Embarrassed....Audio furniture help

Well, I swore I'd never let a woman dictate my two channel system but here we are.  Wife and I bought our first new home, I've got a small but adequate second living area for my system.  Problem is, as mentioned, my wife.  Setup will consist of CD player, AppleTV unit and integrated amp.  May add a streamer at some point but we'll cross that bridge later.  I'm using a pair of bookshelves and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Here's the rub....She is demanding an A/V credenza, so speakers sitting on the credenza on either side of the TV.  Of course I'd love a vertical audio stand and be able to use speaker stands but it's too open, too many exposed cables, blah blah, you know the story.  

Question of the day:  can anyone point me in the right direction?  I need minimum 18" depth and all the awful Crate and Barrel stuff she recommends isn't up to my audio standards.  Needs something with doors for a clean look but I still need my IR signal to work.  Because the speakers aren't going on stands, I'd like something at least 20" tall.  A lot of the fashionable stuff is 14-16" tall, putting the tweeters way below ear level in the listening position.  

Any help would be much appreciated.  


Man shaking his head with a borderline resigned look

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There are some things in life that are just non negotiable. Put some computer speakers on either side of the TV, get her the credenza that she like in exchange for your own music room where you can do anything you GD  choose. Take one of the extra bedrooms.
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If you have an open floor plan room, aesthetics are the least of your worries. It is struggle to get decent sound in such an environment and you will never get excellent sound.  I wouldn't put anything beyond a sound bar in a living room type situation. It's fine for what it is. Figure out a second room for your serious audio system and go to town. A smaller enclosed room will always offer better acoustics and you keep all of it out of your wife's line of sight.



As @mwh777 pointed out, Salamander makes beautiful A/V cabinets. Let her pick the cabinet from Salamander and you grab following two accessories,

Harmony Elite remote with a hub. I am using two of these in separate rooms with Salamander cabinets and they simply work with any electronics inside the cabinet. No remote clutter and you will enjoy the ease of one command control your multiple devices.


For speaker height adjustment and isolation (very important), I recommend to buy IsoAcoustics Aperta Isolation Stands.


Hope this helps!
you mentioned TV, please clarify:

2 channel sound only


also 5.1 system for small home theater?

I have a West Elm credenza I use, with speaker stands just next to it on either side. TV is on the wall behind it, and tube amp & TT are on top. My wife thinks it looks pretty cool.

Maybe if the wiring is minimal your wife would be fine with it. Mounting the TV on the wall above/behind the credenza gives you some space on top.

Note, I have to open one door on the credenza while it is operating so my DAC has airflow since it gets a wee bit warm.
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Ditch the whole cadenza thing and get console audio system.  Wrensilva makes modern tech ones.  The downside is price and you won't be able to place a TV on the top surface.
You need to re-negociate.

Offer a custom shoe closet in return for her relinquishing insistence on credenza.

I had the same issue to deal with last week so 2 days ago I bought this unit. I checked out the non-corner unit at a local store and it was nice, very solid and a cool feature to avoid scratches on the top plate. It is 20 inches deep and has air flow holes what will work with a remote. I need to wait 4 weeks for deliver.

I bought from a local store and not these guys.

The Amish do a great job with woodworking and offer a variety of solid wood designs such as solid cherry, quartersawn white oak, and more, plus your choice of stains and finishes.  The furniture is usually very solid and well-built to support audio gear.  The styles lean more toward traditional than modern but there are many options.  Here is just one example of a company you could look at but if you do a search you will find many more.  Most of it seems to come from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.
Like mijostyn said;  'There are some things in life that are just non-negotiable!'
 ... so now I'm single ! 😂

 The Lesson Learned; 
My happiness was contingent upon hers! 
If you don’t want to spent thousands, take a look at the collection (can be delivered) on Costco of all places. I have 2 Salamander Design pieces, but not everyone wants to spend $3K - $10K. Can't hurt to look: https://www.costco.com/entertainment-centers-TV-stands.html
I would recommend to build your own rack and you can make it with any size and type of shelving you want to also you can leave it open to ventilate all the equipment.
Wow, I guess I'm lucky. My wife has no say in how I display my audio gear. But then, she's not the typical picky aesthetic type either. I was fortunate to build (along with a good friend) my own audio rack out of solid maple and mahogany. It looks great and my wife likes it too. I will soon have a matching CD cabinet to go with it. There are many options out there and as @mitch2 said, check out Amish furniture. They make really nice stuff!
Allow me a question.
Not sure exactly of your context.
Does she like music?
Did she ever heard good hifi? Did she enjoy it?
Can you bring her at a friend’s place that does not have a Frankeinstein setup, so she can discover/enjoy/fall in live with good sound?

My point is she will become way more tolerant if she likes the results.
My 2-cents.

Would she like this?
Your audio furniture may be your smallest problem. Demands usually grow. Good luck.
I am on my third wife, my current wife is on her third husband, don't sweat it, enjoy your life, there are a lot more fishes in the sea. 
Hey, I used a company called stand out designs. They are no longer building AV cabinets due to COVID. One of the craftsmen Brian is doing it on his own. His website is Bawoodworksllc.com. They are great people to work with. 
I bought six solid oak LP shelves from Maple Shade. Then put some nice white oak euro ply on top and in two of the LP spaces I drilled some holes for shelf standards and now I have 4 shelves for the AV equipment and speakers.

The other 4 spaces are for LPs...and this is on the side wall. The short wall gets 4 LP shelf units for my audio rack and The rest of the LPs. This was my solution as my wife and I moved into a new place last year and I had to get creative with room layout in a smaller home.

Don't relent. Let her know how important music is to you and work with her to come up with something that works for both of you.

One concession my wife made was that we don't have any reflective surfaces (portraits or artwork behind glass) in the living room. My concession was a 60" TV. I put a felt blanket over it when I listen to music.

Salamander. Buy it viaAmazon prime for the free shipping. I have one in the tv room that is built to accommodate a sound bar. I ditched the sound bar and put in two speakers instead.  Sounded boxy til I lined the shelf with sound absorbing foam, added poly fill behind the speakers, and put the speakers on IsoAcoustic pucks. Tucked a subwoofer in the corner and it sounds pretty decent and no cables visible except the sub. 
Wow, I hope some of you aren’t actually serious about the wife comments... but perhaps you are. To each their own. Regarding the dilemma, it’s hardly a dilemma, find a furniture builder and have the furniture designed for exactly what you want. That’s what my wife and I did. Wasn’t cheap, but not outrageous either. It’s called compromise. She’s happy, I’m happy. It’s all good. And let’s face it, momma not happy... well, you know the rest.
Room and Board has a great selection of media cabinets. Some of the product lines are customizable with their online tool. Lots of colors and material combinations to meet the demands for all involved. I have a version of the Linear Model with 25” depth which has a generous interior and my brother has a Copenhagen. Both are great media consoles and the customization was a nice feature for my needs. It’s hard to find a deep media console but this company gives you options. Also made in the USA which is a plus in my book.

Also check out Salamander Designs along with BDI which is a slick system.



I had Timbernation custom design for me...not cheap, but great value...stunning stuff
Well my friend, I must say that at age 82, I have found myself in a similar situation. Fortunately I have an excellent 20 X 40 audio room where my high end "stuff" resides. Also, a second system in a large bedroom that I use as an office. Also acoustically suitable. 
My third system is in our living room. Originally I purchased a 7',  3 bay console from a company that is no longer in business. It has a Rosewood finish and is large enough to house all of my audio/video components, and currently, with the TV monitor and speakers on top. Previously I had a pair of custom design speakers and matching stands, which I still have, but in storage at the moment. 
We have a large bay window in the front, part of which occupied the right channel speaker and part of the console (visible). My wife never liked the looks of that. Furthermore, we have not had the space for a Christmas tree for years now. I finally had a brain "fart" last year and decided to move the stand speakers into my storage room; - - - shift the console to the left out of window view and bought a pair of TRIANGLE Borea 03 bookshelf speakers to replace the stand speakers. They now reside at the extreme ends of my console, which is about perfect for "near field" listening. I'm happy with the TRIANGE speakers, but most of all, the wife is very happy because now we have room for our Christmas tree. It felt more like Christmas this year.
SALAMANDER makes some A/V cabinetry very similar to what I have. Their 3 bay consoles should do the job nicely for you, and they are solid; good quality and flexible. Also, remote control friendly.  Unfortunately, a bit pricey, but it's a piece of furniture that will last for many years of good service.   Check AUDIO ADVISOR for info.   I hope this helps. 

I can see making some concessions on aesthetics to get along with your wife if you don't have a separate listening room of your own. There are a lot of big ugly speakers out there that might sound great, but make her barf at their appearance, and not want them in her (and your) beloved home. But that credenza idea is a too much to swallow, and she needs to be more considerate of your needs too. 

I'd suggest using negotiating skills that start with the word "No" and I'm willing to compromise, but not roll over for that idea. Then offer some compromises. Keeping the components in a ventilated space behind a closed is doable, and worked with my wife. You know I wanted to display the electronics, but was willing to compromise with her winning on that score. The speakers you, not she desires, need to have a reasonable , not garish, appearance, but suit your listening needs and be placed in a reasonable position in the room where they won't sound like, well you know. That's where I'd hold the line, while giving her some say on the speakers aesthetic appearance.

By showing a willingness to compromise, but holding the line where you need to in terms of how your system will sound, I'm guessing you'll end up getting more respect in the long run, after a few fights. My wife didn't like my big old Dahlquist DQ10's sitting out in the room when I had them, and I didn't like having the rest of my beautiful equipment behind closed doors, but that's marriage, give and take.

If your sound system is important to you, you can't be a door mat or you'll eventually not have her respect, which is a worse outcome, and definitely worse than a few fights. The kind of trade off twoleftears suggested might be a reasonable compromise as well, and another way to skin the cat.

 I'm sure a lot of us have been where you're at. It might be tough for her to hear the word "No" to a credenza, but she'll get over it, eventually. And it will only get brought up by her but occasionally in future years, during unrelated arguments. In my experience women never do forget and for that matter men never remember. Good luck,

Dude, seriously!? From own experience I could suggest to stop discuss and confirm audio stuff with your wife. Just buy and set stuff as you need. Usually it looks great when it’s done by you with enthusiastic approach and it will settle with wife easily later. But if not, just act as not big deal, promise some changes and jump in to long game. Ones I bought the rug to put it in front of my speakers, you know, to adjust the soundstage.....and the rag was totally rejected by my wife, she just extremely hated that rug... I had to promise her that the rug will be returned next week... I just act as not big deal at all ....eight years past... the rug is still there and serving the purpose :)
'...an A/V  credenza...'

Style of furnishings she prefers?  If Crate & Barrel is her initial call, it sounds like vaguely 'rustic modern' which is somewhat conflicting with 'A/V' equipment....although looking at C&Bs' site isn't totally true.  Lotsa modern, although some 'trad frame & panel' are evident.

Sounds like time to do a web wander with the significant other...opting to dump the spouse over furniture seems a bit drastic and potentially expensive.  Remember what R. Williams said about divorce...

Putting the speakers on 'suitably decorative' risers on a low credenza might be an option.  My spouse wants an existing pair of Maggies' in a pending living space, but against the wall when not in song.

Solution:  A pair of flat panel mounts that extend and pivot enough to allow the Mags to 'act proper', yet get moved back against the wall when not in use.  Found a unit that even fits the existing mounting holes in the speakers, so no surgery needed to pull this off.

'Practical Magic' is possible, but thinking outside the box becomes a necessity.....;)

Happy hunting & good luck, J
For most high-end speakers, putting them on a shelf seems to be a bad idea - uncontrolled speaker/shelf vibration interactions, reflected backwaves and sidewaves can muddy the music, speaker height may not be adjustable/ideal.  

If you find the speaker positioning unsatisfactory sonically but cannot change the speaker's location from the shelf, then you may want to go the headfi (headphones/earphones) route.

Some may call it henpecked, others may say it's self preservation.  Usually, it's somewhere in the middle.
I follow Andrew Robinson on youtube. He has a cool credenza he uses made by a company called BDI


The front panels are acoustically transparent and allow the uv signals to pass through. The back panels can be removed. Also includes a safety strap for the TV.
there is no reason you could not put a base under the speakers on top of the furniture to get the tweeters seated ear level. find something, stack of vintage bricks, have a local shop make what you need.

iow, if you find some darn nice smaller speakers, you can make em work.

think about proper TV height, neck position watching. We used temporary stacks of books under our tv to decide the height, then figured out the height of the furniture, it will be taller than you think (good, taller fits more inside).

thus the speakers will be higher than you think, soooo you might use the speakers horizontally, soooo get a unit wide enough for that, or, a modular system where you could add a unit in the future: suppose you want to go wider to add a TT some day?

why doors? or, a modular system where some parts have doors, some don’t.

after you are done, you might thank the wifey!
The direction I would point you in would be a divorce lawyer.
"She is demanding an A/V credenza"
I thought you said you had a:
"small but adequate second living area for MY system"

I recommend BDI consoles. I have one for similar reasons...
Google BDI and look around. I have the BDI Corridor 8177. 8179 is wider if you need extra width. I have a 75” flat panel mounted on the wall above and it looks great with the 8177. Height is 28.5”, depth of their units is 20”. Acoustically transparent slatted doors for IR signal transmission. Excellent ventilation and wire management. I have floorstanders to either side and wife actually likes the look.
I agree with @yogiboy I purchased a custom "tower" from Timber Nation. Chuck is a no-nonsense craftsman who builds a beautiful stand or credenza... You won't be disappointed. Plan your rack / credenza for the future of new components. :-) 
Here are some customer pics from Chuck's site https://timbernation.com/customers.html

Oh, and if you are unfamiliar, you must "read up" on "WAF" the "wife acceptance factor". It's a fun rabbit hole of articles - serious and pejorative alike - that all land in similar places. :-) 
You mentioned that this little spat is over the décor in the second living space.  What's in the first living space?  Who is dictating how that whole room is being setup?  Colors, furniture, window treatments etc etc.

To negotiate from a position of strength start "demanding" how things will look in the first living space.  Choose wisely and garishly as possible.

Then when she sees you're serious and finds how hurtful "demands" can
be the negotiating begins.  One last thing, in this process do not raise your voice no matter how heated it may become.  You'll see why as this unfolds.