I had to move my system to the side b/c of the fireplace and that it stuck out into the room. Now we can use the fireplace which is good since our house is 108 years old and drafty. Only downside was i had to get new speakers cables to reach the far speaker LOL!
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I had a woodstove insert in my fireplace before the room became a listening room. After living with it like that for a year or so, last fall I had the woodstove moved to a more central location in the house, had a new hearth and flue built. I then re-installed the damper in the fireplace and filled the front opening with an Auralex Space Array diffusor panel. Not only does it sound better, but the new location of the stove heats the house quite nicely in the winter. The fireplace is still completely functional should we decide to sell or move the listening room.
I have a functioning fireplace between my speakers that juts out a little, but the listening room is our living room in a 122 year-old Victorian, so I deal with it by bringing out the speakers a bit and moving plants in front of the fireplace to cut down on relections (there's a glass front for the fireplace, and marble around the front). When I have a fire, I don't mind moving the plants, my speakers have rear-firing tweeters that actually sound better with a bit of reflection from the fireplace. The biggest problem the fireplace has caused me is that since all my front end equipment is in an adjoining room, and I don't want a 40 foot speaker cable run to get to the speakers (because I'd go broke since I have to tri-wire the satellites and run a separate cable for the woofers), and my wife doesn't want a stereo amp and crossover sitting in front of the fireplace, I have everything set up as mono for each channel, which means two separate dedicated lines, with two active crossovers and two pairs of amplifiers set up on each side of the fireplace. Maybe at some point I'll get some more conventional speakers and only need one pair of monoblocks; or maybe I'll move and get a dedicated listening room. It's nice, though, in the winter listening with the lights out watching the fire.
My fireplace serves as an RPG diffuser and bass trap - it sits about 6 feet directly behind the listener - exactly where I need absorption and diffusion. It is also surrounded by three large GIK Tri-traps. It is made from stacked logs of random size and seem quite effective for something that also is aesthetic.
Door is always open, logs in the fireplace act as a diffuser, and yes, if I let my wife cuddle up with me in the listening chair, she doesn't mind too much. Ideally, I would make a built-in, and do some other stuff with diffusers, I've just been a. too lazy and b. too into tuning a BMW 335i I bought. But if I had the time, I would make it more integrated.