How important is spending time with your gear?

In another topic we're talking about digital input speakers, and it got me thinking about something entirely different. 

How important is it to spend time physically close to your gear, vs. enjoying it's output?  If you could have your gear in another room, or closet, and you were left with just your speakers with no audible downside would you do it?  Would you put your gear away and enjoy the empty space or do you need the physical closeness?

Clearly turntables make this a challenge, and there will be some poopy heads which don't get the question or can't stretch their imagination but for those who can, would you?


I would feel naked, well I guess my room would without my gear physically present, wife on the other hand would love that I pack it all away into a closet, whereas I’d probably spend lots of time in said closet...😁

To me, audio gear that not only sounds pleasing, but also is appealing to the eye is important. I just love gazing over at my technics direct drive with strobe illuminated in a dimly lit room. Also, peering at my tannoys with their beautiful bespoke wood finish, or watching my vacuum fluorescent VU meters on my vintage 3 head Aiwa tape deck doing their dance...or fixing my eyes on my Lava lamp on a shelf in the corner, watching it do its thing...I guess most would not understand any of this....I would feel empty inside not being surrounded by all this stuff.

I think it would be great. I like a cleaner look. Your comment got me to think about a local area store in Akron Ohio, Wooster Vintage Audio. They find old stereo console cabinets and resell them. The old stereo console often had your stereo speakers, Am/Fm tuner, record player, amp and preamp with tubes, all in one tidy package. It was a better way to deliver audio in many ways.....

@erik_squires Would never have thought of this concept, but now you have brought it in to the world; I read your OP, paused to digest, and then felt disturbingly uneasy at the thought of it. Gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I think I need help 😜

I could put it all away, or at least out of sight, except for the fact that I've grown accustomed to using a remote control. I'd even hide the speakers if that were possible. :-)


The electronics for the main/living room system have resided in a hall closet for the past 20+ years (speaker wire fed through 4 small holes in the front/speaker wall).

Just speakers and approx. 4 foot lengths of speaker cable in the living room (no TV in the living room either).

My only TV is a 20" white Samsung flat screen located on a blanket chest @ the foot of our bed (white and small because it's less noticeable).

I do not like looking @ electronics.





In the 70's I took my 12V DC capable Advent 300 receiver to a few outdoor keggers.

It was the life of the party.



I like the workings to be out where I can enjoy them. The cause-and-effect is part of the pleasure for me. The whole world is built around the "device paradigm" but I like at least part of the world to have some of its workings exposed.

Good question Erik. I like to see my gear, and I would miss seeing it if it was not within sight and touch.

Tube gear with the tubes glowing, yes, I need to see that. Solid State rectangular boxes, not so much. 

I recently downsized from all separates to a very clean looking and versatile all-in-1 unit. Nice having all that space back! Oh and looks and also sounds wonderful! Old gear went into an audio cab with glass doors upstairs where I can see it but not in the way. Nice! Seldom have to touch anything anymore….all done remotely as needed. Except when I break out the vinyl and convert that to digital for future playback.

Does this make me a bad person? Call me heretic…..

I enjoy looking at the stuff. It also helps a bunch to have it be visible and no more than a few steps away. You need to be able to operate the remote controls. You wanna be able to run to the turntable when you feel the need to clean the stylus, turn the record over or deal with a skip. I wanna be able to see what track number I'm on when I listen to the CD/SACD player. I want my tube amp to have plenty of ventilation. Sure, all the connecting cables are an eyesore. But I really can't complain.

Agree with Russ. I enjoy seeing the tubes glow since they provide a little ambiance to the room. If everything was solid state and didn't have VU meters, I'd be okay tucking things (like my boxy NAD pre/streamer) away while attempting to hide the speaker cables for a cleaner look. 

I have my gear in a cupboard, with speaker cable through the wall.

It does make for a very clean look, and my wife is happier. She doesn't like cables, or ugly. But it limits what I am able to have.

Wouldn't it be better without even seeing the speakers.  No size constraints no placement issues.  Just holographic music floating in space.  I'm for it.  I like my tube amps and turntable  as museum pieces but I'm limited to where they can be displayed.


I read your OP, paused to digest, and then felt disturbingly uneasy at the thought of it. Gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I think I need help 😜



You're not the only one!

In a perfect world I wouldn't need any of the equipment to be visible, just a blank area where I could organise my imagination, but I entirely get the point made by @audioguy85.


"I just love gazing over at my technics direct drive with strobe illuminated in a dimly lit room. Also, peering at my tannoys with their beautiful bespoke wood finish, or watching my vacuum fluorescent VU meters on my vintage 3 head Aiwa tape deck doing their dance..."


Sonic beauty and visual beauty obviously do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Naughty Erik, making us think in such abstracts.

It brings a touch of pride to see , two channels’ gears. When it is well done.

But for a home theater system , the less you see , the better it is.

My goal is to have nothing in front of me but amp and speakers.  The gear will be close by,but not in my line of sight.   Ultimately,I would like to have all gear but amp and speakers in the closet in my listening room.  

I am pretty much indifferent.  I would not mind at all if the gear were in another room (I would actually be glad if I had such an extra room, just for the sake of more room).  I don't care about the looks of the gear and don't need their presence.  I had my monobloc amps facing the wrong way in the middle of the room just because that was more convenient than having the amps face in the proper direction (the power switch is on the back of the amps).

I take good care of my stuff. My stuff is good

looking and I want to look at my stuff.


@maxwave agreed! I downsized my home theater speakers from paradigm atoms to a Tannoy system. Speakers are less than half the size of the atoms, but shockingly sound just as good.. even the sub is smaller, but has a passive radiator making it sound twice as big. All home theater gear hidden away behind shaded glass doors of credenza.

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Audio gear is like my motorcycle and automobiles to me.  It’s a passion I’ve had all of my 59 years. Its akin to being next to my motorcycle even though it may not be running. 

I enjoy the mechanics and build quality even though it may not be doing what it was designed to do.  I admire the design and engineering that goes into the things regardless of whether it’s pumping music or exhaust notes out. 

So answer to the original question; I need all of it around me, if I’m “on the property”. It’s like artwork to me.


A very good question.

If I could enjoy my music without any technology in the listening room, that would be the utopian listening experience.


I like to see all of my gear. Including the cables. It cost more than my house.😍 Plus i do not have a wife to spoil my fun. lol.


I think most people here are anachrophiles.  We do like looking at our gear while we listen.  Of course many pieces are beautifully designed and constructed as well as engineered so it is a pleasure to look at it.  eg my Martin Logan CLX Anniversaries, Simon Yorke record player, even the brutal Krell KRS200s.


But @bobpyle expresses the wish of the next generation.  Kids today want music and everything else pumped directly into their brains and pretty soon this will be the norm.  I can't think of anything worse, and I doubt the sound quality will be any good.  But they don't care about that.  Good SQ is not cool.

Ouch, I couldn’t do it.  It would be like having a Yenko Camaro or a beautiful Harley covered up in a storage unit and never driving them. Why?

If I don't like it visually, it doesn't belong in my system.  (I just got around to buying an amp with a remote this last year, so progress is slow here...)

It sounds like, for many here, the gear is more important than the music.


As a 66 years old music lover and someone who has spent 50 years trying to find hi-fif audio nirvana and have a traditional, expensive and entertaining hi-fi system, I had no intention of "expressing the wish of the next generation."

I was expressing my own view, nobody else's. 

It seems that my thoughts are diametrically opposite to yours and I respect your need to enjoy the aesthetics of your technology. It is this diversity of values and need that makes a hi-fi industry flourish. 




I have friends who store their Harley Davidson , in their living room 

during winter !

It seems that my thoughts are diametrically opposite to yours and I respect your need to enjoy the aesthetics of your technology. It is this diversity of values and need that makes a hi-fi industry flourish. 

Excellent response @bobpyle There are many reasons one gets into this hobby. I hate to call it that because music is a natural part of my life and has been for 60+ yrs. However this isn't the case with some...maybe many. Some enjoy the equipment aspect and change components like I change records or CDs. One person told me it was a social event for him. For others its DIY equipment.

Therefore for me I could care less if I see the equipment. My wife surely would like it out of the living room. But it was there when she met me and has stayed there for 47 yrs now. Thankfully she has also.I would like the remote to control the volume but that's about all I need

To quote King Crimson: "Music is our friend."

To quote Delmar (Tim Blake Nielsen) in "O Brother, Where Art Thou": "I just don't think we should have to keep him under wraps, like we're ashamed of him."

"with no audible downsides" 

I like the thought of this hidden or invisible system.  Including the speakers.  Yet still have every aspect of great audio, sure.

My reality is very much the opposite.  So, my system must sound good when On and look good when Off.

I heard of this guy with a system in his van!  Rat's nest of wiring and clutter.

The OP's opening statement, which includes "with no audible downside" is the fundamental basis of this discussion.

If we're looking for "right" and "wrong" answers here, I think we might be on the gas just a little too early exiting the turn.

Mixed/multiple motives is not heresy, nor is it unique to high performance audio.  When your kids (or, grandkids) are screaming for ice cream as you approach the 117 Flavors, you agree to stop.  Is it: a) you just want to shut them up, b) you want ice cream yourself, c) you love them and want to make them happy, or d) an old high school flame is the proprietor and you want to take the chance that they are on duty?  Or, is it "b" and "c" or "a" thru "d"? Or, even "e"?  Does an aggregate of multiple factors elevate the "licks per minute" factor?

Having an audio system that pegs the needle on the "feel good" meter on more than emotional level can have an accumulate effect on the overall listening experience for SOME listeners.  Others may feel zero attachment to the gear itself and it's ALL about the music.  Either way, the listener gets what THEY want.

For some strange reason, I'm feeling the urge to paint my Audi with gray primer and replace the premium wheels and tires with some Grand Marquis police intercepter black steel wheels and hubcaps.  Thanks, Eric.

The jungle of black boxes staring at me is not so appealing. 
I DO like the appearance of my speakers though. 
Just having sounds emanating from them would be fine for me.

If it were possible to have only my speakers, room treatments, and listening chair in the room I would do it. I use physical media and remote controls which make it impractical to have the gear in another room. Both sonic and functional considerations are at play for me, and I am sure others.

My second system is full active like you mentioned in another thread. They only require the source and Mini-DSP unit to be in the room. I like that set up quite a bit.

Does enjoying taking out and using the feather duster on my equipment and speakers make me a bad person?



I very much enjoy looking at my gear while listening to music.  The system is on its own (ground) floor so there is no issue with wires or WAF for that matter.  It's my room and I do as I please in it.  I keep it nice and tidy/clean. BTW my darling wife has more than one floor to do as she pleases.

But viewing equipment as a simple pleasure is not in the same league as listening to music.