johndinius, the waf is entirely unpredictable. It depends on the wife's tastes and the decor of the room along with the degree of animosity she has for spending money on such worthless things as speakers. Most women want speakers that are entirely hidden. Of course we all know in wall speakers generally suck. Smart guys will carve out a room for themselves in which they have the ultimate say. The deal of course is the wife has the rest of the house. Hog tied again. Believe it or not K horns are usually well accepted because they fit tight into a corner, are made of handsome veneers and don't look like speakers. Unfortunately, most of us do not like the sound as is. Planar speakers are out because they have to be away from the wall and become the preeminent fixture of the room not the painting your daughter did when she was 12 years old.
The best advise I can give is include your wife in the decision making, bring her to any auditions, let her know how much music means to you and keep your fingers crossed. I lucked out unintentionally because when I met the love of my life I had Magnepan Tympani 3's which could easily win the award for the ugliest speaker ever made. Anything would be an improvement. Score one for the good guys:) I still get my volume turned down all the time. They just do not like loud music and you can't teach them how to down shift. Am I in trouble yet?
FWIW...we all deal with WAF issues and it was a motivating factor in me starting my company. I make stand-mounts largely because my wife hates floor standers and it allows me to keep my own speakers in the living room. But every wife is different.
You need to define best looking according to her. I designed the speakers to my wife’s taste. I use simple cabinets with interesting looking drivers. I thought she would be horrified by my stands and she loved them and thinks the metal IsoAcoustic pucks look great. They can be unpredictable at best.
For me, I had a pair of Raidho X-1s. To say my wife hated them doesn’t really capture her feelings and she ranted about the white speaker cone. I use an Eton driver and the cone is shiny white with a sort of swirl to it and she loves it. Shiny vs flat made a difference too her. Gloss baffle vs aluminum baffle mattered to her. Again, unpredictable at best.
But, I can only complain so much since she did allow me to start my own speaker company. The right manufacturer can be more flexible than you think. I work with a cabinet maker who will put any veneer on my cabinets. We can stain or paint them any color. I am about to do a photo shoot with a speaker in an African Rosewood/Bubinga veneer.
Find the right company to work with and you will have a lifetime of happiness.
Depending on the surrounding decor, personal taste, and budget, the understated elegance of Daedalus Audio speakers may be worth considering. From their website:
And if you research comments on them in past threads here and elsewhere I think you’ll find that their combination of "fast" and dynamic yet very natural sound character, high efficiency, high power handling capability, benign impedance characteristics, and versatility with respect to amplification hold a lot of appeal as well. And, last but not least, Lou Hinckley of Daedalus is a pleasure to deal with
Good luck. Regards,
When it comes to WAF, mine seemed to prefer soft lines and curvy appearances rather than straight lines, sharp edges, and form follows function approach. Naturally she liked sonus faber lute shaped speakers. Surprisingly she also really likes the verity audio Parsifal in makore finish. With the bass module facing to the rear, the monitors look like they are resting on fine furniture.
Harbeths but that depends on your decor. In our kinda modern loft sort of place, the M30.1s are gorgeous, especially on thin stands like the old Foundation. That said, I think the best looking speaker of all time is the original Quad ESL, loved by my wife as well, but we don't have the space anymore.
If your home's aesthetic leans towards the resurgence of mid century modern, the Davone speaker line would fit right in. Have an Eames lounge chair in the room? The Davone Ray would look great out in front.
But...I always wonder if these "form first" products live up to the sound quality of their uglier counterparts. The reviews are always from tech outlets and not traditional audio press.
Totally depends on your aesthetic and room furnishings. I'm on my third (and last) pair of Daedalus Audio speakers. Can't decide whether I love the look or the sound of them more. Heirloom pieces, crafted one at a time by a master craftsman who knows what real instruments sound like and is able to get his speakers to reproduce them accurately. Not for everyone though--we have a house full of Stickley reproductions so Lou's speakers just blend in beautifully, adding to the ambiance (my wife might say at least not detracting from it). But many people these days prefer a modern, spartan aesthetic like you see in all the magazines--places where something from Wilson or Rockport would fit right in and my Daedalus Apollo's would look out of place.
IMHO the best looking(& most impressive) are the JBL Paragons, Metregons, and Hartsfields. Not the best sounding (although not BAD). The generate the most Oohs & Ahhs. They are conversation starters, for sure. There are a lot of ‘pretty’ speakers, and a ton of great sounding speakers out there but the early JBL Line is, hands down, the most impressive looking. Again, IMHO‼️
I think the first response in this string was Sonus Faber. I have to support and agree with that opinion. My wife will not “tolerate” (I still wear pants😝) speakers that do not look like furniture. It took me some time to find the right line of speakers to grow into. Grow into meaning as my budget increased, I could count on the line of speakers to support my acoustic expectations and my wife’s “furniture” expectations. Sonus Faber has not let me down in meeting my growth goals.
At lot of speakers are designed to draw attention to themselves, or to look good in and of themselves. I looked for a speaker that did just the opposite, to blend in as much as possible with the room it was in, and to draw as little as possible attention to itself. That was on of the reasons I chose Magico A3's. Their appearance is refined as you can get in a plain black box that does not call attention to itself.
Many, if not most, larger speakers are pure eyesores in a room, the bigger they are the more gruesome and overwhelming to a room's decor. No wonder our spouses get pissed off about having them in the house. Magico's at least are not garish or weirdly shaped as some speakers are and distract you as little as possible from the surrounding room furnishings, even though there is no ignoring them or most other large speakers.