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Please Help - My Wife Hates My Stereo Equipment

last month
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We have a cabin with a largeish (20x40) living room, one end of which is all glass with great views. The whole place has great views, but my wife and I particularly want the living room view to be spectacular. The other end of the living room has a TV, and my wife is happy with how she is decorating that. In the middle of the room is a player piano (gloss black) that my wife is also happy with. The first floor of the cabin is very open (so there is line of site from the kitchen, over the dinning room, and into the sunken living room, with a book case divider. We are both very happy with the architecture and finishes, and want the place to look like it came out of architectural disgest. The only problem is the view end of the living room -- as to everything else (and the place is pretty large, so everything is a bunch of different rooms, including a wine cellar, a sun room, an exercise room, two mud rooms, a family room and bar area, guest bedrooms, etc.

So our problem is that I want to put a nice stereo at the view end of the living room. I had my wife's support with the concept and the equipment I envisioned. The only constraints were: 1) there couldn't be any visible power cords, or wires, etc., and 2) I couldn't put anything in front of the windows in order not to block the view. I purchased the equipment and seeing it in person has caused my wife great distress, even though the rules are followed (cables from the speakers, for example, will run under the floor through access ports). In fairness, the speakers, which are 4' tall, but stand about 4' from the windows, do slightly block the view if they are positioned just right -- that is one of her objections, but I think the real problem is that she just thinks they are too intrusive. I should point out that before ordering anything, I showed her the various speakers I was considering. My first choice was more massive, but less expensive. My wife preferred the most expensive speakers I was considering, and thought they (Bowers & Wilkins 801D4) looked fine and much better than any of the others under consideration. Although I am naturally frugal, I spent the extra money expecting to make her happy.

The other thing that she doesn't like is the amplifiers. She was expecting what most people would think of as a stereo amplifier. In high end systems, like mine, amplification is often accomplished through the use of two separate amplifiers (one for each speaker), placed very near the speakers. And instead of putting the speakers up against a wall, or even in a corner, the speakers are often placed at least 4' from the wall. And my amplifiers are quite large -- something like 30" long, 17" wide, and 18" tall (they sit on 4" stands to elevate them from the floor), and they weigh about 200 pounds each. Most of the other equipment is on floating shelves (to isolate from any floor vibration) under the window. There is also a turntable, its power supply and its pre-amplifier, which are in an existing build-in cabinet and cannot be seen -- my wife has no complaints about that.

The picture below shows what I am describing. Note that we have ordered a 3-seat sofa that will replace the one partially shown in the picture, and we are temporarily using the piano bench as a coffee table, also as shown. We will add a real coffee table, and a rug (which will help with sound reverberation, although the room already has surprisingly good accoustics), and perhaps seating on the right. Also, there will be a 100" rising screen projector underneath the window, behind the equipment -- that screen will not be seen when not in use.

The bottom line is she hates the look, but a little encouragement from professional decorators might change her mind. So, I encourage all comments about the look, good or bad. My other hope is that some of you can make suggestions about how I can soften the look. For example, I suggested a glass coffee table, which could sit over the amplifiers. My wife didn't reject that idea out of hand, but doesn't think it would look good.

Any and all comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

Thanks, Rick


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