System - On Display or Out of the way

So a bit of early morning soul searching or drama.

What if Naim suddenly said (as JV did) keep your whole system (well not the speakers) out of the listening room and out of site - purely hypothetical scenario I assumed a steaming type system, used remotely.

Question is, would it bother you, that your pride and joy is no longer on display?

Interesting my gut reaction is i am torn between, if it sounds better then why not remove it, the other part of me says i have paid £40k or so and i should want to look at it?

I would definitely do this if I had a suitable space. It’s not really practical in our house, but not having a rack full of boxes cluttering up the room would be great, and there would probably be a sound quality benefit as well. Not to mention isolating those buzzing transformers!

I used to have my system (active SBLs) in an alcove in my listening room, but when I upgraded my speakers I moved the boxes into an adjacent hall way. The downside is that there is only room for two stacks, but I prefer having the boxes out of the way as my room is small enough as it is.

The reason for the system is good sound reproduction, so if the negatives of putting in another room, or isolating inside a cupboard outweigh the disadvantages (e.g. longer cables or ventilation issues), and if achievable in practice, then would make sense to do so.

Considering visuals, to my eye Naim black boxes are inoffensive - neither ugly nor pretty - and the same applies to black kit from many other manufacturers. (As opposed to most silver coloured equipment, which generally I find more ugly than pretty, and better out of normal direct sight.) it therefore doesn’t really matter to me whether or not visible, however I think arrays of black boxes look rather industrial and are better out of prominent view.

Regarding value, the benefit is in the sound, so no need for visibility except where function demands.

My own amps (black with green indicator lights) and active crossover (silver coloured with various illuminations) are hidden from view, with, apart from the speakers, only the Mac Mini & DAC visible (latter essential for infrared remote control reasons, former because it is unobtrusive and there’s nowhere presently convenient to put it out of sight.

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Ideally visible but away from foot traffic lanes in a naturally shadowed part of the room. Preferably on the back wall or a side wall away from the speakers.

And sadly right now, right bang in the middle if the speakers due to space restrictions… and it drives me nuts.

My black boxes are all in a side room connected to the sitting room by an open archway. I prefer it this way.

I prefer not to be distracted by having the system in direct sight when I’m listening to music. My own system has the three Fraim stacks and all the kit off to the side and slightly behind against the rear wall from where I’m sat. The advantage is that I’m also very close by for changing LPs etc…

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Has to be in the same room for changing LPs but I’d rather not look at it, however, I have a choice of the system with the Telly peering over it or a nearly ceiling high rack of 2000+ LPs between the speakers.

The elephant in the room is the lack of TT.
When I cleaned the fraims recently I realised that a TT could go where I stack my CDs… but what to do with them? I’ve no attic or suitable storage space. In my dreams I would have a bespoke shelving system for vinyl, CDs with the TT in the middle … dream on.
(The wall behind the fraims is stone with rubble infill so I don’t think a shelf would be very stable, whilst the wall behind the CDs is also stone with rubble infill but thicker.)

I’m a fan of having as many of the boxes out of the listening room as practicality allows. It gets buzzing transformers out of earshot and frees the boxes from having to deal with the effects of the sound waves coming from the speakers. The compromise being cable dressing being suboptimal.
I have all the power supplies and the NAP500 head unit in a spacious cupboard behind the main rack…

…and only the essential Turntable, Stageline, NDS and preamp head units in the listening room

The uplift in SQ vs having it all in the listening room is huge. Very worthwhile if you have the option.

My goal is to have only head units visible. Working on it.


My Quadraspire rack has wooden front doors. It has one shelf above so just NDS and pre-amp are visible and accessible. Perfect.

Shame they don’t make it like this any more.


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