I forgot to mention that I listen at near field set-up!
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Let me clarify:A car like (retractable and relatively compact)head rest is no brainer, you have best of both worlds-support and nonintrusive to sound. I have not seen any chairs made with that kind. I am saying if the chair has high and wide back, providing you the head rest but at the same time blocking the real wall reflections, which might be good for overall sound quality.
The headrest causes the early reflections you mention, particularly if it extends on either side of your head just past the ears. If you can modify the size of the headrest so that it supports the back of your head only, you can eliminate the sound problem. If not, you will have to lean forward in the chair to reduce the reflections. Time for a real listening chair ??
Don't overlook the importance of getting your ears to the right height, especially in the nearfield. This will depend on your particular speakers, of course, but a general rule is to get your ear between the midrange and tweeter. I just raised my chair (by putting clay bricks under the feet) and was very happy with the improvement in sound. It's actually more comfortable, too. This is almost as significant as speaker placement.
I sit in a low-backed old turn of the century chair, because it's a Victorian living room. I had used a more comfortable, higher backed chair, but that screwed up the sound, as others are noting. This is a quandry, particularly if the music relaxes you into falling asleep as discussed in another thread (yeah, I sometimes fall asleep listening too). The most comfortable chair I ever sat in listening to music was one of those Backsaver zero-gravity recliners which my local dealer had for a while in his store, which had a wide headrest so it wasn't the greatest for serious listening but was heaven to sit back in and let the music wash over you.
I must say this is one of the neatest topics I have heard discussed. I use a traditional wing back chair. I don't think is the best chair for listening, but certainly is one of my favorites for falling asleep while listening. By this time I am sure all of our significant others think we totally lost our minds. Here we spend thousands of dollars on something to listen to, while we sleep! Now isn't this hobby a real hoot !!!!!
I was at a dealer one time who used these large high back chairs that were also enclosed, you know the ones that cover your head and stuff from the side, and the top. I found that when I was trying to audition the speakers the sound dramatically changed as I leaned forward moving my head only a foot. My suspicion is the dealer may have intentionally used these chairs to increase the apparent energy and bass impact of the speakers. It really does sound different when the sound is bouncing around in the chair. I don't know if it is accurate or not. Maybe using a chair like that is a good thing when the listening room is atrocious, i.e. an open loft down onto the lower floor. However, I was skeptical and went elsewhere. As far as my home listening room is concerned I've never given much attention to the matter.
Here Here on the Eames lounger. It's a nice, low, beautiful chair, with support that cradles the back. The Rosewood veneer and down stuffing on a vintage specimen sounds much better than the foam/walnut of the recent models. The down really "gets out of the way" as you sit down, and also "lets go of your notes" as you try to get up, especially important for those of us with a "wide soundstage". The Rosewood offers a nice balance, not to dark, and with enough detail, yet presented in a slightly unglossy manner. Seriously, this is the greatest chair ever made. I wish I had one. I guess I could trade someone on Ebay my interconnects...
Interesting topic, I think anyway as I have had a fascination with chairs long before my fifteen year stint in the interior design industry, even had an outdoor chair "garden" at one time. I listen ten to fifteen degrees off axis for casual listening and sit on a modern Deco style leather sofa (the farthest end from the speakers), pillows are great for the lounge aspect as Sam has already noted. For on axis listening I rotate three different chairs. One is made from completely from plywood and the seat and back are bent and curved (my wife purchased it at a yardsale from the woman who built it as part of an art and design course), this one does require a pillow for the seat, especialy since I dropped fifteen pounds. This chair is normally placed next to the Tansu cabinet that houses the electronics and CD's. The second chair is one of the French Riviera lounge chairs that usually rest at the dining table (we live in a small 60's "U" shaped arrangement living/dining-breakfast nook/kitchen and all of the mentioned chairs are footsteps away. I used to collect French wrought iron folding chairs and would never let go of these (they are the ones with the heart shaped backs with the up or down armrests) never been to the Riviera, but at least I have the chairs. The last and best is the original butterfly chair (solid one piece frame, not the later folding types), I won't pop for the Ralph Lauren leather covers so I am going to ask my father to make a pair as one of his hobbies is leatherwork (he even has an industrial sewing machine for canvas and leather). All are low backed and all sound the same, but I look at it (the variety) as not wearing the same pair of shoes everday. I had a friend in highschool who's father owned a stereo "egg chair", in white. He ended up committing suicide (the father) approx. three years after the purchase of the chair. Everytime I see one I always wonder. Good thing there are not too many around these days, egg chairs that is.
I use an Ikea Bentwood rocker with a footstool that matches. The chair back comes up just enough to provide neck support but doesn't block the sound. The chair rocks just a bit if you want to move with the music. The foot stool is not attached so sometimes it's useful to slide it forward and sit real close if Im doing an A B test. The only disadvantage is that it only seats one. cheers steve
Whatjd, looks like this thread may give you some business. I've been considering purchasing a couple Wegner chairs. I especially like the lambswool over bent oak chair (not sure of the #). My wife also thinks it's the most comfortable ever, but I have to present it as a design piece rather than "for audio". At $1k, I HAVE to present it to myself as "for audio" to justify. The local dealer couldn't understand why I would need a low back chair to "listen to the radio". Can I also get a brochure? (email@example.com)
I have a solid oak adirondack chair, which I bought unfinished and stained black to match my equipment, speakers, and rack, in my own listening room (no waf). And I bought a small pillow for a beach lounge chair from Pier 1 . I find this very comfortable, and have even fallen asleep in it. The height is perfect for my Klipsch RB-5's on 24" stands.
Gthirteen, I have tried the Barcelona and it is better to look at than sit in....but very attractive. The Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer is actually a better sit. For less money the old Siesta Chair by Westnofa...from Norway is very good, as are some of the Ekornes Stressless series.. but..they are too high for me..and the back has impact on the sound...not unlike cupping your hands behind your ears. I still prefer the Eames chanir and the Hans Wegner rocker.
To all above, I am a small retailer..and don't have a printed brochure on all I carry. I do have lit. on individual pieces that I would be happy to supply...just e-mail your address. Also, if you plug Herman Miller..or Eames or Hans Wegner or anything else you are thinking of into a search engine..like Dogpile.. you will find better pics...and more info than I could ever send you. Some things I do ship..and some I would suggest finding a dealer in your local area. Actually I am not trying to drum up business...I just know modern furniture...and, to an extent..hi-fi.
I, too have the ekornes stressless, and I've found that it is a better computer chair than listening chair. I have the Kensington model, and I paid around 11 hundred as well. I'm fairly tall, but my ears are still below the top of the chair, and I find that the chairback is a reflective surface, even though the leather is SOOOO soft. Better to use something else. Whatjd, I'm so jealous. I wish I could get into the Miller Eames Lounge chair, especially at dealer cost!!! As far as I'm concerned, you have the second best job on the planet!! Have you tried the Corbusier LC1 Basculant chair? It supposedly reclines, but I just cant see how from any pics I've seen. It appears to be a good contender, however.