Think long and hard on what look you want to wind up with first! Ive had to change things drastically a few times because I over looked details in the esthetic
mostly the note on exposed cable runs.
Write it all donw on paper. Then, when youve made up your mind
go over it again. Twice. Itll save you $$$ and time.
My experience with having anything within the desired/proposed area for reproducing the virtual sound stage has shown me this
Having a large box (46 61in RPTV) made the sound stage accumulate around the TV. On top, to either side, and made the overall depth of the stage quite uneven. Even pulling the speakers out still further into the room, closer to the LP, didnt help much. Room size constraints prevented them from going far enough into the room as to over come the plug in the SS itself.
So I had a wall erected with a sort of fireplace look, and pushed the big TV into the alcove/cut out. Mucho Better ola! Eventually a pr of bi fold doors covered that hole in the wall/closet and a 100 x 60 in wide, on wall screen was mounted on hinges partially covring those bi folds, but still enabling access to the now, storage area that previous void had then become.
Personally I dont see any issues with having gear immediately between the loud speakers, or rearward of them along the wall, for instance
. So long as the gear is kept close to the floor on open stands. This cold mean several single platforms though.
Open faced boxes (bookshelfs) will collect and push the sound into and around them. Thus altering the cohesiveness of the sonic presentation.
I think you can mitigate this effect by having one thats open on each side and on top. Not sure
others will say more on that idea Im sure.
There is definitely something to diffusing the front wall or the one behind the speakers
I never seem to call that wall rightly. Although I would not use an 18 inch deep solid side wall bookshelf to do it, unless it was wall to wall, ceiling to floor, and even I would probably not care for that esthetic.
To shed some more light onto how important the er, front wall is
following the addition of the fixed on wall large projection screen, I can tell easily a difference between when the draperies which I use to cover the screen with are open or closed. Open the sound is smarter, harder, more forward sounding (though not agressive) and a bit cleaner overall. Closed, the sound stage gains greater coherence, smoothness and better representation. There are plenty of folds in the panels so it looks nice and adds defraction on that wall as well. They arent sheer, and they arent thermals
but somewhere in between. You can see an over head light if you hold the material up to your eye and look at one
though not vividly. I went through several types of curtains before settling on this sort.
If you can keep the area from speaker plane to the wall behind them, and from side wall to side wall empty so the sound gets an opportunity to develop without pocketing it about those items within it, I feel youre better off.
THEN, on that wall, you can address reflection via diffusion, and/or bass via absorption. I think thereafter too a simple path with a decent esthetic is merely to drape that wall. If used with on wall diffusers you can cover them with a sheer er, drape, if no, use a bit thicker drape. If no curtain panels are going in, theres decorative choices in color schemes for several diffuser devices Ive seen here and elsewhere online. Some you can paint!
Setting gear off to one side or another makes you use longer spkr cables of course, but then theres the possible issue of addressing placement of some thing directly across from the gear stand/rack to even out the unadorned opposite wall in the same area there
Try to get a vivid vision of the final look in your head first of what youd like and be detail oriented. Or merely move around the gear to see its effect here and there, first. Everybody going to be OK with lengthy exposed spkr wires racing across the floor and along one wall? What about traffic, kids, pets, and company? And speaker wires are costly too, the longer they are! Even underneath area rugs, or inside colored socks, some folks arent keen on the look of lots o wire here and there
then theres that vaccumming business too and moving them about for that
. Just thinking out loud here.