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

G.  Lester's picture

A constant conversation with my wife! She would rather not have have speakers six feet tall in the living room, even though you can see through them.'s picture

Small apartments dictate the "constant struggle" response. But chosing an educated layout within the constraints of a less than ideal room has never ruined my passion for music.

David S.  Dodd's picture

I bought my current home because of the suitability of one of the rooms as a music room . . .

Rusli's picture

I modeled my music room with guidance from Robert Harley's book. I held close to the "best room dimensions," as suggested in said book, and I'm glad that I did. I'm now firmly of the opinion that the single most important factor in music reproduction is the music room itself. Unless one has a room of reasonably good dimensions, not all the Krells or Levinsons or Thiels or Wilsons can save your day. And Michael Green included!

Pablo Banados's picture

I would like to have the space and money for that "big-child" play room, with music, model trains, chess, internet . . . uff!

Nicholas Paquet's picture

Do you build a house around speakers or putting them in???

Chanhamton's picture

The room is set up to favor the system, but one does have to consider the wife factor to a point.

Rich Meier's picture

When I bought the house 5 years back, I saw that the living-room layout was ideal for my Apogee speakers.

Matthew J.  Miller's picture

Room aesthetics and functionality were big factors in my choice of speakers. Size and style were not the big issue, but rather the distance into the room (away from the wall). I had some borrowed Apogee Stages that required 4' of space behind them, and they made the room difficult. Those manufacturers who build front-firing-only speakers that can be placed a little closer to the wall and still sound good are a big step closer to "real-world" components, in my opinion.

Bard-Alan Finlan's picture

They don't build houses with large living rooms any more, generally!'s picture

My wife agreed to let me have the living room as my music room, since no one ever uses a formal living room anyway. It is open to the dining room in the back, and the open back actually makes the sound that much better.

G.  Gillespie's picture

Built to spec when I bought a new home. Used the article by Tom Norton regarding his experience.

David A.  Ryerson's picture

I want great sound, but I am not willing or able to sacrifice what little living space I have to that end.

GSH's picture

What upsets me more than anything is that house builders don't build houses with stereo or home-theater setups in mind unless you want to change the blueprints immensely or spend more money to get a house with a separate home theater room. I've seen so many houses where you can't even sit in the "sweet spot" to listen to music or watch rented movies. I've also seen gobs of homes that actually expect you to put your stereo equipment and TV in a bookshelf that will barely hold a few books. Builders need to wise up and think about how important this all is to many people.

Karl Richichi's picture

Yes! It is a never-ending fight . . . Our house is about 80 years old, built before radio in the living room, wood floors, etc. The sound is amazing with two or three. However, when we pack in four to eight, the sound is always a fight with the way the room is shaped.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not independently wealthy, so I have to have rooms do more than one thing.

John Vahaly's picture

Once again, a multiple-choice question that needs a "none of the above" response. With only speaker placement critical (some might add cables & wires), it is usually easy to place an audio setup in a room. Some with better ears than mine can fuss with the details, but that's their choice. Many of us have other things to do while we listen.

Mike Abrams's picture

It's a constant struggle between good sound and functional living, but everything worthwhile usually is a struggle. Without good sounds you can't have good living, and you aren't really living without good sounds. We may disagree on what is good sound, but I hope we all agree that it is something we all need.

Jim Paire's picture

Removed walls, closed in arched openings,bought the correct sofa, all for this wonderful hobby.

Gerald W.  Crum's picture

I live in a condo and have very little latitude in making the room fit the system. When I had a house I had a dedicated listening room built for sound. The current situation is much more challenging to work with.

Bob Reynolds's picture

My wife was quite happy to have a high-quality sound system in the living room, but drew the line at rearranging the furniture to accommodate it. It had to fit in, and it has. The sound is great in spite of the speaker placement which is far from ideal.

Dom Pascucci's picture

If you're married and don't have a dedicated room, then you'd better believe it's a constant struggle!

Mark Mason's picture

My wife wants me to include a dedicated listening room in our next house. Something about stereo being out of her sight, out of mind.

James May's picture

Room aesthetics and good sound can be a tough mix. I wish American high-end companies, especially speaker makers, would consider "real-life" situations more carefully. Speaker placement is the real bugaboo; few people can place speakers out as far into the room as they would like. Speaker makers should recognize that. The audiophile-be-damned approach just doesn't cut it.

John Kroupa's picture

I believe in today's multimedia hype: a tastefully-thought-out sound system housed in nice rack (Billy Bags) sends a message to your guests. Music is an important part of my life, and thus the wall of electronics in the living room takes on an artistic life all its own. With all that said, you can then turn on the system and let the magic begin. The looks of the sound system are secondary to the quality of the sound that comes from it. My system has a life of its own. It commands and demands a 16' section of wall space in our small one-bedroom apartment. When alive with power, the tube amp glows, breathing warm air out like a fireplace. The small, green LEDs give one a feeling of contentment, knowing that the preamp and digital processor are alive, warm, and ready to perform. The speakers, spiked and weighted down, bi-wired and lifeless, wait for the energy that makes them come alive---alive to convey the human emotion recorded on a plastic disc. Don't be stuffy and hide your equipment. Display it with pride, for it is a part of who you are: your love, your life, your hobby.

Ned F.  Kuehn's picture

My wife wants the house back! I am having a dedicated media room built at this time.

Russ Ferstandig's picture

Having a dedicated and acoustically designed listening room for the past 15 years and through many different components has convinced me that my room was is the most important component in my system. When I hear analogous systems in conventional settings, they do not image nearly as well, which means that they are not nearly as convincing as live music. My room makes the difference between listening to music vs. a system. FYI, my system is Dunlavy SC-Vs, Audio Research Ref. 1, Pass Aleph 2s, etc.

Jim Wentworth's picture

If you spend the kind of money on hi-fi that it takes to do real high-end, then it's only logical to invest in the proper room.

Bob Bookman's picture

I built a new house with the system in mind---dedicated outlets, etc.---but could not afford a separate room. Results are quite good, and the room has other uses as well.

Tom Moore's picture

Tuning a mixed-use room is simple if you listen without being overly influenced by meter readings.