I’ve designed recording studios for Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith – and these are the speakers, headphones and soundbars I use in my home for “fantastic” quality music.

We asked this famous music industry veteran to tell us about his home audio setup and any other gear and accessories he uses for casual listening.

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John Storyk began designing music studios with a memorable first client: Jimi Hendrix. The famous rocker has hired the budding young architect to help him build a recording facility from the ground up. The result was Electric Lady Studios, which opened in 1970 in New York’s Greenwich Village and continues to expand. Artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Taylor Swift have made records on Electric Lady.

To this day, Storyk, who now works alongside his wife and business partner Beth Walters, designs studios, podcast bays, performance spaces and rehearsal rooms for clients as famous as his own, including Bruce Springsteen. , Aerosmith and ESPN. And when it comes to listening to music, he has thoughts. We asked this famous music industry veteran to tell us about his home audio setup and any other gear and accessories he uses for casual listening. Here are some of his recommendations.

Best Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers: “They sound fantastic. »

Storyk loves these compact, go-anywhere Bluetooth models — the capsule-shaped Bose SoundLink waterproof speaker and the semi-tubular Sonos Roam – for streaming in the wild: “They sound fantastic.” Both are rechargeable and respond to voice commands (Siri for the Bose, Alexa for the Sonos, and Google Assistant for both). The Sonos adds Wi-Fi connectivity. The makers say both can handle splashes, though Bose touts its speaker as “waterproof” as opposed to “water resistant” for the Sonos.

‘They sound fantastic.’

Bose SoundLink Flex Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

$149

  • Wireless and waterproof (additional bonus: it floats)
  • Proprietary technology from Bose, which it claims was designed for optimal sound quality in different environments
  • Siri and Google Assistant enabled
  • Rechargeable wireless speaker battery
  • Built-in microphone for making calls through the Bluetooth speaker
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 5,600 reviews on Amazon

Sonos Roam Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker

$179

  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Use it over Wi-Fi at home, then listen on the go with Bluetooth
  • Alexa and Google Assistant enabled
  • Waterproof (from 1 to 30 minutes) with end caps to protect against drops

Best Wireless Headphones: “I use these all the time.”

Storyk still prefers the experience of listening to music through standalone speakers, but he sometimes switches between calls and songs on his Bluetooth-connected iPhone and Apple AirPods Pro. The Pro pair costs a lot more than Basic Apple AirPods ($99 at Amazon)but Storyk says, “I use them all the time.”

Apple AirPods Pro

$249 $199

  • According to the independent review site sound guys, they feature improved sound, stronger noise cancellation, longer charging, better protection against water damage, and silicone tips for a perfect fit.
  • Noise cancellation
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Three sizes of soft silicone tips for a customizable fit


The best wireless noise canceling headphones
: ‘Very well.’

The job requires Storyk to spend a lot of time on airplanes. For in-flight listening, “I have very good Bose and Sennheiser headphones,” he says. Analog-era legacy companies Bose and Sennheiser are also vying for the affection of digital streaming audiophiles: Bose Quiet Comfort 45 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 The over-ear headphones both feature Bluetooth connectivity as well as a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack cable (which may or may not require that funky two-prong airplane adapter, depending on the design of your headquarters). “I usually use yarn,” Storyk says. “Call me old fashioned.” Both models include a USB-C cable for charging and listening. The Sennheiser adds Alexa-compatible voice control and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

$297 on Amazon

  • Sound Guys highlights the high sound quality (they score an 8.8 out of 10 for the sound of these headphones) and “excellent build quality”
  • Wireless and Bluetooth enabled
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Soft ear pads and genuine leather headband
  • Automatic pairing mode for easy setup on first activation

Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth wireless noise canceling headphones

$279 on Amazon

  • Sound Guys highlights “outstanding noise cancellation” and that they are “comfortable over long periods of time”
  • Wired and wireless playback
  • In-app equalizer
  • Up to 24 hours of battery life
  • Wireless and Bluetooth enabled

Better sound bar

Storyk’s home audio and home theater partly runs on professional, industrial-grade audio gear that you’re free to playfight and find it a bit intimidating. But it also has a Sony-made 5.1-channel surround sound setup that it describes as “nothing fancy”. Newer versions, such as the HT-A5000 soundbar that Sony launched in September, are perhaps a bit fancy, coming equipped with immersive spatial sound from Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and its own 360 Reality Audio technologies. from Sony. They also support voice commands using Alexa and Google Assistant. For budget Dolby Atmos and DTS:X home theater sound, Sony’s 3.1-channel model is half the price at $398 on Amazon.

Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2ch Dolby Atmos home theater surround sound soundbar

$798 on Amazon

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with surround sound and 360° spatial sound mapping
  • Gaming with 8K and 4K/120 passthrough
  • Wireless TV connection
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay
  • Integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Best Desktop Speaker: “A Sweet Pair”

For listening to music at work – whether for work or just for fun – Storyk says he has “a nice pair of little desktop computers” hooked up to his desktop computer. Focal is a French manufacturer highly appreciated by audiophiles and music professionals. These curved, bookshelf-sized speakers are among Focal’s cheapest units, though their Dolby Atmos-equipped counterparts will double the asking price.

Focal SIB Evo 2.0 2-way bass-reflex satellite speakers

$499 on Amazon

  • Sound Guys highlights these speakers for high sound quality (it gives them a 9.5 out of 10), easy setup and that the speakers are powerful

best wall speaker

Whether it’s Puccini or Chicago blues, Storyk’s home music plays in his living room and bedroom through in-wall speakers that blend in with the decor. After years with a particular brand of in-wall speakers, he plans to switch to Bowers & Wilkins Reference Series, which he calls “a line of large loudspeakers with varying degrees of size available”. By any measure, this top-of-the-line model is expensive: a matching pair will cost around $10,000. Bowers & Wilkins also sells a much cheaper wall mounted pair, available for $700.98 for the pair at Best Buy.

Bowers & Wilkins 3-way wall speaker

$5,000.99 (each) at Best Buy

  • CWM652 wall speakers
  • 5-inch woven aramid fiber woofer and aluminum dome tweeter
  • Cast aluminum enclosure chassis
  • Grille and speaker can be painted to match surrounding surface

Regardless of its budget, Storyk says, “people should pay attention to the room as well as the equipment,” which means they should consider getting the listening room listening, which can also mean the installation of sound-absorbing panels. “I’ve done rooms for people who spent $150,000 on speakers,” Storyk explains, “whereas I could put a $1,500 speaker here, spend $5,000 upgrading the room and you couldn’t hear the difference.”