The Mechanics of WAF

I understand the basic concept of WAF - different people are affected to different levels and for (potentially) different reasons, but people who co-habitate often have to pay at least some attention to the other residents' aesthetics when acquiring audio gear, especially speakers.

So, I really get this scenario:

"Honey, I'm going to buy these 7-foot, 300lbs/side speakers and put them in the LR"
"Sweetie, you do that and you might as well have them delivered to the apartment you're going to be renting"
"Okay, I'll keep looking"

But there are any number of For Sale ads that say "These speakers are 2 months old but have to go due to WAF"

How does this happen? Is it all rookie mistakes, where the spouse doesn't think about what a given speaker might actually look like until it's literally in their house? Do people who make the purchase just not hear what they're being told before they purchase? Just curious what leads to this frustrating outcome.
It's called willful ignorance, it's part of the gambler side of being an audiophile. Despite what you know in your heart, you think if you just get those speakers in the house a miraculous transformation will overcome your spouse. She'll suddenly be seduced by the 2" deeper soudstage and the 5% increase in transparency that the two refrigerator sized boxes produce when placed well away from the back and side walls. Of course, 9 out of 10 times she'll throw a fit and the man will cave in for the sake of domestic tranquility. But there's always that lucky 10th guy!
I think a lot of the WAF claims is ads are white lies. I think in many of the cases the seller didn't like the sound of the speakers and is trying to unload them. I mean, would YOU buy speakers that someone says don't sound good? One would like to think it wouldn't matter, but audiophiles seems to be easily influenced by the written word and word of mouth - instead of their own ears.

As for WAF: I see where 7 foot tall, 1400lb behemoths might not work in most rooms, even large dedicated ones. But to me, the inverse is also true. If my wife were to redecorate the house and say, "sorry, there's no room for your stereo. You'll need to get one that you can hide." "Sorry sweetie. I'm moving in the 20.1/Rs then." I don't succumb to her 100% of the time and neither does she to me. Welcome to married life.

Luckily my wife shares my passion for music, so it's an easy compromise. But she does enjoy getting me to admit that often it's more about the gear or recording artifacts than about the music. Guilty as charged.
I agree with Onhwy61. A lot of audiophiles I know don't even consult their spouses, and this often results in marital discord--both for aesthetic concerns and the money spent. But the guys I know are generally buying these monster speakers that totally dominate the living area, not subtle bookshelf units or small, good-looking floorstanders that blend easily into the decor. Another problem is that many audiophiles don't have a dedicated room, so their toys must share a space that many women want clean and presentable. Me, I'm pretty lucky. I have a basement that I insisted be turned into a listening/viewing area. My wife, knowing that I spent most of my money on the house downpayment, willingly consented. She's made some mildly disparaging comments since--usually about the clutter--but overall she's been extremely tolerant and understanding.
Does it come to the point when she'd say:
"You can have either speakers or me. You can't have both, so choose...."
If not than you can keep both.
You gave a perfectly absurd example. Trust me WAF is more complicated than that. My W is a musician and won't let me change the LR system even though we got better speakers for my system in the basement. She herself thinks they are better but the cherry cheeks don't match the maple LR furniture! plenty of room and I'll even keep the grill covers on!
Take a listen to Joe Jackson "Is you is or is you aint my baby" Lots of answers there.
I recently successfully established with my wife that my audio room is a separate "republic" from the household, like one of those Eastern European Reublics of Gilead or one of those independent states that keep up cropping up in Africa. As such, I am this room's "dictator," and, as its sole leader, I have a full right to recruit a new minister into my regime (buy a new tube amp) or sentence one of my political opponents to the Gulag (sell something on audiogon). The rest of the household is ruled by parliamentary democracy, with my wife as President, and me as Vice President. As President of the "mainland apartment", she regularly provides asylum for Italian dissidents (B&B and Casina furniture, ArteLuce lighting). I would suggest precisely this political division of power from male audiophiles suffering from WAF woes, as well as (this is absolutely essential) having separate credit cards with separate credit card bills at the end of the month. That way the wife never sees how much your republic spends on "internal affairs."
the way i see it...

Hi-fi is about communication....Wifes are about communication.Life is about communication.

Hearing some of the answers and set ups here on the GON ...I wonder how it is that some guys are getting all 3 wrong....

Just a flames please.
Happy Wife = Happy Life

That's a pretty simplistic answer. I find much to agree with in many of the posts already. Onhwy61 nailed my faults to a tea...and Mechans illustrates a mirror story to mine as well. Knowing how much my wife would object I brought a pair of LaScala's into our relatively small home and inserted them into our living room hoping to hide them or at least camolflauge them with a few vases of fresh flowers and maybe a box of chocalates. Take my word for it, the flowers and the chocalates were not the first thing she saw. I managed to keep them around for many (musically enjoyable) months, but it was at the expense of an overall tension. Like Mechans, my wife is trained as a musician (though she no longer plays that is what her degree is in after 20 years of violin). Like Mechans' wife also, my wife loved the way the Scala's sound and could certainly appreciate that difference. But true to form, she put a strong priority on the visual appeal, or lack thereof, of the Scalas, and strongly preferred something better looking and of more modest size. I eventually gave in and brought the Scala's to work to listen there (I'm lucky in that I had a space to set up my system outside our house). I'm sure some ads are just looking for excuses to make sure folks don't think there could possibly be anything wrong with their speakers, while others truly do face the WAF dillema ("willfull ignorance" is a great term). To be fair, and try to understand at least one of the mechanisim's that may be involved, imagine if your wife came home with two big stuffed pink bunnys, the size of your fridge, and insisted that the bunnys have a very prominent home at opposite corners in your living room. If stuffed pink bunnies actually make you happy, and perhaps even already reside in your living room than substitute something else large and quite unattractive (to you), and perhaps distincly feminine, and imagine that showing up one day, compliments of your wife, as a fixture in your home for all to see anytime they visited. Did I get that right dear?

Installing a walk-in closet (full room-size) for my wife has helped quell any objections she might have re the music system downstairs. And encouraging her to restock the goodies (primarily shoes) on those shelves goes a long way toward keeping her happy and blissfully ignorant of my audio obsession.
It's a tradeoff. That's how I ended up with both a HT room and a 2-channel room and FOUR DOGS. At least she can't ask for horses anymore since we've moved. Now, I'm kinda into downsizing and we still have FOUR DOGS. Apparently downsizing only applies to audio.
"Honey, I'm going to buy these 7-foot, 300lbs/side speakers and put them in the LR"

That's EXACTLY what I did (except mine are 7.5 feet :^), only I didn't tell her until my son and I were installing them in the living room.

Her comment:

"Those are sure smaller than your other speakers (Sound-Lab Ultimate 1's) but wish they were a different color."

I replied:

"That's the only color they come in (Alpi) and if they later offer another option I promise to buy another pair."
It's all about managing expectations.
>>"You can have either speakers or me. You can't have both, so choose...."<<

How much time do I have?....................
>>“...speakers or me. You can't have both, so choose....”<<

“Haaaaaaa-llelujah! Haaaaaaa-llelujah!”
(That’s not me singing from the Messiah, it’s the Beecham recording on the stereo.)

Vvrinc, that made me laugh out loud, I'm not kidding, it was wonderful.
The Mechanics of WAF are just as uncertain as the mechanics of quantum physics. Ask Mrs. Heisenberg. Heheh.
I never thought about WAF when it comes to stereo gear...well...probably cause I don't have a Waf yet...but conversely...before I ever found audiogon...and the term WAF...I used to think about what it would be like if my future (if there ever is one) wife brought something home that really just made my butt the big pink bunnies that Marco talks about. I'm sure it's gonna happen someday so I've figured a way to use WAF to my advantage. It's a rather simple system


Husband acceptance factor

Now...this is actually a pretty inexpensive system to solve all of your WAF problems. At Pike Market in downtown Seattle...there was this little shop...can't remember the name...but pretty much any "headshop" should do. They sell these lamps that look like mushrooms...and all kinds of other REALLY UGLY things that only the BIGGEST stoner with the LEAST amount of taste could ever even think about owning...regardless of cost.

Get yourself one of those lamps...proudly display it...when your wife says..."What the hell is that thing?!?!"...just casually turn to her and say..."'s my new reading like it?"...when she now insists that you get rid of that ALSO...act like a child...not a full blown temper tantrum...but do the awwwww shucks thing...can't have my stereo, can't have my lamp...'re asking...what the hell does this have to do about getting my tunes back in the living room?

absolutely nothing...but keep that lamp...cause now...everytime your wife brings home anything that doesnt meet HAF...just remind her about the lamp in the closet.
Maybe the big pink bunnies would improve the room acoustics.
kind of like bass traps!
So what does it stand for?

I'm new here, but no stranger to forums about other music topics, particularly guitars & other instruments.

I gather WAF must stand for Wife Appreciation Factor or something like that. On musician forums, I see lots of references to SWMBO ("she who must be obeyed" - swimbo for short) - pretty similar.

Seems like both subjects attract a lot of guys, and we sometimes have trouble convincing our significant others that the things we love are really cool and deserve a prominent spot in the house. (I wonder if women frequent chat rooms where they talk about how to convince guys that a shelf full of precious moments figures is a good idea.)

Sorry if my supposition is crass. I'm not trying to put off any female members of the community. Just curious about an acronym that I keep seeing.

The WAF is often (not always) being used as a scapegoat. Someone made a mistake and rather than say these speakers sound terrible in my listening area the "Wife Acceptance Factor" card is used.