Sound Design Decisions for My New Apartment

Sound Design Decisions for My New Apartment

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Emily Billings
Oct 27, 2016
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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Growing up, music was a large component of my home. My living room bookcase held stacks of cassettes, later replaced with a tower of CDs. The crown jewel was Shania Twain's album Come on Over (I was a '90s kid after all.) My favorite track was "Man, I Feel Like a Woman." There were coordinated dance moves, and it was the beginning of a life-long appreciation for songs that were the best level of ridiculousness.

Decades later, I have a somewhat smaller-scaled operation in my home, having recently downsized from a 5-bedroom farmhouse to a 1-bedroom city apartment. In lieu of the huge CD collection, my boyfriend Max and I have gone almost entirely digital. (Well, all except for Come on Over CD for sentimental reasons, despite Max's coercions.) While parting with most of our CDs and digitally streamlining our music collection was easy, agreeing on how we'd now listen to it was not so straightforward.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Max had inherited a pair of '80s box speakers and amps, and while their sound was great, they weren't the most attractive or size-suitable option for our newly space-conscious city lifestyle. As we settled into our apartment, the speakers and all their cables sat in storage, and our conversations circled back to ways of incorporating music into our new space. We'd been really careful during this move to purge and were thoughtful about everything we brought into the space.

After evaluating wireless speaker options, Max and I decided on a home sound system from Sonos. The '80s box speakers and their complicated wiring became a thing of the past (literally) along with most (ahem) of our CD collection.

The Sonos system has been the perfect agreement between a music lover who wants quality sound in his home and an aesthetic-driven decorator who can't stand an ugly, bulky sound system. It blends in seamlessly with our simple, considered design. We didn't have to compromise aesthetic for value; rather, our sound system works in tandem with our home's design.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

The setup couldn't be easier, even for a non-techie like me. You plug it in, download the app, connect to your WiFi, and tada! It's music to your ears (pun intended) controlled from your phone, tablet, or computer. The app lets you access your music library, Spotify, Pandora, even the radio.

Our home stereo system includes a pair of PLAY:1s and one PLAY:5. The compact PLAY:1s pack a surprising punch while the PLAY:5's six speakers balance it all out. The speakers can be paired or used individually, controlled from the app. Once we expand our home sound system into the bedroom, I'll be able to listen to my music while Max listens to his album of the moment in the living room.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

What really impressed me is since the speakers are controlled over WiFi, the sound system can connect to a phone and play the tracks in the background, without a call interrupting the song. Even as I move around the apartment, answer a phone call, or switch between apps, the music plays on, crystal clear. Meaning my dance party can continue, even when the boyfriend's on the phone.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Visit west elm to find Sonos speakers and fill your space with the music you love.

Products were supplied to this writer by Sonos, who sponsored this post.
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