How do you have your audio system set up in your listening room?

It's not easy being an audiophile. Once you finally get that perfect (or near-perfect) pair of speakers, you've got to find a good location for them in your room, along with your other furniture. Did you build your room around your stereo, or do you prefer your stereo to fit into your mixed-use room?

How do you have your audio system set up in your listening room?
I have a dedicated listening room
23% (82 votes)
I changed the layout of my room to favor the audio system
42% (151 votes)
It's a constant struggle between good sound and functional living
33% (118 votes)
An audio system is better heard and not seen
3% (9 votes)
Total votes: 360

Sean W.  Smith's picture

Looked at 40+ houses before I found a listening space I wanted...

Richard Hernandez's picture

Audio & video dictate interior design.

JT's picture

Room is 3/8" drywall, 3/4" particleboard, then 1/2" drywall. All sealed layers packed full of insulation. As airtight as possible. Weakest soundproofless leak is the sliding glass door, which has heavy drapes over it.

J.  Anselmo's picture

It took me a couple of months---and dozens of tentative layouts---to figure out on paper the right layout for the living room of my new house (I

Anonymous's picture

It's mostly a Mars/Venus thing.

George Fotis,'s picture

There's a critical point: choosing the right system that begins (for me) by picking up the right pair of speakers. And this selection depends on the room that system should be installed in. I'm not saying that this is the perfect approach. Sometimes, if the money is available, a dedicated room can be created . . . but I feel that choosing a system suitable to an EXISTING room is a very common choice.

Doug F.'s picture

A dedicated audio room would be nice. For most it is impractical, however.

Frank Burzik's picture

Music has to be a priority before you buy an instrument. We both enjoy listening to music that is very natural, and understand the compromises involved with physical allocations. The issue is one of priorities in life. I am fortunate to be married to a wife who has similiar priorites. P.S. The web page is very good!

Bill Weinstein's picture

Although I share it with my kids and their toys . . . until bedtime!

Dave Sands's picture

My main system (sound only) is in the living room, with speakers set for best sound. The video system is in the den with 5-channel plus subwoofer and DSS satellite input. Friends think the den system is unbelievable, until they hear the music system---their jaws tend to hit the floor. Have been reading Stereophile since 1969 and TAS from the begining. Enjoy both immensely.

Steven Bobenhouse's picture

I have yet to find an uncomfortable layout that sounds better than my best comfortable one. (And besides , this way I can sleep without fear at night!)

Bill Barry's picture

I built an addition around my system and home theater.

Chip Moore's picture

If food wasn't a necessary part of my survival, I'd have a dedicated room.

Marc Richman's picture

A dedicated room is the only way to go, and it must be a room you can darken. Serious listening needs to be done in the dark, with the eyes closed, so your brain does not get mixed messages. That is, you ears tell you that musicians are in the room, but your eyes deny that. If you eliminate that negative message, the illusion is much greater. Similarly, try watching TV with one eye closed: the illusion of depth is greater, because you don't have your normal sense of depth telling you the picture is flat.

Ron Rohlfing's picture

Even though my room is very, very small, you can't believe how much better it sounds than trying to place a system in a room that is designed for other purposes. A dedicated room will also allow for room treatments that don't have a high WAF (or SOAF) factor.

Howard F.  Goldstein's picture

A person has to live comfortably in the room while listening to music or watching the TV. If one is not comfortable, one will not enjoy the music. My system sounds very good, but I am sure it would sound better if I set up the room differently.

Troy Wilson's picture

It's the only way.

Kurt Morgan's picture

I, for one, am of the opinion that one's home should revolve around music and the tools necessary to create music.

Al Marcy's picture

I sleep in my listening room.

J.  Liew's picture

Why buy a Ferrari and park it in the street?

Edward Hahn's picture

While I have a dedicated listening room, I live in a contemporary house, which has few corners that are right angles, and NO rectangular rooms. Advantages are that I only have to worry about standing waves between the carpeted floor and ceiling. The drawbacks are that the audio setup forces a room arrangement that is not a very efficient use of the space. If we ever move to another house, I will make it a top priority to have at least one room where the audio system will set up well AND have a good layout from a usability/aesthetics point of view.

Anastassios Roumboutsos's picture

For sure, if I spend that much money for my stereo system, then I better try to get my money's worth!

Edwin E.  Torres's picture

I don't know about everyone else who is married, but my wife freaks when I mention placing some Maggies in her newly decorated living room!

John E.  Evans's picture

We bought this house because it had one room that had quite good physical dimensions, and was basically "split" from the rest of the house. This was converted to a dedicated listening room. This room basically has only the equipment, my chair, and some sound treatments in it (and me, of course). The results, though not perfect, have turned out to sound quite good, having good tonal and good acoustical characteristics. I have received many compliments. I spend about 1 to 2.5 hours a day listening to music in this room.

Ivan Prasin's picture

Anyone serious about audio will have a dedicated room.

Giorgio's picture

A very hard location for my Quad ESL-63s.

One who no longer reads <i>Stereophile</i>'s picture

For the majority of Americans, living in suburbia, the system must fit in our living rooms. That is why it is so important for the back of a speaker to be able to go right next to a wall. Like Naim speakers. No one I know of has the room to put a speaker 6' out into the middle of their living room! Stereophile just does not understand this fact. You live in an ivory tower. So the system must conform to the living room! I want my kit to be seen! BUT THE SPEAKERS MUST!!! FIT INTO MY LIVING SPACE!!!!! Very few speaker manufacturers take this fact into consideration. Stereophile NEVER takes this into consideration!! When I look at speakers, the second question I ask is, "How close to a wall can they go?" If the answer is 2' or more, I don't even listen to them. The answer must be 2 INCHES or more before I give them a listen, and the frequency MUST be 35Hz or lower!! WHY DO YOU NOT REVIEW NAIM KITS!?! That is one of the main reasons why I canceled my subscription to Stereophile! Another reason is you always review the same manufacturers every month---like Krell, Sonic Frontiers, etc.

David Merrifield's picture

My long-suffering wife has witnessed almost all of her furniture, etc. mysteriously disappear from the living room and reappear unceremoniously in other parts of the house. I said long-suffering---we've been married three and a half months!

Al Reeder's picture

I didn't change the layout of my listening room. I won't allow it to be changed at all. I think that is the same thing. Maybe you all disagree.'s picture

When I was on the housing market, the realtor thought I was nuts because I kept telling him, "This house won't work with my stereo!"