WAF, Help, Need Strategy

Hello Folks.

Nee some suggestions or stratigies.

I just got back from the house im buying, was working on laying hardwood floors, picked out the paint, and ran cables for surround in the living room. (buying the house off of her mother who wants to move due to empty nest syndrome)
It is a modest 225,000 house in denver, (houses are expencive here) The living room is about 20ft by 20ft, big enough for the TV, AV rack, surround, couple couches, recliner, plants, whatever.

I was talking with the fiancee, and she said we could put one of the couches over in a spot that I had already decided my 2 channel system would go. I mentioned that and she rolled her eyes and gave me "The look"

I know some people like having a dedicated listening room, but I feel uncomfortable being tucked away, I like being in the main living area.

I don't want to integrate HT and 2 channel, and I'm making a lot of compromises.

The surround sound setup will use a Denon 2803/3803 and Definitive Technologys Promonitor 60 setup. Nice, small, easy to conceal, and it sounds pretty darn good too.

The 2 channel system will comprise Green Mountain Audio Europa's, a Krell 300 integrated, My DVD-A player, and possible down the road a nice small Rel Subwoofer.

Neither system will be very intrusive, Im already sold on the Europa's, cheap, excellent quality, and not too big.
The Krell 300IL is a nice looking piece of machinery as well. Plus it will match the walls.

Basically, ive given up on full range floorstanders, tried to choose equipment that would match the décor, and put a lot of thought into a system we could both enjoy.

She still aint buying into the idea though. I explained how it would match the décor, I explained both systems would do a good job of blending in with the room, and would not stand out and be imposing, but im still having a hard time getting this to fly.

Any suggestions?

How did you get the wife to accept the gear you wanted, in the room you wanted it? And tricks? Tips? Suggestions?
Hey Slap!
Tell her to compromise with you or you'll go whole hog and hire Rives to do the room right. Rives is doing our room for 2 channel right now, and Richard is the master at combining WAF, aesthetics, placement, and acoustics. I called her bluff, hired him, and she likes the changes that are taking place. She ain't too happy about the expense though. She says: "Well, you know how much you make". Duh - clearly I DON'T!

In general, I would not recommend having two systems in the same room ... it would look too much like a Circuit City showroom. If you are going to have the TV in your living room, have your HT system there. Put your stereo only system in another room.

In my apartment, I have the reverse situation. My primary system is in the living room. The TV and 2 channel HT system is in a second bedroom.

In the living room, the stereo equipment and speakers do not share the same wall. My stereo equipment is in an oak bookcase (72" X 27" X 19"; the top half has two open back shelves and the bottom half has one closed back shelf, which is concealed by two doors). The equipment (Musical Fidelity Amp; Musical Fidelity CD Player; vintage Marantz receiver) occupies the top half of the bookcase. The equipment is all silver finished and semi industrial looking ... even my wife likes the look.

The bookcase is in the corner of one of the short walls by the windows (the room is 23" X 14' X 8.5"). The speakers are on the long wall with two chairs and a side table between them. The speakers face the couch, which is on the opposite long wall. So the system and speakers are sort of caddy cornered or L shaped, if you like. Not ideal, but not bad at all. The speakers are Acoustic Research 302's (24" X 12" X 12") and I built some 8" high stands out of frosted glass blocks (from Home Depot). The speaker runs are a little longer than I would like (16 feet). The overall effect is pretty pleasing both soundwise and aesthetically.

Good luck, Rich
Take her shopping for some good looking equipment furniture. All closed in and attractive. Then she will be involved with the decisions and possibly more receptive. Another approach that works for me is constant begging and pleading. My wife gets tired of me wanting something and finally gives in to me just to shut me up!
Buy her the biggest diamond ring you can find, works everytime!!
Buy her a solo trip to Paris (if you have the dough, send a girlfriend with her...you pretend that work-matters are keeping you grounded.), BEFORE, you redo the listening room. When she comes back and sees the finished product, pretend you know absolutely nothing about it.

"Hey, how the f!@# did that get there?"

Now, for your next fiancee, I recommend...
Raise the white flag. Even the biggest diamond won't distract her forever. Best chance is to take Holzhauer's suggestion but my money is on the sofa going where you intended to put the two channel.

In my case, the 2 channel has been banished to the basement. At least it is finished, comfortable and system sounds OK.
Won't work for everyone, but I put the speakers in the living room, the amps in the utility room below downstairs, and the front end in the sunroom off the living room. Run balanced XLR interconnects from front end through the floor to amps in basement, and run speaker cables from basement up through the living room floor to speakers. Of course, you have to drill some holes, so hide them. All she sees is the speakers, no amps, no gear in sight. It was a pain to setup (and buy cables for), and it is a compromise, but it has kept me married! Cheaper than diamonds, but that's about all!

Tell her you will keep yer nose completely out of her ideas of decorating the rest of the house (exterior included), but you need this one room with your touch only.
Maybe i should just tell her that I'm the man , the king of the castle, and things will be the way i want.

Im sure i can get the system sent to the hospital room as i recover.

Find some music she likes and play it for her using the components you want. My wife hated the Klipsch Cornwalls I bought last year until she heard her favorite Joni Mitchell album, Court and Spark.
Mostly I think it depends on how much she gets into the end result: good sound. My wife and I are just getting into the audiophile thing. About 6 months ago I broached the subject of a stereo upgrade, maybe some Paradigm Studio 40's. She had heard them before and liked them but the price tag seemed steep to her. We ended up doing some auditioning and before you know it our budget for front speakers jumped to 5k. She doesn't understand or care much about the gear but the end result is an easy sell. I just bought a MF Tri-Vista 21 DAC. She was worried, silently, that it would be a waste of money. We just hooked it up this weekend and she is very happy with it. I suppose the best suggestion is try to spark some passion for music and see where it takes you. I am already trying for several mini-systems in various rooms to try out new gear. So far, no major complaints.

Good luck
If there is a good compromise I haven't found it yet, that's why I'm in the basement. Maybe if I showered more often?!?

It's just not important enough to most people to do the crazy things required to get things to sound right. If you can't dazzle her with brilliance, baffle her with BS.
Slappy, I think that Electric Monk is most correct. Take her shopping for gear. Let her hear the differences between a cheap Bose system and what you want. I took my wife to look for a bigger TV and she wanted to buy a $10,000 50 inch plamsa TV. I couldn't justify/afford spending that kind of money, but she was ready to drop the cash. You could have knocked me over with a feather. She even told her friends about the TV. Jim
If I were you, I would decide which you want in the living room--the HT or the 2-channel. The other goes in the basement or wherever. You have to decide which. That's your part of the compromise.

IMO A home should be a reflection of both the people living in it. She knew you were into the audio thing when she said yes -- or perhaps you knew she wasn't into it when you said yes ;-).

Explain as softly and kindly as possible that this is very important to you, and is an important to who you are. Everyone should be allowed their passions (especially if they can be enjoyed in the living room and it's completely legal).

And yes, I'm female. Also an engineer. My husband's passion is flying gliders (and it was mine for many years). I knew what he was when I married him. My passions right now are gardening and audio, and he has been admirably tolerant (the man knows when he's got it good). Our joint passions are each other, our home, our dogs and football in the winter.

Good luck, be kind to each other

Julie aka Jabenso had a wonderful response. On top of that, believe me, there will be times that she wants to watch tv or a movie and you will want to listen to music. Separate the systems for both sonic and sanity reasons. You won't be sorry for doing this and it will show her that you're willing to compromise. She'll think that she "won" and you can use it for leverage when you really need it next time : ) Sean
You are talking about your main living room. Both of you view it as the focal point of the house, where you will spend most of your time, and where you will entertain friends and relatives. She probably has a significantly different concept of what that room should look like than you do. When you say you will "integrate" the system with the room, you probably mean you will set up the system where you think it will sound/look best, and position everything else around it. I can almost guarantee that is not her concept. My suggestions would be:
1. Ask her about how she would like to see the room, and really listen. After she has fully explained what she wants, you will have a better feel for how to "integrate" your ideas with hers. Somtimes spouses just need to be listened to, and if you do listen first, you can then explain your point of view and maybe negotiate an acceptable compromise (see recommendation 3).
2. As others have said, either two channel or HT but not both, unless you do as I have and integrate the two using one of the many available preamps with HT pass through so you can use the front speakers for HT also. Look at BAT, Muse, McCormack, Adcom and others for the pass through option.
3. Think of ways to "hide" the electronics, most women don't want to see them in their main living room. Unless you are talking about a dedicated listening room or HT room, the less seen the better she will probably like it. There are some nice furniture quality entertainment centers, or you could look into some other approach to "camouflage" the offending equipment. I have an antique european wardrobe, that I have gutted, reinforced and constructed equipment shelves inside of. The only equipment that can be seen are my front speakers and my BAT vk-500 amp that has its own stand. Everything else, including the television is in the wardrobe.

Let us know what you try, and how it works. Good luck.-Tim
Forget the ht go good 2 channel, by the cheapest largest speakers you can find. Live with them for a month or two and at least once a week say "honey arent these wonderful!!!" After the time period you feel comforatable with come home from work one day and say "darling I shouldn't always think about myself and it was wrong of me to bring these monstrous speakers in this house against your wishes".

Sell them as quick as possible and then go find the speakers you really want, take her with you to get them, and then she will really dig on the sharing and caring thing. This proceeding scenario will allow you to get almost any speaker the second time around as long as it doesnt (1) look like a metal snowman (2) really clash with any normal home decor (3) cost more then what she thinks and your ability to persuade her add up to.

The only caveat is eminent tech and maggies. Break all rules they sound so good for money sometimes they can beat waf.
Do you really think your gonna win this one? Slappy, your toast!
Do you have a closet nearby? That is how I got around the issue, I put the gear in the closet and only the speakers in the LR. So long as the closet isn't too small there is no real problem with heat, and it keeps the dust down too. The downside is that it usually leads to long runs of cable.
The closet might also come in handy if you just install everything like you want it while she is out, then you can hide in the closet till she calms down.
Been married 22 years. Wife had no idea when we married how twisted I would become in the audio department. Over the years there have been many compromises, but I have to say she has put up with a lot, mostly financial inconvenience. However, my system is pretty intrusive in our family room.
I concur with some of the excellent advice given above. I would choose the best 10 and read them several times.
As for my $.02;
A) Your reasons for keeping 2 channel separate from HT are not very compelling. With today's technology and your present equipment, I don't see your argument. The Krell 300iL is perfect for integrating the 2 channel with your HT.
B) My wife has been 'moved' more by the MUSIC and the differences in sound than any other single factor. You should not be in a big hurry to see this transformation, or you will lose!
C) Over the years my wife has realized that this is more than a passing fad or hobby with me and first tolerated it, then accepted it, and now supports it. She has seen how much I enjoy this hobby. I mean how great is it when your wife buys you a $6,500 piece of audio gear for Christmas, or last anniversary she buys me a $1,400 pair of Transparent UltraXL speaker cables for biwiring my B&W's. (They know her by name down at the local high end dealer in part because she drives a hard bargain and can garner equipment discounts much better than I).
D) Take the slow approach. You will probably change your equipment many, many times over the years. Every time it seems to get more expensive. Don't win this battle and lose the war.
E) It's only stuff! Plus, it's stuff that will be outdated in a very short while. Shoot, your stuff is already outdated. Put your wife first.
Here's what worked for me recently. GF and I bought a house for the two of us and 1.83 of her 3 daughters (based on average occupancy :-) She knew going in that I wanted a listening room, so the deal is that I don't compromise at all on the listening room, and we do things by consensus everywhere else in the house (except for the kids' rooms which are of course off limits to normal human beings).

It's worked out well. I give her a majority say on how the rest of the house is set up, which works fine because our tastes are identical. She lets me do what I want in my audio refuge.

Two things help with this. The main one is around the money issue. GF says that the money I brought into the relationship is mine, and as long as I bail my end of the boat I can do what I want with it. It's a far cry from my ex-wife, where every expense went through a major justification exercise (and "It's better than what I have" didn't count...) If you can get an agreement that there is a pool of money over which you have complete dominion, it saves a lot of grief. There's a lot to be said for having three bank accounts - yours, mine and ours.

The other thing that helps is if she likes music. GF doesn't get the audiophile thing, but she loves good music that's well reproduced. As a result we have a semi-extravagant system in the living room as well as my big rig.

Aesthetics aren't as big an issue with GF as with the ex, so having a stack of electronics on a rack in the corner fo the living room is OK with her. She even likes the Cain & Cain Abbys flanking the leather couch. If appearances count, as they do with most wives, the only way around it is to get the electronics out of sight in another room or a nice cabinet, and to take her shopping for any speakers that will be in "her" space.

But putting the "serious gear" into a room in which you don't have to compromise is the best way I know of to keep peace.
Slappy, thanks for this post. It gives me a chance to think how I would feel if I were in your place.

Right now, honest, I would be willing to say, "Dear, do the living room the way you want. I'll set up a system somewhere else." I would mean it too. If I had to, I'd do the headphone thing.

That's my last position, my bottom line, Plan B. That's what I go into discussions with. So in negotiations, I am starting at a point where any concession she is willing to make over the living room is a gain.

Other posts have much better suggestions than I can think up. I'm only putting my 2 cents in because of the great opportunity you have offered. My own attitude to these things has changed over recent years. I used to think that women's lib meant my partner and I were equal in all things. Equality turns out to be not what I thought. Food and the house, for example, are female domains and things go much better if she gets the final word in them. ( I just hope we like the same things. ) The car and the audio/HT gear are two areas where I get final choice, if I want it.

You are now dealing with a situation in which the masculine (audio gear) and the feminine (home) intersect. Honesty, generosity and tact are required. Good for you! Thanks again for the post. Let us know how it works out.
This is how women's lib and all other issues are resolved in our home:
Female is permited to work and to spend the money she earned on anything she wants.
Male works and takes care of ALL the living expences. Whatever is left after that - he spends any way he wishes.
His account and her account are off-limits to each-other (she does not buy him a gift with his own money and wise-wersa).
Common rooms are decorated by both (female usually wins - 99%).
Private rooms like separate accounts.
P.S. We've been happy together for the past 10+ years.

Slappy, you did say fiance, right? That means you're not trapped yet. Run like the wind, save yourself. Go listen to Elton John's 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight', and smile.

'You almost had your hooks in me, didn't ya dear?'

It's too late for me, I'd lose my system in a divorce. Some stay together for the children, I stay for the music. When I turn the volume up real loud, I almost can't hear her anymore. hehehe
Wait till the kids come.....You actually will be glad if you just go for a nice unobtrusive theater system. Hell, if you spend all of the money on one nice system, you won't even miss the 2 channel.
Re-read jabenso's post. A home is a reflection of those who live in it. I am among the lucky, my wife wants me to be happy, in all things. We do not "negotiate," how can one "negotiate" with half of ones self?

The opposite applies: I want her to be happy, It gives me pleasure to see her get what she wants.

Somehow, with this attitude, we don't fight much. I cringe every time my friends say "I have to see if thats o.k. with the wife.." Actually, they usually refer to "the wife" as "the boss" or worse. Curious, I never have to check, the answer is always the same, "sure, have fun"

I usually find myself saying "sure, no problem" a lot as well, it seems to come easily.

If you need a "Stratagy" to deal with the person you intend on spending all the rest of your days with, than you will be very busy stratagizing for a long time...

My 2 cents, not meant as a criticism.

Best of Luck,

Thanks for all the responses everyone!

She won.


Diddnt think so.

The house we are buying is a ranch w/basement, 5 rooms total.

Upstairs were gonna put the HDTV, and we made a compromise that i could set up a nice HT rig in the living room, as long as i get monitors. Im thinking KEF Q1s, i had these a while back and loved em.

In the basement there are 2 rooms, one of them is a pretty good size, i estimate 14ft x 17ft.

That is gonna become my retreat. I think the reason i diddnt like the gear in the basement in the house we are currently renting is because i never really did anything with it. Im gonna make that my Get-away from it room. The Decor, the furniture, the stereo, all will be aimed around me. Ive tried to get my fiancee into the whole 2 channel thing and she would rather have a good HT rig. That will end up being my room to do whatever i want, my artwork, my scutpures, my rig, etc. The livingroom will be more of a family orientated room.

Lost the battle on this one, she is pretty happy that she managed to get me to stick all that in the basement, but on the other hand, im getting a decent room that i can do whatever i want with so even though she won the battle, i think the comprimise is better in the end.

I may have to put a keg-erator down there too. :)

Now i got a problem with ECHO.....

The living room has 15ft vaultes ceilings, is open to the dining room and kitchen, probably about 700Sqft all included. The hardwood floors have just been finished, i walked in there and snapped my fingers and it sounded like machine gun fire.


Lets see how well i do with echo treatments.

Thanks for letting us know how it turned out, Slaps. I had a great time with this thread. Way cool.