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Thread: Listening chairs - the forgotten component

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! Keith_W's Avatar
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    Listening chairs - the forgotten component

    OK, everyone agrees that speakers and rooms make a huge difference. There is some level of disagreement as to how much good components make. And there is even more disagreement to the effect of cables and tweaks. But - why doesn't anyone ever talk about the listening chair?

    Here are some criteria (for me):

    - tall enough to get your ears at tweeter level
    - must not be canted backwards, otherwise you have to tilt your head forwards to listen. This gets fatiguing.
    - must not have a headrest, as this can cause early reflections or mess up the rear reflections from reaching your ears
    - must not be leather, because leather gets bloody cold in winter

    This rules out all manner of listening chairs - no lazy boy recliners, no Eames chairs, etc etc. My listening chair is a simple leather sofa which I bought years ago. Unfortunately it is too low to get my ears to tweeter level, so I actually prefer to drag a dining table chair to the listening room for critical listening!

    What are your thoughts on listening chairs?
    Classical music enthusiast. System photos here.

  2. #2
    Remember those fake leather reclining 'home theatre' chairs with little woofers built into the bottom? Just kidding. I use an Eames chair. with no tweaks

  3. #3
    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    I started this thread several years ago......

    http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...istening+chair
    Steve Williams
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    WBF Founding Member/Member Sponsor Johnny Vinyl's Avatar
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    I have a leather chair similar in size/style to the old Maxell ads and it has served me well. It is slightly canted backwards, but I can easily sit quite comfortably in an upright position. My speakers' tweeters are at ear-height, so I'm good to go in that regard. However, unless I'm truly going for a critical listen I have no problem slouching down slightly and just taking pleasure from whatever song selection I happen to fancy at the time. Correctness be damned!
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  5. #5
    Good thread Steve, just scolled through it quickly. It reminded me- the Aero is extremely comfortable and very adjustable- I use them for my office and they are the ultimate in non-fatigue. Car seats, by Recaro and the like- I've had them in cars, like Ferraris and big Porsches, and while they are very good for the purpose- keeping you locked into position when driving hard on corners and in hard acceleration, I don't think they are terribly comfortable. I think the hard/soft thing is partly a matter of personal taste- i find my butt aches after a few hours in any car these days, and kicks up my sciatica. Soft, comfy chairs, ala Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition, same thing. So, I guess it's like Goldy Locks. And, to my eyes, some of those chairs are just f-ugly!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith_W View Post
    OK, everyone agrees that speakers and rooms make a huge difference. There is some level of disagreement as to how much good components make. And there is even more disagreement to the effect of cables and tweaks. But - why doesn't anyone ever talk about the listening chair?

    Here are some criteria (for me):

    - tall enough to get your ears at tweeter level
    - must not be canted backwards, otherwise you have to tilt your head forwards to listen. This gets fatiguing.
    - must not have a headrest, as this can cause early reflections or mess up the rear reflections from reaching your ears
    - must not be leather, because leather gets bloody cold in winter

    This rules out all manner of listening chairs - no lazy boy recliners, no Eames chairs, etc etc. My listening chair is a simple leather sofa which I bought years ago. Unfortunately it is too low to get my ears to tweeter level, so I actually prefer to drag a dining table chair to the listening room for critical listening!

    What are your thoughts on listening chairs?
    well; my perspective differs on 3 of the 4 criteria you mention.

    ---agree on being ears being at tweeter level.
    ---as far as not being canted backwards, i'm opposite. i listen alot. sometimes hour after hour......i've had 12 hour sessions. and plan on more of them. a straight upright chair is about a 90 minute proposition at the upper limit. for short term critical listening i get it. i have two Aeron side chairs that are upright and very comfortable. i use them behind my sofa for when i have multiple visitors. Name:  aeron.jpg
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    i prefer to sit in my 'zero gravity' 'perfect' chair from the Relax-the-Back store for my own listening. i can listen to music for an indefinite time. doctors perscribe this chair for people who cannot sleep in a bed. until you actualaly try a zero gravity chair with the straight back and proper thigh support, you will never know how much better it feels for extended sitting. many other chairs that seems to soft and comfortable at first sit, start to stress the back after 45 minutes to an hour.
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    if you want a different sofa where you sit more upright and have more support than the typical sofa here is the one i use from Ekones.

    Name:  osloblack2010.jpg
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Size:  23.5 KB visitors seem to really like it and can sit for hours on it comfortably. other sofas i saw were either waay too soft or too low.
    ---not all headrests are created equally. some are very wide and cupped, which i agree do cause sonic problems. some are made of cloth, which wil deaden the sound. if you look at the head rest on the picture of my zero gravity chair you will notice first that the upper chair is narrow, and the headrest is raised, also that both the chair and headrest curve away from the ears, so no sound is directly refelcted back. i agree that having even this head rest is not that same as no headrest, but it does not intrude on the music. using this chair and headrest, i do move my head on and off the headrest, but i'm only moving my head a couple of inches. i have the chair in a fairly upright position.
    ---as far as not being leather, well, cloth sticks and binds to your clothing, which will become uncomfortable eventually. my chair does use high quality leather which can be a bit cool initially but is then comfortable long term since my clothing never binds on it. i have effective HVAC so the temperature in the room is always ina comfortable range. and my chair uses vico-elastic foam so it's heat sensitive and shapes to your torso.

  7. #7
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    That chair looks interesting, Mike. As a person who deals with lower back issues, I can appreciate a chair like that. I currently have three IKEA Poang chairs in my listening room.
    Regards,
    Steve

  8. #8
    Member Sponsor puroagave's Avatar
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    i always liked the looks of the eames chair, can anyone confirm they're good for listening? my friend is a howard miller dealer and his cost is high but its very well made and a classic.
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    "I don't have a crystal ball, but I'm willing to bet one of my arms right now that as long as there's electricity, Ramones music is going to be relevant." - Henry Rollins

  9. #9
    Industry Expert/Member Sponsor Peter Breuninger's Avatar
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    IMHO...
    1) comfort
    2) back support
    3) the back at or below shoulder level- must keep the head free from direct reflections inches from the pinna.
    4) leather-so not to absorb the sound
    5) sofa- so up to three can share- Terry listens with me all the time, we rotate listening position.

    My favs so far are products from Ekornes (two sofas, one chair)
    Founder: AVShowrooms featuring video reports of audio shows, company tours and reviews. Resume' includes; the absolute sound, Stereophile, Listener Magazine, founder Philadelphia Audio Society. Top articles: Lamm ML3- TAS, YG Anat III Signatures- TAS, Ayon- TAS, Coincident Speaker Technology- TAS, Single Ended Survey- TAS, Fisher 500c- Stereophile, Bozak CGs- Stereophile, Box Sets- Listener, Dynaco ST70-Listener. Best catch phase: Bugatti of Audio.
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  10. #10
    Puro, re the Eames, it may not be the last word in definitive position, etc. but it is comfortable. FWIW, the real ones are sold at a substantial discount to 'decorators' they don't usually go for 'list.' The price difference between a real one and a decent knock-off (if that is not an oxymoron) is not as great as it would appear and i know that some of the companies, like Knoll, have been clamping down on unlicensed copies. PS i think it is Herman Miller, although if memory serves, wasn't Howard Miller a clock company?
    (I have an entire office of vintage Herman Miller from the 50's along with Eames plywood chairs one of which is an 'Evans Company' product. Eames had them build the first plywood chairs before he associated with Herman Miller. They are like sitting in a kindergarden chair- everything is super low to the ground). And the bent plywood was developed for WWII applications, perhaps airplane stuff for gliders? I don't remember.

    PS i just checked, the bent plywood was used for leg splints for the US Airforce!

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