When Domestic Bliss is an Audio Miss

When Domestic Bliss is an Audio Miss

Written by Jay Jay French

When you walk into my apartment you stroll past the art in the foyer, and a dining room table, and enter the living room. (It’s the photo above.)

Look around. You’ll see photos on the wall, and nice furniture and various tables (all covered in books and magazines). You’ll also see a rather large philodendron plant that has occupied the same space (after six transplants) for 55 years. You read that right. 55 years.

It’s an aesthetically pleasing environment, perfect for socializing.

To most women who enter (mostly wives) there is always an acknowledgement (“amazing!”) of the reimagined design and transformation of the foyer/living room area that was created following a five-month renovation in 2019.

The entire apartment was taken down to the studs and totally rebuilt.

We (meaning me and my wife) only sit in the living room when guests are visiting. The apartment is large enough that we each have our own sanctuaries which reflect our own interests.

Most of the women sit in the living room and begin conversation. Most men, however, look around and notice there is no TV.

That’s right, no TV.

In fact, one would have to look behind the plant and a strategically placed floor lamp to find a small pair of Sonos speakers.

This was the agreement my wife and I made following the rebuild. She didn’t want to see any distracting technology in the living room. She also felt that a TV is the most distracting technology of all.


No TV in sight! Courtesy of Jay Jay French.

No TV in sight! Courtesy of Jay Jay French.


My reaction?

I was into it, although I did tell her that, minus the TV placed on a wall somewhere, I doubted that we would ever be in the living room when there were no guests around.

I was right.

We never sit there without guests in the apartment.

I walk by the living room every morning and stare at it for a minute or two and remember back in the “old days” when all my apartments (whether I was single or married) had a stereo system in the living room.

Now, the living room may as well have a velvet rope on stands (like a Smithsonian exhibit) as we pass by it every day.

My stepdaughter (when visiting) does sit there and reads, or is on her computer/iPad or cell phone. That’s about it.

Hey, I don’t have a problem with this arrangement because, in my sanctuary/studio, I have all the high-end audio toys and a 65-inch flat panel TV on the wall, plus a surround sound Sonos system.


"So I got me an office, gold records on the wall..."

“So I got me an office, gold records on the wall…”


In my wife’s sanctuary, she has a 55-inch flat panel and a Sonos surround system.

This has now led me to observe other friends’ houses/apartments to see if any audio systems are visible in the main listening room.

My observations?

Very few have anything more than a Sonos set up.

I’m not a shill for that company. They have just done an incredible job of cornering the market for casual listeners who want convenience, and it seems that most of my friends have just given up to it. That includes guys I grew up with who all had the latest stereo gear in their apartments.

That really makes me wonder…who the hell is buying all this crazy expensive stuff that Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, HiFi News and Hi-Fi+ write about every month?

Forget the fact that the most recent HIGH-END hi-fi show in Munich had many more insane turntables and arms than I’d ever seen!

If you go on Instagram to World’s Coolest Hi-Fi, you’ll see some really crazy stuff but also some rather pedestrian gear as well. The point of this need to show the world “what you got” is more than just the gear itself. It is also how it is displayed. Some of the more inexpensive gear is surrounded by plants and/or expensive shelving.

That says an awful lot in regards to that old high-end salesman cliché, the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).

Well, back to my apartment. If you never walked into my studio, you would never know I was in the music/entertainment business.

That is how disconnected my living room is from my hobby now.

I’m actually fine with that.

Is anyone else dealing with this kind of new reality?

I would like to hear from you if you are.

Till next time…


Header image courtesy of Jay Jay French.

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