's a Sixty Inch Subwoofer. No, it's not new, and it's certainly not coming to a car near you soon (not even the new Renault with three iPod docks). This is a one-off custom unit built in 1997 with the help of a physicist from Georgia Tech: "The cone moves 6 inches peak to peak under full-tilt output... Unfortunately, Tim and his crew didn't realize just how much acoustical power the sub could generate, and didn't build the vehicle to contain it appropriately. Even at less than 1/2 output, the doors were blown off the tracks, and the entire vehicle ballooned in and out several inches."

For car audio freaks, bass is a weapon. Search YouTube for 'subwoofer' and you'll enter the slightly alarming world of extreme bass - clips of girls' hair blown up by the bass, and speakers catching fire under the load.

For audiophiles, bass is expensive. The biggest subwoofer in the world is an underground chamber containing 16 eighteen-inch speakers, built underneath what they call "the greatest audio room for private listening in the world". Incredibly, the sixteen speakers are all driven by one eleven-watt tube amp. That's eleven watts, not eleven kilowatts. Awesome.