When you think about the components of any audio system, things like speakers, power amps, and source devices undoubtedly come to mind. You might even consider the room as a component. But what about the seat in which you sit to enjoy the music? Most chairs are not designed specifically for that particular endeavor, leaving you with a pain in the neck and/or back after extended periods, and some actually interfere with perceiving the best possible sound. To overcome the limitations of this "forgotten component," a Swedish company called Klutz Design has developed the Ballerina Sweetspot, a prototype chair that is optimized for just one thinglistening.
The Ballerina Sweetspot began as a rough sketch that is said to have resembled a ballerina lifting her ballet skirt. After that sketch inspired the chair's name, the design evolved into its current curvaceous form, which includes a sturdy lumbar support, lockable height adjustment to align your ears with the speakers, and legs cut from thick, high-grade aluminum sheets to reduce the transmission of vibrations from the floor. Truly obsessed audiophiles can even install spikes to further decouple the chair.
The headrest of most comfy chairs is quite wide, which can interfere with your perception of sound, especially from a surround system, but also from a 2-channel rig. Not so with the Ballerina Sweetspotthe adjustable headrest is intentionally narrow, leaving the ears wide open to the sounds all around while comfortably supporting the head in the optimum listening position.
Another critical design element is the chair's hollow armrests, which are intended to store remote controls. In fact, this was the initial idea of inventor Michael Hollensen, who wanted the remotes to be within easy reach without sitting on his lap, the floor, or a coffee table.
The Ballerina Sweetspot is scheduled for production in early 2010, and although the final price has not yet been established, it's expected to be around 5500 Euros (almost $8200 as of this writing). That's a lot for a chair, but not if it brings you closer to musical nirvana in comfort and style.