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?

JAH's picture

Some visual appeal is probably required to cause a person to want to audition a piece of equipment in the first place.

Conor's picture

If they concentrated 80 percent of their resorces into their products sound then in the end their image in consumer terms will be good.

TDP's picture

It always helps that a product is good looking, but still has that "high-end" look. I have a Krell 300i, and that blue light is pretty cool-looking at night. But when it comes to speakers, they should look good. They're in the middle of my room, for crying out loud!

R.  deReza's picture

I pick my favorites and then weed them out with the aesthetics. The winner has both form and function.

John,'s picture

Function before form! Given that, I do like it when an audio manufacturer can give its equipment an elegant or pleasing look. Spartan visual design well done, like Audio Research's, is okay too. What I don't like is to see a company offer expensive equipment with cheesy or too-clever/kinda-ugly visual design . . . names withheld here, because you probably already know who you are---if you don't, your closest friends really should risk gently telling you. Some components are quite endearing, like B&W's Nautilus snails and Moth Audio's mad-scientist's-laboratory retro designs. My favorite: gazing into those dreamy big blue meters on a McIntosh amp while listening at night in a darkened room.

Dave's picture

I won't pay extra for cherry vinyal paneling, but is nice to have the free option

Stephen Curling's picture

style is what the other half of High End is, the other half being musical purity. and who likes ugly objects in their room?

Simo Tikka's picture

I usually don't wear my glasses when listening to music . . . :) If two components really were just as good, I'd take the better-looking one. Otherwise, the sound is what matters.

David G.  Johnstone's picture

i find that most looks on equipment today are an aquired taste. much of what is avialable is usually odd looking at best.

Eric W.  Sarjeant's picture

Components need to look good yet be functional at the same time. A litany of bells & whistles doesn't make a faceplate look any better.

Thad Aerts,'s picture

If I'm gonna drop the amount of change required for high-end gear, it sure as hell better look good on top of sounding good. Who wants a really fast, well-handling Pinto?

M.J.  Braz's picture

Appearance is vital when one spends thousands of dollars on "high-end" equipment. I consider the stereo system to be an important piece of furniture, and demand that it makes a positive visual statement as well as a sonic one.

David Badner's picture

I own a J.A. Mitchelle Fluid Drive. Need I say more?

Paul Foley, Whiteman AFB, MO's picture

As every Chef knows, we eat first with our eyes. So it goes with our listening. It needs to please the eye as well as the soul. I love visually well-designed equipment. With Bang & Olufsen I am never sure which is more important to them, the look or the sound. In the world of audio we like that serious, no-nonsense look. We want it purpose-built, built to last, almost industrial in design, but with some flair. I want the components to have some style, some artistry to them. This can ran the gamut from the straight and linear to the curving and rounded fa

Paul Thompson's picture

Madrigal and Krell spend money for their looks as well. I think that the products' looks matter, but maybe not in the way you meant. If looks are that important, the system is probably not meant for critical listening.

H.DANDACHI Saudi Arabia's picture

For me the Hi-Fi component should look good , even very good , I often fall in love in good looking components , and I often hated the sound , because the component looked boring .

Timothy L.  Farnsworth's picture

I have to enjoy what my equipment looks like, but it is not as important as what it sounds like (music).

Stewart's picture

If the actual equipment used to record, mix, master, and duplicate recordings does not need cosmetics, which contribute nothing to the sound and needlessly drive up prices, then neither do I when reproducing such recordings in my home.

Vernon Neal's picture

The beauty of a Krell or AR, the simplicity of Meridian components, or the clean, practical lines of Spectral---all is as much ART as MUSIC. It is very important to me.

Wallace Hibbard's picture

While I wouldn't make an important buying decision solely on looks, many of us don't have the luxury of having separate listening rooms. Therefore, aesthetics are important. I can't believe that good design costs more than poor.

Drori's picture

It is nice to have an appealing looking new piece of hardware but the output quality has the final say.

Paul Duncan's picture

The smaller the better and the simpler the better

Dave Thorne's picture

When I spend the kind of money that a lot of manufacturers ask, I believe that it should look good.

Eduardo Gutierrez's picture

A plain design, without excesive lights and knobs is what I ike maybe just some dark blue or green indicators are enough... Metal and aluminium is better to me

Peter van Gessel's picture

As long as the design is save I don't care about the looks. It's the sound that counts.

Paul Drum's picture

To me it is important to have a product to compliment your room. I have the EAD Encore pre\pro and that thing is really sharp looking and it performs as well as it looks.

Pauli Peura's picture

A product's appearance is one essential part of the product. But still, the most important part of my hi-fi components is their sound. It doesn't matter how ugly, for example, an amplifier is if it sounds good (and works okay!).

Neil Puffer's picture

User-friendly controls and bulletproof design are of utmost importance.

Joel's picture

On my budget it would be tough to buy something that sounded good and looked awful, mainly because my listening room is my living room.

Bob Niesel's picture

A good examle of perceived value would be between Proceed's AVP and Lexicon's DC-1. Features aside, which would you spend $5k on?