The Hub: How about a dedicated listening CHAIR

Every audio show has a room that starts a buzz. Sometimes the buzz is unkind: "can you believe how BAD that was?" Sometimes the buzz is kind: "did you believe how GOOD that was?" Sometimes the buzz is a mix of shame and disbelief: "I went in there prepared to hate it, but it was AWESOME!" That last reaction was often heard at Axpona , pertaining to the "Home Theater in a Chair" from i-Fi

It's easy to see how the idea would be a target for abuse. Let's take the biggest, comfiest nerdiest recliner imaginable, and do the nerdiest thing imaginable with it. Let's create a one-person home theater or audio system with a variety of inputs and self-contained speakers that totally take the room out of the listening equation. In the process, let's give even more credence to the idea that audiophiles are anti-social, and want only to be left alone to play with their toys.

That's the set-up, anyway. Reality being what it is, the i-Fi chair confounded expectations and left seasoned reporters lolling in the big chairs, enjoying the music and looking for all the world like puppies waiting to have their bellies rubbed. Think of it as Revenge of the Nerds, for your living room: the unlikely, ungainly lead does good and is loved by all. All the scene needs is Tears For Fears' "Songs From the Big Chair". Really.

If The Chair had been done on the cheap, or by the wrong person, it likely would've been a disaster. Luckily, Jeff Ostler, i-Fi's founder and President, is a serial entrepreneur with serious audiophile cred. Ostler ran a Salt Lake City audio dealership with John Giolas, presently Director of Sales and Marketing at Wilson Audio. Ostler currently reps another speaker line, and has businesses which produce arcade games including racing simulators. From there, it's not a giant conceptual leap to the i-Fi chair, offered by Ostler and General Manager Jamie Beers.

The reason the big chair works as well as it does is that it has a litany of features that would do the late Billy Mays proud: what we have here is NOT just the World's Most Comfortable lounge-chair,covered in Genuine Italian Leather, but an Apple-licensed iPod dock, a wireless receiver, volume and source controls, nearfield monitor speakers, PLUS a subwoofer, PLUS a built-in vibratory transducer for full tactile impact (AKA butt-shaking)! And did we mention the cupholder?

As a catty observer noted, "all you need is a beer cooler and a catheter for audiophile nirvana." It would all be meaningless, of course, if the sound quality wasn't there. Recording engineers have known for years that monitor speakers placed in the nearfield can produce an open window to the soundstage, and that's exactly what the i-Fi brings, with some extra oomph on the bottom end (literally), thanks to the sub and shaker. The sound is smooth, extended, detailed, punchy, and involving. You can actually hear the lack of room coloration in the sound sample we recorded (hit the play button).

The icing on the cake is the elimination of system wiring and set-up hassles, and elimination of the need for acoustical treatment. Bingo: a real-life, decent one-box system. Okay, it'll be a BIG freakin' box, but still, one box. Yours for $3995, in your choice of black, burgundy or chocolate leather, Made in the USA.

The i-Fi could make a lot of folks happy. Really, most listeners/gamers/movie-viewers would be well-satisfied with its performance, and it could eliminate a lot of domestic discord. How many audiophile products can claim that?

What do Audiogoners think?
How should i-Fi market their product?
Will audiophiles be interested?
Will audiophiles recommend it to non-audiophiles?
They should build it into one of those massage chairs.
I think it's a grand idea! I read many people selling on Audiogon for the reason of downsizing, they are not as into the complicated gear as they once were. This is a perfect solution for them, and the price is right. These are the people that iFi should sell to, one possible target audience. And people who are looking for a second system, many are selling pieces they were collecting for a second system that never made it to daylight, this chair is the perfect second system, put it in any room and you're done! I would not give up my system for one but I still would love to have one in another room. And at under 4 G's it's very doable. It's on my want list. I think that non-audiofiles would not be convenced, of course hearing is beleiving but non-audiophiles, or someone who is not that into music playback equipment, would think 4 grand is a lot to part with for a surroud sound chair. The audiophile market is the place to sell this chair, to the people listed above. Just my thoughts on the subject, I'm not an advertising agent or anything, but that's what this forum is about, who agrees with me and who doesn't?

An audio massage chair?!? A test bed for vibration isolation. Absolute Hobson's choice tradeoff situation for the designer. Put a Buttkicker in the seat.
Read it again: there is a shaker built-in.

No massager, per se--although "Master and Commander" would probably serve the same function.
There are 4 chairs in the line. The chair above is the top. Other chairs (with other speakers and leatherless) go for about half. So, I guess for 2k this could be a great theater piece and at 4k for true audio hounds.
I recently bought a new recliner, for my sound room of course, and 2 grand is not uncommon for a regular recliner these days, the one I bought cost $1800. But it has no built in anything, it's kind of like that V8 commercial, konk, I coulda had a i-Fi chair!
Like we said:

The audiophile world definitely needs an audiophile chair. But no shakers or built-in anything like that are needed. Just a comfortable chair with swivel and recline and/or rock. BUT, THE BACK HEADREST MUST BE THIN, ENTIRELY BEHIND THE HEAD, NOT CAUSING SOUND REFLECTIONS TO THE EAR. There is only one chair like this I have seen like this (google audiophile chair) and it looks weird and costs $8000. I bought a standard recliner and hope to be able to have a furniture repair person modify it to be like that $8000 chair. Many super serious audiophiles have table or office chairs which also have no headrest above the shoulders. But those chairs are not comfortable for many people. Also many people sit on couches near a wall, but that is almost never the correct "sweet spot" for listening to an audio system. The sweet spot is usually at least 4 feet from the back wall.