Massive entertainment center replacement ideas?


For many years, our family has had a massive entertainment center. I have found that it IS possible to get great sound out of my current system in spite of the presence of "Gladys" as it'll be called. But I still can't help but wonder how much damage is still being done to sound which is asymptotically approaching perfection (for me) by the gargantuan entertainment center.

And now, (insert Hallelujah Chorus here) the POINT:
Mercifully, my wife has consented to ditch Gladys at any time, provided that I can come up with something that more or less still hides the cords, cables, etc. OK fellow A'gon-izers, IDEAS???????
mdhoover
False wall.
JSP credenzza, check out pics in my system. Carried by tweeters, for a full line of their products check their site out. http://www.jsp-industries.com
Nothing wrong with Gladys, you just have to make 'her' accoustically disappear. I also have a smaller cabinet between my speakers. Granted my sspeakers are a lot further apart and further out into the room. If you keep the cabinet doors open when you are playing music the shelves, components and empty spaces will act as diffusors and should create no major reflective surfaces, other than a TV. If you have a TV in the cabinet cover it with a blanket when you are playing music. Works for me. :-)
Mdhoover,

I see no issues with what you have....edge diffraction can become a problem with anything too close to the speakers but that does not appear to be your case.

If you don't plan on ever moving, are getting rid of Gladys anyway, and are prepared to stick with your speakers over the long term then you might consider custom build.... a soffit mount built in wall design....just use lots of MDF (2 inches thick and make sure it is all heavily braced)

Good luck!
Thanks to all who've responded so far.

Unsound: I'm not sure exactly what you mean.

Velo62: Beautiful stuff at the JPS web site. Your system is gorgeous too!

Newbee: If I open the doors on the bottom, they only swing out and will not push back into the cabinet. I generally play it with the bottom two doors closed. I may throw a blanket over the TV.

Shadorne: You already know how impressed I am with your setup! Someday something like that for me maybe, but not for a while due to lack of time, talent, etc.

I will say that the system images like the thing weren't even there, as if ghosts were playing in the same space occupied by Gladys, as well as elsewhere on the soundstage. Perhaps Gladys can stay for a while.

Thanks again.
Here's a thought Bill... remove Gladys and see what happens to your sound. If you like the change, then pursue a new less obtrusive rack, if no change keep her. No guess work. Make sense?

Check out my main system, you and I have the same Gladys! Built mine myself, where did you get yours? My rack is off to the side of the room, well away from the speakers. My main system is in the family room with the furnace room directly under it; I run a balanced interconnect from my preamp in the rack under the floor to my amp in the furnace room, and then run the speaker wires from the amp output up through rhe floor to the speakers. Nice clean install, wish I could get rid of the couch between my speakers though.
"Here's a thought Bill... remove Gladys and see what happens to your sound. If you like the change, then pursue a new less obtrusive rack, if no change keep her. No guess work. Make sense?"
Mijknarf

Mijknarf,
Yes, it makes perfect sense, except for the difficulty in moving Gladys. Just getting her to SLIDE required me putting four of those huge furniture slider things under the bottom, and I even sprayed those with Sailkote brand teflon spray. I continue to believe that Gladys is one of the largest wooden objects ever constructed by humans. Having been to Japan, I can vouch for the fact that the Todai-ji temple in Nara, Japan is an even larger wooden structure, in fact said to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Still, I think that Gladys is pretty darn big and hard to move.

"Check out my main system, you and I have the same Gladys! Built mine myself, where did you get yours?"
-Hack

Hack,
Unlike you and Shadorne, I haven't the talent to build such a structure. The story of Gladys, from my perspective, is told here, in the thread discussion following the review of the Intuitive Design Summits. Maybe Gladys isn't so bad after all. I'm beginning to feel like I'm in good company!
Since my loving and wonderful wife (the original purchaser of Gladys) was kind enough to attend the RMAF with me, it seemed like a great opportunity to look at audio furniture. I thought that Audio Elegance displayed some nice looking racks, and my wife and I discussed the issue with Mr. Jeff Dicks. He was kind enough to actually dig up this thread and then email a reply, which seems like pretty good customer service to me. He gave me permission to post his email message, which is shown below. This kind of thing is part of what makes this hobby special, in my opinion. Someday, Gladys will be....um....RELOCATED. Anyway, here's the message:
Hello Bill, I finally found the time to search for your discussion regarding Gladys that we discussed at the RMAF in Denver. I sincerely understand your concerns, the problem is I have found most everything has a trade-off. As far as Gladys creating problems with room acoustics, I feel even with a double wide open rack with a table top big screen would hamper sound almost as much as what you have now. With the newer technology and the thin wall mount big screens this is a different story. I would be very tempted to consider a lowboy double wide open rack which I could provide either in a stock design or designed to your specs and a wall mount thin big screen. I believe I could integrate the lowboy rack or whatever rack you may consider with your furniture and decor without much trouble. Another option may be to seperate the audio room altogether. In any event please be advised I am more than willing to help in any way I can. Sincerly, Jeff Dicks President Audio Elegance 605-352-3461.
Md, I was going to suggest exactly what Jeff D. offered you, I just did this to my fathers rig wich formerly had a large projection unit flanked by matching AV racks.
We installed a Salamander Low boy rack and wall mounted a 58in Plasma....what a great improovement in sound!
I have a rack like Gladys, but I call her Bertha in my room now and get what I think is fairly good performance but as I soon move I am going to have nothing between speakers and I will surely post the results if you are interested, I wish you luck and ask for yours in return!
I just finished going through that exact transition, and the end result was WELL worth it. My ML Summits soundstage depth, imaging, and tonal balance were markedly improved just by replacing my mammoth wall unit/RPTV with a low console and flat panel HDTV. For higher WAF, I ended up getting a moderate-priced cabinet from Crate&Barrel (their 70" Harmony console). It's actually a VERY audiophile-friendly design, and extremely well-ventilated, with back panels that pop right off. I supplemented it with a Studio Tech component rack, and the entire setup ended up being a win-win situation for both my wife (the videophile) and me.

Before...
[IMG]http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l175/sleepysurf/Summits-obliqueSmall.jpg[/IMG]

After...
[IMG]http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l175/sleepysurf/AVTransition6.jpg[/IMG]
"Md, I was going to suggest exactly what Jeff D. offered you, I just did this to my fathers rig wich formerly had a large projection unit flanked by matching AV racks.
We installed a Salamander Low boy rack and wall mounted a 58in Plasma....what a great improovement in sound!
I have a rack like Gladys, but I call her Bertha in my room now and get what I think is fairly good performance but as I soon move I am going to have nothing between speakers and I will surely post the results if you are interested, I wish you luck and ask for yours in return!"
Chadnliz
Yes, I'm interested and yes I also wish you the best of luck. Thanks for responding. Bertha is also a good name for such an object. Remember when all the hurricanes used to have female names? Then someone got ticked off and insisted on some of them having male names (Hurricane Andrew, etc.) The same thing could happen to huge entertainment centers with female names, so we'd best be careful with our nomenclature!

Sleepysurf:

What a great set of before and after photos. It reminds me of the before and after photos on the Body for Life book cover flaps (author Bill Phillips). That's a very happy outcome.

An audiophile friend owns Essence Super Gems and has them set up with NO huge entertainment center between them. Soundstage DEPTH appears to be superior in the absence of a structure like Gladys or Bertha. Listening to his rig sounding very nice is what triggered my renewed interest in this topic.

Thanks for all the responses so far.