Almost by providence I happened upon an Internet article that claimed the "19 Coolest Things To Do With A Basement." Well sir, this should be interesting. Immediately I wondered where in the hierarchy of things a listening room would come. Maybe, if not a dedicated audio listening room, then a home theater room at the very least.
Some of the suggestions should seem plainly obvious. A workout room, game room and a bar came as no surprise. In fact, I suspect those are among some of the more popular ways to transform that area below the main living space. A kid's playroom or a wine cellar also seemed perfectly natural and reasonable ways to turn the cellar into something spectacular.
As I scrolled my way through the suggestions, complete no less with pictures and alluding to the fact that these spaces actually existed, I was quite surprised that a listening room was not even listed. Am I to understand that a listening room, or even a home theater room did not merit "coolness" in any appreciable manner?
Okay, I understand that there are not a lot of everyday people with a $250K or more audio system that have the available space and financial resources to have a dedicated room. But really, audiophiles as a whole don't rank high enough on the "coolness" scale to be one of the nineteen? Not to mention the likely more popular home theater setup?
Consider two of the more arcane ideas the article exemplified and I think you may better understand my confusion. A Space To Store Your LEGO Collection. Seriously? There are enough LEGO collectors with collections large enough to warrant an entire basement conversion? This as opposed to a place to listen to glorious music or watch widescreen movies?
How about converting your basement into a hockey rink? Would this be for the kids or for the adults? I didn't get far enough along in the process to learn if it was ice or just highly polished hardwood floors. Does it even make a difference?
I have nothing against hockey or LEGOS. I've been to hockey games and played with LEGOS as a kid. That either of these, on their own merit, warrant basement coolness is not the issue. But certainly there are just as many, likely even more audiophiles with a system, regardless of cost, that warrant the "coolness" offered by a dedicated room.
Some of the other ideas are also pretty understandable. A Kitchenette, A Band Practice Room, A Separate Den, An Art Studio or a Small Swimming Pool were all things I could grasp. The closest the article came to anything remotely related to audio or HT was "A Nice Quite Place To Watch TV." I looked at the picture and could not find any sort of A/V equipment. The requisite couch was there, and obviously the TV, but nothing audio related.
Am I to assume that high performance audio is not cool? Or is it not cool enough for a basement conversion? Frankly, I think that if one has a basement and is also an audiophile, it would be the perfect space for a listening room. Basically underground, and typically unfinished, a basement has terrific listening room potential. If you treat the ceiling correctly you don't hardly have to worry about disturbing anyone. Except maybe the occasion rodent who burrowed into the ground next to your house.
Audiophiles, I believe, have come to accept these oft-putting slights. We endure condescension and misunderstanding about our hobby from all sides. And true to form, we're not even cool enough to rank turning the basement into a listening area. We can't even seem to beat out LEGO's.
I'm reminded of the timeless line uttered by actor Peter Finch in the movie Network. With clinched fists and a wild, red faced look, the character Peter Beale exclaimed "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Okay, maybe a bit over the top but you get the idea. So if you have a basement and the notion to turn it into a listening room, I say throw caution to the wind. Get out the nail gun and crank up the chop saw. Maybe you won't be officially "cool," at least as regarded by the article, but you'll have the ideal place to house your system and listen to music. The LEGO collectors will just have to get over it.