Back to the Future begins with Marty going to Doc Brown's house, turning on an absurdly large amplifier, turning it up (to eleven?) plugging in his guitar, playing a single chord, and blowing himself across the room.

Doc Brown is a cool guy, of course, but why does he need an amp the size of a bus?

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    Why does anyone need a large speaker system in the first place? – user16696 Jun 15 '15 at 4:22
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    How cool is Doc, you might ask? So cool that he filled a truck with smoke, got in his DeLorean, drove it into the truck, and closed the truck door via remote control, all so Marty would be impressed when he saw the truck door swing open and the DeLorean back out of it wreathed in smoke. Because there was definitely not enough room inside the truck for the Doc to open the DeLorean's gullwing doors while the car was in the back of the truck. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 15 '15 at 4:26
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    Alternative version of BttF: Marty gets a call from Doc, asking him to come to the mall with a video camera. On the way, he decides to stop for a snack at McDonald's. Arriving at the mall 30 minutes late, he sees Einstein sitting outside a truck marked "Doc Brown Enterprises". The Doc himself is nowhere to be seen. Eventually, Marty decides to check inside the truck. There he finds the Doc, dead of smoke inhalation. Marty is forever haunted by the day his decision to eat a Big Mac killed his best friend. The End. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 15 '15 at 4:40
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    It's probably just one of his many failed or useless inventions to emphasize his being so out-of-touch- he did work on things other than the DeLorean (remember his incredible mind reader?) – Often Right Jun 15 '15 at 5:00
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    Pure speculation in my part, but sonic weapons had been discussed in literature since at least 1939. Given Doc's propensity for retasking plutonium to drive the flux capacitor, combined with his enthusiasm for 'geological exploration' ("We'll have to blast!") I could well imagine him investigating whether sound could be used for drilling, mining, breaking up ground etc.. – Andrew Thompson Jun 15 '15 at 5:36

So this is not supported by evidence from the film, but looking at the script, this is my theory.

In the script, Marty says:

MARTY:Doc Brown's all right — he's just a little hung up on time. A couple of years ago, he showed up at my house and hired me to sweep out this garage of his. He pays me 50 bucks a week, gives me free beer... and gives me total access to his record collection — he's got this great old record collection.

Now, knowing Doc, if he has a great record collection he wouldn't just go out and buy a speaker set, but make his own (which would have to be louder than any other speaker system anyone could ever need, just because it can).

I admit this is a lot of speculation and is drawing from the script rather than the film itself, but it's a reasonable theory based on Doc's character.

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    Good answer and +1, but I seem to recall Doc calling his own house just after Marty blows himself across the room, and saying something like "Marty, don't plug in to our amplifier, there is a slight risk that it might overload", which implies that it is relatively new and untested. This does not, however, rule out the possibility that your answer is correct. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 16 '15 at 2:25
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    @WadCheber; could have been a hobby in his spare time whilst he was working on the DeLorean as his main project – Often Right Jun 16 '15 at 2:27
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    That script was an earlier draft that differed in some important ways from the shooting script, especially in its depiction of Doc's history...for example in the script Marty said Doc "was one of the world's greatest nuclear physicists", whereas in the movie Doc seems to have always been a crackpot inventor. Also, in the script, when Marty goes to Doc's house in 1955 he finds him hosting a swanky party flanked two beautiful women, and Doc comes up with the idea for the "temporal field capacitor" when he whispers something in the ear of a woman and she hits him over the head with a beer bottle. – Hypnosifl Jun 16 '15 at 2:45
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    I think as speculation your answer makes as much sense as anything, I just wanted to point out that we can't treat that script as being too close to canonical evidence. The Doc from the movie might still have been into music, but then again he seems a bit more nerdy and uncool than the Doc in the script, so who knows. – Hypnosifl Jun 16 '15 at 2:53
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    @WadCheber times change. Frankly, I'd say Doc randomly going to Marty's house, was a future Doc completing a closed time loop. Marty agrees and shows up to clean the garage, and present-day Doc, in his quirky Einstein old kook man way just went along with it not knowing why Marty was there. – user16696 Jun 16 '15 at 5:33

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