This is the first article in what I hope to become a Hifi Essentials guide that revolves around anything and everything commonly found in a high end audio listening lounge.   All audio enthusiasts should have nice seating, so here are a few of the most popular and interesting chairs I could muster up. 

I would like to thank Mid Century Monger for helping me out with this article.  Please, check their site out if you are interested in buying beautiful pieces of art that are both comfy and stylish as well.  Those guys have the best customer support I’ve ever witnessed and the fashion some of the most incredible pieces of art around!  http://www.midcenturymonger.com/

Hifi Essentials: The Chair

None of us will ever be as cool as our fathers and grandfathers, no matter how hard we may try. Replicating that high end class and style of the 1940’s to the 1960’s ultra-modern style is simply impossible.  It’s the current era’s fault; we are just copying what came naturally to them back in the day.  You can buy nice suits and a cigar, scour your city for local shops that sell good Scotch or even immerse yourself in vintage record players and speakers until your face turns blue and your wallet commits Seppuku…all we will ever really be are a bunch of high end audio enthusiasts who struggle to find bliss in our rigs.   The hunt never ends for our ears, but maybe our bottoms can find something cozy more easily.

Art & Hifi

I’ve been around the world a fair bit, traveled here and there and have attended audio meets in various countries that would have me.  I’ve been invited to other enthusiast’s homes and studio’s often as well, all the while gawking at the setups some of the rich folk own out there with ravenous eyes and ears…so believe me when I say that the pursuit of happiness is plagued with an insatiable lust for owning high end, vintage gear.  Hifi Audio and Art go hand in hand.   I’ve noticed over the years of entering audiophile’s homes, sometimes without permission, that many of them own a unique chair of some sort that is the focal point for their listening area.

In the past, I’d never really understood why anyone would spend so much cash on a unique sitting instrument when the point of having a listening area was to in fact listen to your music.  However, now that I am older, wiser and much more reckless with my cash, an epiphany sounded off in the back of my brain that had signaled the arrival of an appreciation for art.

I want to be like my grandfather (in my native tongue, the word for Grandfather is “Papu”).  I want to sit in a Hifi room like my Papu, always content in that nice chair with a shot glass in hand and wearing a nice suit.  I fear trying to be something I am not will only make me sad that I cannot be like him.

Eames: A brief rundown on the art and design

Truly, modern consumers need to hunt for good seating arrangements and it is absolutely a lost art in crafting a beautiful thing that is comfortable as well.  If you Google high end audio listening rooms for pictures, odds are great you are going to see the Eames Lounger present in many of the high end photo’s that are available.

The Lengend

Why is that?  Well, Eames did it right back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with that style lounger: not only is it the stuff of dreams in terms of exterior design, but it also was uniquely recessed in angle to better allow for a zero-g feel for your sitting pleasure.  This is a rare thing in the current world of chairs, just search for bucket seat recliners and see what comes up in the results…not much.   Over time and after meeting other enthusiasts around the world, I took notice to the fact that many of these people own an Eames style replica lounge chair.

Style & Comfort

Once I sat on an authentic one, I’d instantly realized why these things are so popular and highly sought after by audio enthusiasts:  it is because there simply aren’t many chairs out there that blended style and class with a comfortable, bucket seat.

The Price

Real Eames loungers sell for thousands of dollars and the market is plagued with cheap, knockoff attempts that don’t do the originals justice in the slightest.  Trust me, I know.  I’m an audiophile as well as a chair enthusiasts…I’m weird…a chairaphile?  I’ve owned a few cheap versions in the past and I regret purchasing all of them.

What the Hell is That?

Over the years of writing audio reviews and becoming more of a known writer in the community, I’ve had a great deal of enthusiasts ask me about my Eames chair after I’d snapped and shared some photo’s.  Each time someone stops by to demo some gear in my home, the first question I am asked upon their entrance into my listening area is “Mike, what the hell is that chair?”  Naturally, the answer has been the same for some time: “It’s a horridly uncomfortable Eames replica I purchased on eBay and I hate it with the fury of 1000 exploding suns.”

Normally and to their amusement, the enthusiast or friend will sit on it and reaffirm my statement:  “Yep, this thing is awful but it is damned gorgeous.  But, what other chairs can you recommend that you’ve found worthy of buying?”

The Renky Eames Replica ($550)

Renky Front

You’ll see these knockoff’s all over eBay and maybe even Amazon, don’t buy them unless you want a $550 piece of art that is unsittable.  I mean it.  This chair is simply stunning to look at and had caught the attention of everyone who entered my listening lounge area to see it front and center…but it is so dreadfully uncomfortable that you won’t be able to sit on it without back pain.  I bought this sight unseen, but only because I wanted a cheap Eames replica of my own to show off.  It definitely did the trick and received insanely positive responses after each photo went up online.

Renky Rear

For this price, I classify it as art and nothing more.  Sure, the wood is gorgeous with its deep, sensual rosewood hue and wavy-grain patterns, but that is the only positive thing I have to say about this chair.   The leather looks nice in the photos, but it is very thick cut and of a poor quality in general.  Not only is it low grade leather that gets red hot after sitting on it for 5 minutes, it also is extremely taught: that means the leather is overly stiff and rigid, there is no give when you sit on this chair despite there being some padding inside.  After a long time of owning it, this leather never broke in and the padding never got any softer.

Renky Chip

The most concerning quality of this chair is the quality of the cut of wood, which flaked off during the base installation and mucked up my rug a fair bit.  I must say, it is painful to consider this chair so lovely in design traits, but so horridly uncomfortable and low end with build materials used.  What a shame.

Normally, Eames replica’s all come with a footrest and in this case it too has the same issues of its counterpart: overly stiff padding combined with overly rigid leather.  This is supposed to be a stress reliever and something to help you relax, something decent enough to make you forget the woes of your day and get lost in your music and gear for a short time.  Instead, both the chair and the footrest cause actual pain after just a short amount of usage.

Flash Furniture Bucket Seat Chair Alternative ($200)

flash furnature alternative

Backstory: Believe it or not, there are only a few companies out there that advertise their chairs as bucket seat in design, which again is something I want and need desperately for pain relief in my legs.  Flash Furniture sells a Lounger that is styled similar to the DXRacer Console chair, but if you try to buy one you’d better be prepared for a wild ride.

I feel like there was a legitimate conspiracy occurring when I tried to purchase the Flash Furniture lounger, every damned reseller and distributor not only in the USA, but Germany and the UK as well all stated the same thing:  They had this chair listed in their website store as in stock, but not one seller actually had the chair.  Everyone I contacted (including Walmart and Amazon) stated this chair was in stock.

Lord Lucan is more accessible

After purchasing it, I’d been told it was no longer in stock and my order was canceled each time soon after placing it.  Like a domino effect, one by one all of these sellers on eBay as well as other furniture distributors online all did the exact same thing…each and every one of them lied about having it in stock and all of them do not place the order for that chair until after you pay them for it.  These sellers take your money and then buy the chair from Flash Furniture afterwards. This chair was discontinued and no sellers could fulfill the order I placed, which led me to resorting to buying a DXRacer instead.  This Flash Furniture bucket seat chair is a good alternative to the DXracers.

Page 2: Meet the DXRacer and Southern Style

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About The Author

Senior Reviewer

Self Proclaimed Musicality Guru, Photographer, Audiophile and part time Ninja. I started my audio journey back in 96' and haven't looked back. My ultimate goal in this life is to experience as many Hifi rigs as possible...because I am an audio addict.

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  • qwak

    Great review Michael, I’m big fan of furniture design too and Eames Lounge chair is stunning one. According to MidCenturyMonger website there is also new “more plush” version now 🙂

    • 24bit

      Haha, really!? Well, goes to show they are awesome then for listening to me. Also, thank you for the kind words!

  • I got the DxRacer with the fancy red trim. Not comfy, but it seems like it will retain its shape and firmness over time, which our other office chairs did not. I wouldn’t want any kind of conventional recliner chair in my flat, for the same reason I wouldn’t want a “station wagon” in my driveway. BTW, the DxRacer doesn’t even get more comfortable when reclined.

    • 24bit

      I’m with you on that. My Console DXRacer forces me to hunch my shoulders forward when reclining and its just not at all comfortable in the slightest.

  • Chris

    Nice article. I have been looking at the Ekornes Stressless chairs. Have you tried one, and if so, how do they compare to the Midcentury product?

    • 24bit

      Yes! I have. Ekornes are super soft and plush, but they don’t retain their upward angle like the Eames models. Despite their recline and slight upward slant on the bottom seat area, your weight will just sink into the chair and your legs will end up at a 90 degree angle, your back will be reclined. If they had a more severe recline position, id have probably bought one for myself.

      I’d think build quality is about the same, the Ekornes also use solid metal frames. No doubt they will be more comfortable than the Midcentury Eames replica.

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