Easy: you'll just have to try it both ways.
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I faced a similar situation and went with the smaller section for my system. The primary reason being the end result seemed more like a "real room".
Love my space, but have come to wish it were a tad bigger. Thus have been toying with the idea of tearing down the interior wall which formed the L and using the whole basement space. Not ideal in either case.
Considerations that come into play, the size and type of your speakers etc. Will your music room also be for television as well as audio? Short or long wall for listening and or viewing? Account for your expected seating for the room.
The expected use for the rest of the family in my basement conversion did not materialize as I had expected. Wish I had been a little more selfish.
Post your result, would be interested to know.
Glenfihi... The “rest of the family” that’ll use the finished area is the five grandkids. After more coherent thinking, it dawned on me that one of the things I want to accomplish is to have a room that allows me to put some real space between the speakers and the back wall… so I think the answer to my question is to use the larger 15’ by 18’ foot section for the stereo and the smaller L section for a TV area.
This project will for sure turn into the proverbial BOAT, i.e. Bring Out Another Thousand $... since I’ll be adding a 2 channel amp and preamp to my Theta system.
Give some of the funds over to sound insulation of the AC and heater and duct work. Another area I wished I had done a little better. M snow's suggestion of trying it both ways may be something I could play around with.
Raks,...Never heard that saying before of "Boat", I will have to remember that. Hope your project will not be a large boat and has smooth sailing.