Do you care about the LOOK???

I know most would say no. For myself, YES, I do. If the designer doesn't have a taste, you can tell from the outlook of the gears.
The built and look of an audio piece should be well-built, elegant, just like a "rolex" or a piece of jewelry...
Agree or not? Tell me....
ALRIGHT!! Alright already........I admit it...I've never bought a piece of equipment that I considered ugly, and believe me, there is quite a bit of ugly gear out there.

So looks are's my audiophile membership card.......yeah.....I'm a fraud.
There are all kinds of "looks."

The Saab 9.3 convertible, Volkswagen Passat Wagon, GMC Yukon, Honda Accord, Lexus coupe, Ford Mustang and Porsche Carrera are all beautiful in someone's eyes and yet each of these (undoubtedly) have their detractors.

I tend to think of these styles as functional. Each of the automobiles listed perform a different function and each has it's on "look."

A Krell with gleaming faceplate is a very different animal than the ASL Hurricane but there are systems that "prove" each one is the superior performer.

I don't think it's that easy to classify equipment based on looks.

Besides, I sold off my Rolex President years ago. I now own a Titanium and gold Omega Seamaster and most people don't know what it is nor do they pay attention to it :^).

In many ways this is a benefit, not to mention it's nearly as accurate as the $35.00 TImex I bought from Super Target.
My preamp looks like Rosey O'Donnell.

Matty, your preamp wears "cat eye" glasses ?

preamp girl
Damn right I do but only for certain gear. Mains/Center speakers and their respective amps are very important.
Pre-pro and CD players are moderately so. Projectors, surrounds, surround amps, switchers, DVD players, cables, tuners, etc are not important.

I like my electronics and speakers visible in open racks and amp stands so design is important to me.

JM Lab's new Electras are the most gorgeous speakers right now. I'm sure they sound beautiful too. My wallet diagrees though :)
Looks are important, but, as Sharon Stone so aptly put it, "You can only f++k your way to the middle!"
A definite "YES".

I will never consider buying an item if the look is not up to my expectation.

Just imagine that u're spending your time relaxing, listening & at the same time appreciating a beautiful pair of speaker, same apply to equipment.
I have broken through the "matched black box barrier"--looks matter & some good designers realize that.
Well maybe it's a ''really nice piece of gear with a great personality and after all it's what's inside that counts....when the looks go what do you have'' ......words from a single audiophile man.
My wife does,which is why the electonics are in a nice looking cabinet with hinged doors.

Very much so. The Proceed PRE is in my opinion one of the ,ost appealing designs--, same for the whole line. The old Sherwood tube tuners wth their long dials and green lighting. The Dynaco FM-3, very simple and timeless. The MC-275. Yes, I am very much hooked on good industrial design. Same with cars, the dashboard and controls are where i sit for hours a week. If they don't cut it, the car doesn't get bought.
For me, style has alot to do with the room you have to work with. Right now, my system is set up in an active living space in my house. This arrangement dictates my component make up and speaker size, and yes, style. If I had a dedicated listening room, then I would probably look at some ugly mono blocks and bigger speakers.
My spouse and I are firmly in the camp of "only the sonics matter," not the appearance. While we appreciate beauty of exterior design, after being seduced down that path once early on in our my journey, we've dropped appearance from consideration...

My particular lust, around 1972, was for the drop dead gorgeous linear tracking, belt driven, B&O Beogram 4000 turntable. Boy, talk about being blinded by the beauty of design – to me this turntable was a piece of sculpture worthy to grace any art gallery (and it did find its way to the Museum of Modern Art, I believe). But, this little mis-adventure also taught me a big time lesson about sonics versus styling. I gratified my yearning for the visual aesthetics with the purchase of one of these jewels in 1974 (the model 4002 by then), but when I traded up to an early VPI turntable a few years later, I became a much happier music listener. (The one thing that did stick with me is a love for linear tracking tonearms.) I’ve never since considered the appearance of a piece of audio gear in the purchase equation, just the sonics.
With one exception, I put performance above appearance. All my equipment is black or dark grey, so I won't buy a component with a silver faceplate.
I agree with Albertporter, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, it does matter how the stuff looks, especially in the case of a system in the living room, as opposed to a system in a dedicated HT room. I tend to like solid, well-built but functional looking gear without a lot of "bells and whistles," and I think some manufacturers go too far trying to present a "statement" look. Sort of like the PT Cruiser, the novelty can wear off over time.
I read someone's discription of "Wilson Sophia" as being similar in looks to a trash can. After a couple of months I have grown attached to the looks---based on how much they please. Women kinda do that thing,too.
I think the question here is what does the beholder think.

My take on it is if I am going to spend thousands of dollars on a stereo, I want it to look good as well as sound good. Why sell myself short?? I have eyes as well as ears.
I can say I definitely care about looks. For instance, I myself don't care for the way Naim products look so I have never gone out of my way to listen to them. I might be selling myself short on some good sounding stuff but I've found enough that is both visually appealing and musically appealing to be happy.

I do tend to go with things that don't look as if the whole budget was blown on the Knobs and casework........ then again I don't like the Niam catagory cause they're plastic. I guess I'm in the middle on well built looks that mean business.

Martin Logan - Sound as good as they look.
I have both black and cherry rails for my Ascents. When I want an awesome looking piece of mechanical sculpture, the black rails go on, when something more mellow is called for, the cherry rails work well.
no, only performance matters- the fact that I have considered the Mauve coloured Wyetech Topaz amp for our living room says something :-) Wife doesn't care- "it's ALL ugly" (and I'm paraphrasing) Having said all this, when you have a new baby in the house, limiting factors such as safety can not be avoided...
Sure. Is someone seriously going to tell me that my Atma-Sphere MA-1 MK2.3 Silvers are not the most beautiful thing they've ever seen? I’m an industrial designer in automotive and I find them gorgeous in a retro kinda way. They glow so nicely on my living room floor next to the speakers and they're far less in need of maintenance than the wood burning fireplace to keep that glow going. Not to mention the sounds they create are more interesting. My girl thinks that tube amps are prettier than SS amps. What more can I say! Must be that diamond ring, birthday cake, Christmas tree twinkling subliminal thing that women are born with... Yet she's right, of course. The Atma’s do continue to surprise us regularly with the varied gift of great music. Happy listening!
looks sure do matter,i tried to get past the look part of the hobby & i couldnt,ive tried out a bunch of kick a$$ gear & some of it was better than what i was running but it looked so fugly that i had to ditch it.

if i had a rig where all the gear was hid in a closet i might not care but all my stuff is out where everybody can see it so if it dont look great i wont even bother to even listen to it because ive learned that i wont keep it long.

you can have great sound & great looks too without compromising sound quality.

"Elegant, just like a Rolex..."
Darn it, when will people learn that Rolex is not elegant, or accurate, or well-made but rather is a tasteless equivalent of Bose....
wow! i dont know squat about watches but i would say that comparing a rolex to bose is rather hard core,dont ya think ?
If yer gonna spend as much money as you'd normally spend on a piece of gear, it better be asthetically pleasing too right?
when I asked the Rolex salesman about "how well the watch kept time" compared to the seiko on my arm, his reply bowled me over laughing:

"sir, the gentleman that wears a rolex is allowed to be ten minutes late to a meeting"

(I know wear a Ulysse Nardin)
The more the sound matters the less you are willing to compromise on anything , especially aesthetics .

A true watch connoisseur would not be caught dead (and I mean it!) wearing a bloody Rolex the same way as an audiophile listening to a set of Bose speakers. The only thing those companies do well is aggressive adverizing. However, both companies have remarkable following: it all proves the point that beauty is in the eye...blah/blah/blah
I care about the look. I've always bought my speakers in an upgraded finish like walnut or rosewood. I once went to a dealer to look at an Oracle turntable and saw a mint Sota Star in the most beautiful rosewood i've ever seen.
Bought the Sota. Never get tired of looking at it. But I will buy for sound alone. A year ago I bought Don Garber's Fi 2a3 monoblocks. I don't think many people would enter them in a beauty contest but I have come to love their looks.

Getting back to the "sub-thread" about watches, or anything else for that matter, I wonder why some people care about what others think. I might be curious from a statistic point but I wouldn't care. I used to, but then I went into the 4th grade. :-). IF 95% of the people polled thought Rolex wasn't elegant, I might be one of the 5% who does and with my money I'll buy what I like. In the end it's much more economical.
In fact, I was trying to get impression about the "LOOK" of audio equipment. I myself don't have much expirience about watches, just used "rolex" as an example., I would even take a vintage American 23 jeweled Hamilton over Rolex for that matter, and have. I grew up with a father that was a watchmaker and gunsmith. He was always working on pieces of high quality, beautiful hand made things, it was fascinating and he taught me a lot fine craftsmanship. He would work on Rolex but had little respect for it. I'm sorry but, in this case Rolex and Bose is a most apt comparison to draw I'm afraid. Happy listening!
I am willing to sacrafice a little bit on the sound quality for the look....
My first priorities are performance and build quality. If it looks good too, that's just gravy on the audio burger.
For a while I kept a small poster of my Air Tight ATM300 on my desk. I think Air Tight's amps combine both beautiful function and looks. They really are quite jewel-like in appearance.

The Lexus coupe performs like a rather sleepy, overweight house pet. Pretty damn good looking car but I don't think Lexus has found it's design statement yet. Or, at best, they are just starting to get there with the new models.
I agree that Rolex is an amazingly powerful brand, which therefore means that their watches are overrated and overpriced.

As a barometer of this situation, it is interesting to examine a really, really good fake Rolex.

I used to make it a sport to shop for the most remarkable fake Rolex from Chinatown, New York, to Hong Kong to Thailand.

The good ones are really remarkable, not only in weight and finish, but also in their accuracy, particularly compared to the "real" Rolexes.

If you really think about this, you would realize that the $50.00 "fake" watch offers at least 51%, if not 90% + of the benefits of the real Rolex, other than the hologram of authenticity or whatever other bogus, margin justifying schemes the real watch offers.

This is both a disturbing conclusion about the value of a real Rolex (although paradoxically it retains value) as well as the hypnotic power of strong brands.

Nonetheless, I cherish my "real" Rolex stainless steel Daytona.

I do realize it has a humble Zenith movement and I am sure many lesser known brands and watches have craftsmanship and artistry that would put it to shame.

But the Bose of watches? OUCH!
Oh...and about the look of audio components, as well as watches.

I would vote a resounding Y-E-S!!!!! for audio, for cameras, kitchen appliances, furniture....for that matter just about anything.

Not to say that looks are everything, or that a beautifully designed, mediocre component is desirable. I I have never owned B&O for example, and dont expect to until they hire a new team of engineers.

But to say that looks dont matter is a chippy, naive, provincial position, IMO.

An English Caterham 7, or for that mattter, even a "pimp my ride", Fast and Furious Honda CRX can probably leave many Ferraris in the dust.

But WHO CARES. Unless you are economically challenged, I dont think anyone would say they wouldnt prefer the Ferrari.

The Ferrari is a powerful, magical brand because it combines performance with craftsmanship and beauty.

If more so called "high end" audio companies thought like Enzo Ferrari, instead of Japanese car tuners, there would be fewer people in the world who viewed us as the lunatic fringe.


Cwlondon, Found some dirt bag versions of the Rolex in Souel, Korea e tia won dong street for 35 USD but some nice ones in Hong Kong. They were all cheap pin-lever movements though. It was amazing but, not amazing enough for me to own one. Cheers!
Sure, looks are important, though not as important as the sound. It's nice to see a little artistic or archtectural flair to go with the good sound, so the piece just doesn't loojk like another black box. The Art of producing great Audio sound should be complemented with a pleasing appearance.
Looks aren't important unless you have money to burn.

I'll take the ugliest, cut corners $1000 anything that sounds like a $5-10k anything over a great looking $1000 something that sounds like a $800-1000 something

All of us contributing to this thread OBVIOUSLY care about how our equipments sound AND look. The truth of the matter is that we are blessed with so many choices of components in performance and aesthetics. Two different amps with similar price, performance, and sound, and one is "visually more pleasing" to you--which one would you choose?
Yep. Looks always comes first for me. Of course it has to sound good next. If not I go for the next good looking but better souning component.e.g. For my second compact system, I selected Jadis Orchestra Reference on mostly looks. Of course beautiful sound is icing on the cake!
where is my medicine?!
Yes, but I don't get bent out of shape over it.