The Listening Room

The Guy: Your tastes run more to single-malt scotch than malt liquor, and you want a sophisticated space to indulge your passions—vintage jazz, fine cigars, and the occasional game of Texas Hold 'Em with the guys. You're one of the few people you know who still keeps a collection of LPs and a turntable to play them on, the centerpiece of an audio system that gets pride of place in this mellow den.

The Getaway: Think Edwardian library, updated for the 21st century with built-in storage for stereo equipment, sound-absorbing floor and wall treatments, and a wireless tabletop remote control to operate everything from the music to the lighting to the thermostat.

Setting It Up Right

Whether it's in a downstairs den, a converted bedroom, or up in the attic, the key to a good listening room is containing the sound. After all, you can't crank up the volume?if the kids are next door trying to sleep. The best method, says Utz Baldwin, president of Houston-based electronics installer AD Systems, is to build a room within a room, creating an air buffer zone to deaden sound. But if you're not inclined to construct a high-tech listening chamber, you can install sound-baffling materials on the floor, walls, and ceiling. And don't forget to audition your speakers. "Listen to your ears, not to a salesperson," Baldwin says. Try to position your sitting area so it creates an equilateral triangle with the speakers, and place the speakers at least a foot or two away from the side and back walls for best sound quality.
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