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Smart Living Journal

How home audio systems are reinventing the way we design our homes in the 21st century

Large. Heavy. Overbearing. The imagery of our original CD home audio systems is not a pleasant one. During a time when aesthetics were completely void of a stereo systems’ design, figuring out where to place them in our homes was often a daunting task. However, in the 21st century, the advanced technology of our hi-fi home audio systems is not only reinventing the way we listen to music, but also the way we approach interior design in our homes.

In stark contrast to the heavy, boxy stereo systems of our parents’ generation, today’s compact audio home systems are more streamlined, handcrafted and beautiful as a whole. They are no longer eyesores in our living rooms; they brilliantly contribute to the gestalt of interior design in the modern home. Take the Geneva Sound System Model L, a furniture statement piece in itself. The ‘deceptively simple,’ streamlined contour of its exterior masterfully encapsulates the advanced technology of its two full sized speakers, CD player, radio and amplifier into one clean component. Furthermore, its design not only marks Geneva’s appreciation for aesthetics, but also their dedication to the often overlooked quality of a fully handcrafted piece of work. The wood cabinet for each Model L is hand-sanded with genuine American walnut veneer and glossed with eight layers of high-grade piano lacquer in a process that takes more than a week to complete. This level of attention to detail removes the modern home audio system from the shelf of bothersome equipment that we must arduously place and solidifies it as design pieces we can use to accent the interior design of our homes.

The underlying reason stereo systems of the past suffered from such poor aesthetics was the difficulty level of achieving realistic, high quality sound. Hi-fi was originally intended to replicate the sound quality of listening in a live concert hall. Previously, the equipment required to minimize the noise and distortion while eliciting an accurate frequency response involved several bulky stereos that needed to be precisely positioned around your living room to synchronize with your television. The Yamaha YSP4100 Digital Sound Projector has condensed all of the overbearing equipment into one compact, economical design effectively freeing up more of your living room to be thoughtfully designed. However, where space is reduced, sound is not compromised. The system boasts a DSP for Digital Sound Signal Processor, 40 beam drivers, two woofers and two tweeters. The thin 3½” depth of the device also matches it seamlessly with the flat screen of any plasma television.

Besides being a visual accessory in our homes, audio systems also have the capability of contributing to something that even our finest hand-woven Italian silk curtains and precious China table sets could never achieve: ambiance. The Sonos S5 wireless music system takes the characteristic of music as an emotional amplifier to the next level. The reduced amount of space home audio systems used to take up with their heavy equipment subsequently allowed for synchronized listening in every room of your home. With no docking required, the S5 can be conveniently controlled by a free iphone application that has access to streaming radio stations as well as your iTunes collection. The ease of accessibility to free Internet radio can make any dinner party feel classy and sophisticated, any lonely evening feel warm and inviting and any typical day feel more exciting. Ambiance is often a quality we search for at five-star restaurants or expensive nightclubs and lounges; now we have the luxury of looking no further than our living room for the sound quality that vibrates our soul.

The hi-fi technology of home audio sound systems will never again be overlooked in a far off corner of our living rooms, but rather they will be admired and complemented as a truly beautiful design piece in our homes. The Geneva Sound System Model L, Sonos ZonePlayer S5 and Yamaha YSP4100 Digital Sound Projector underscore the transition of home audio systems have made from being a hindrance to our creative interior design process to one that can improve the design quality of our living space and everyday lives.