How important is the visual design of an audio product to you?

How important is the visual design of an audio product to you?
Extremely important
17% (44 votes)
Very important
35% (90 votes)
Somewhat important
31% (79 votes)
Not important at all
16% (42 votes)
Total votes: 255

Some audio companies, such as Bang & Olufsen, concentrate just as many resources into their products' appearance as into their sound. Does this matter to you?

Chief Running Bare's picture

Well---a stereo system is like a woman. I like big tubes, tall speakers and tight bass.

Peter Manning's picture

I prefer the more traditional speaker design. I have a pair of Springwood Custom Dominator floor standing speakers which were made by Les Johnston in the Blue Mts, Sydney NSW Australia. He uses Dynaudio drive units and mid range plus Esotar tweeters. These speakers he made me have 2 x 300mm Dynaudio 30W - 100XL Woofers, 2 x 175mm Dynaudio Soft Dome D - 76AF mid ranges and one Esotar T - 330D 28mm tweeter. Size H1540mm, W340mm and D600mm. Both midranges and tweeter are offset to the left and right of each speaker as you look at them and they are finished in real wood Jarrah. Quite simply they are in my opinion better sounding than the Duntech Marquis and JMLab Altera and Antera's both of which I auditioned prior to deciding on these Springwood's. My previous speakers in order were B&W DM580 and B&W 640i.

Norm Strong's picture

Frankly, I don't think there's that much difference in sound between equipment of the same pedigree. So why not go for pretty?

Withaya Tangtanaporn's picture

Listening to music while fighting with your wife is not fun, believe me.

Rusli Arshad's picture

First its the looks that catches the eyes. Then I will want to know more about the component. I'll read about it and will also want to audition it. If two components are at par on sonics I'll go for the prettier one even if it costs a little bit more.

GeoSynch's picture

This is a ridiculous question! Of course, looks are important, but there aren't any hideously ugly components in the hi-fi category. The only consistently ugly components are Sony and Pioneer receivers. Bang & Olufsen, along with Bose, are only for dilettantes. Anyone in the market for a hi-fi components who places form before function is foolish, as is the manufacturer that wastes product-development dollars on such.

yc's picture

As long as it doesn't look like a piece of factory equipment, I'm ok. Guess that rules out Audio Research for me.

Neil Crowley's picture

Form should follow function. The enjoyment of well-designed and -built equipment is part of the total audiophile experience.

R Willis's picture

They all look alike in the dark.

Sherman Amsel's picture

I love the look of my McIntosh MC1000s and all the other McIntosh source components. The looks are as important as the sound quality---when the unit isn't on, it becomes part of the room's decor.

Tony Esporma's picture

Black is black, I want my baby back . . . Actually, I prefer champagne.

james jones's picture

keep it simple with superior build quality and you cant go wrong(krell,acurus,theta)and the list goes on

Mike O'Healighe's picture

This question is dealing with testosterone levels. Based on looks alone, would you rather drive a ford contour or a C class mercedes? Ultimately, sound and price determine what equipment you will take home with you, but if it doesn't look quite right, you won't be as happy with it. I would love to have equipment that sounds wonderful and can disappear, integrate, or enhance my listening environment.

Derek Mac Hugh's picture

Visual design is most important, as the product in most cases resides in people's living rooms and therefore should be aesthetically pleasing. I cant understand why quality visual design and quality electronics cannot go hand in hand. That's why I am a Bang & Olufsen fan.

Gordon White's picture

Sound quality and value are the primary priorities of most audiophiles. If I want to make my sound room more aesthetically pleasing, I'll buy a painting or a new sofa.

Keith Kinser's picture

Would a Krell still be a Krell without its trademark look and feel?

John Lum's picture

Why shouldn't components look as good as they sound? Why does everyone put up with that awful black? I am willing to wait longer and pay more for colors other than black.

Dwight, OPKS's picture

I like to listen to music with the lights out or with the room dimly lit by candles. So it's the sound quality that matters.

Jorge Velarde's picture

Good looks are achievable without a dramatic incremental cost. However, when they make up a large portion of the cost, something is wrong. Nevertheless, people, including myself, hate to pay $10,000 for a product with an unimpressive appearance.

David Gilbert's picture

Who would settle for a Ferrari or Lambo if it was ugly? Fab-looking equipment is part of the fun. No?

nils @'s picture

as i stand i have no restriction as to the spousal acceptance factor (read: single) and i'm not trying to impress the ladys with my system. therefore aesthetics has little relevence. on top of that my components are off to the side, hardly seen. Its the sound that counts.

John Kolesnikowicz's picture

The product design must be functional foremost, and aestectically pleasing as well.'s picture

If sonically equal, who wouldn't rather have the great looking , form follows function, new style rather then the same old black box that everyone else has?

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

In case of B&O it is a major issue, because they put 80% of their resources into product appearance and 20% into the sound...

Dan Rubin's picture

I care about sonics first and foremost. Many elements of industrial design that are frequently touted in reviews, such as the thickness of the faceplate, I really don't care about. However, the overall look of the product is, I must admit, a factor---possibly a significant factor---in my feelings about it.

Jason Paskowitz's picture

We can't lose sight of the fact that our hobby is essentially about aesthetics, music and sound being just two of them. Furthermore, I don't care how many times you can print "the sound is all that matters," the fact is that there is a certain amount of pride of ownership associated with high-end audio.

Tony Coughlin's picture

Are you kidding? Just give me the music!

Buck Maxey's picture

Good looks don't make up for mediocre sound. However, all things being equal, give me the cooler-looking piece of equipment. Let's face it---a lot of good stuff sounds very similar.

Lauch McKenzie's picture

Visual design is a valid element of a quality unit. Ask a chef or Jaguar owner or software designer. It's not complete without an artistic interpretation.

Lee Kissinger's picture

I buy audio equipment for the sound. If I want visual stimulation, I will buy a picture.