So in summary, you may naturally ask... "Is this worth it?... How much money should I spend on improving acoustics in my living room?..." and other such questions.

David McCue had a specific reason for wanting his living room to sound as acoustically accurate as possible. Would a more typical living room or media room warrant this amount of work? Possibly not as much; but it is certainly a wonderful experience to listen to music or watch a movie and accurately hear the performed instruments or the content that was actually recorded. In general, people enjoy listening to music in reverberant spaces that are acoustically accurate. If you love looking at paintings, you would most likely not have fluorescent lighting in your room, even if it was less expensive to install and maintain. Today's living room, or family room or great room, is becoming the center of focus for more and more events. The analogy for sound is similar.

Admittedly, this kind of work is not always inexpensive. "Bang for the buck" is a constant issue to deal with in most house designs. The acoustic work for the McCues' living room cost approximately $25,000. A more typical investment for an incremental improvement in room acoustics might range from $5,000 to $10,000: more like the cost of an additional half-bath or larger swimming pool.

In the end, the question of whether it's worth it is up to the individual homeowner. In the McCues' case, increasing their renovation budget by 1 or 2 percent to ensure complete listening and piano-playing enjoyment seems like a sound investment to me.

John Storyk was the acoustical designer for the Manchester project.
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