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Nova Rotating Pyramid CD/Cassette Stereo from RadioShack
When 2002 rolled around, a new stereo was the last thing on my mind. Digital music was becoming more common, and I was enjoying the promise of the future. In retrospect, this was a shame. For one, it turns out, I enjoy listening to my music on a proper stereo, and two, which is more disappointing, I completely missed the release of the Nova Rotating Pyramid Stereo from RadioShack.
The window of availability for the Pyramid was small. So, even if I had not jumped feet first into the digital world, I still might have missed this strange piece of consumer electronic history.
Released in late 2002, the Pyramid had a big push for the holiday season of that year and then disappeared from advertising. My guess is that it did not live up to their sales expectations and rapidly exited stores.
I wanted to consult the RadioShack catalog for more information about the system, but unfortunately, they stopped making the Consumer Catalog in 2003. Since this was released in late 2002, that seemed to been when it would appear, and so I cannot find a catalog listing for the Pyramid.
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The Power of the Pyramid!
Under normal circumstances, this pyramid form-factor would be a novelty at best, but the commitment to style and a few clever bells and whistles allow this stereo to transcend the novelty label.
To start with, let’s just look at the advertising for it. They could have just done a simple glamour shot of the stereo in a living room. Maybe with a couple enjoying some music? Not this time. They went full on Pyramid, placing the system over a desert background, with the sun setting and the blue glow of the apex welcoming the beckoning night.
The illuminated mystic blue apex really says it all. It does nothing, but glow, and it is a marvelous touch. The design magic doesn’t stop there, though. You also get themed doors, with the CD player door with a round sun window and the cassette door as a crescent moon. Adding to the mystique are two speakers that are also pyramid shaped.
Now I know what you are wondering. I see the CD player, but where is the cassette player, and how do I access it? Well, get ready for some next level alien pyramid technology.
The pyramid rotates at the touch of a button!
In addition to the CD Player and cassette, the Pyramid has a digital tuner with 10 AM and 10 PM station presets, a clock with sleep function, bass boost, 3 EQ presets (rock, classic or pop), and a remote control that requires 2 AA batteries.
Here are the full specifications from the manual:
The speakers are not very powerful, but the whole setup is decent for a bookshelf system.
I am guessing the people at RadioShack though this stereo was so pretty that it didn’t need to be very dependable. Maybe it’s asking too much of a two decade old stereo, but the Pyramid breaks easily. Sadly, the thing that tends to break first is the ability of the stereo to rotate mechanically. Fortunately, you can still rotate it manually and get access to both sides of the unit.
How much did the Nova Rotating Pyramid Stereo cost?
In 2002, the retail price for a Nova Pyramid was around $119. But since they were released during the holiday season, I have yet to find one that was not on sale. The sale price was usually $99, but I have seen it as low as $77 (that would be about $119 today).
Nowadays, you can pick up a system in working order for about $200. Since the item is pretty rare, the prices will fluctuate pretty wildly, and I have seen them selling for less than $100 and more than $300. So, if you are looking to pick one up, do your research and shop around.
New electronics are released almost every week. While some aren’t noteworthy, others deserve to be remembered. The Nova Rotating Pyramid might not have been the most well-built or best sounding stereo system ever released, but it was an interesting form-factor that stayed on theme. RadioShack might have struck out on this one, but they at least went down swinging for the fences.