Braun

PCK 4 portable stereo phonograph

Dieter Rams

1960

Braun PCK 4 portable stereo phonograph

An updated version of the PCK 3, replacing Wagenfeld's PC 3 phono module with Rams' PC 4. The product type, which relied on external amplification was superceded in the following year by Rams' fully integrated PCV 4

The sequence is a little peculiar: the PCK 3 satisfied a conceptual demand for systematic modularity. But it was impractical with a restricted range of useful applications (the device seems to have been designed as a solution to an infrequently encountered problem, that of a listening situation equipped with a means of amplification and power source but are lacking a record player).

The PCV 4 resolved matters with an integrated amplifier. But the conceptual demand for modularity, at root  a functionalist demand, now faced pressure from a competing requirement that the product disclose its owner's social status. The light weight travel stereo communicated flexibility and freedom of movement, a certain absence of contingency, perhaps, but they were not prestigious items in any obvious sense. Ultimately, the  romantic symbolism of this early portable product type (a category that includes within it Rams' TP 1) was eclipsed by the substantial high fidelity modular Braun systems that occupied an unequivocally fixed position in the living room of Bourgeois intellectuals... 

price: £350