I’ve built recording studios for Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, and Aerosmith – these are the speakers, headphones, and subwoofers I use in my house to get “cool” music

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

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John Storrick began designing music studios with an unforgettable first client: Jimi Hendrix. The famous rockstar hired an ambitious young architect to help him build a recording facility from scratch. The result was Electric Lady Studios, which opened in 1970 in Greenwich Village, New York City and is still running. Artists from Stevie Wonder to Taylor Swift have set records for the Electric Lady.

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

Best Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers: “They sound great.”

Storik loves these compact, go-anywhere Bluetooth models—the Bose SoundLink waterproof capsule speaker and the semi-tube Sonos Roam—for broadcasting in the wilderness: “It sounds great.” Both are rechargeable and respond to voice commands (Siri for the Bose, Alexa for the Sonos, and Google Assistant for both). Sonos adds Wi-Fi connectivity. Manufacturers say both can handle splashes, though Bose described the speaker as “water-resistant,” versus the “water-resistant” for Sonos.

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Bose SoundLink Flex Wireless Waterproof Speaker

$149

  • Cordless and Water Resistant (Additional Bonus: Floats)
  • Bose’s proprietary technology, which it says is designed for optimal sound quality in various environments
  • Siri and Google Assistant are enabled
  • Rechargeable wireless earphone battery
  • Built-in microphone for making calls through the bluetooth headset
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 5600 reviews on Amazon

Sonos Roam Smart WiFi and Bluetooth Speaker

$179

  • Battery life up to 10 hours on a single charge
  • Use it on WiFi at home, then listen on the go with Bluetooth
  • Alexa and Google Assistant enabled
  • Water resistant (1-30 minutes) with end caps for drop protection

Best wireless headphones: “I use them all the time.”

Storyk still prefers the experience of listening to music through its standalone speakers, but sometimes it switches between calls and songs on the Bluetooth-tethered iPhone and Apple AirPods Pro. The Pro pair cost a lot more than Apple’s base AirPods ($99 on Amazon), but Storyk says, “I use them all the time.”

Apple AirPods Pro

$249 $199

  • According to independent review site Sound Guys, they offer improved sound, stronger noise cancellation, longer charging, more protection against water damage, and silicone ear tips for a snug fit.
  • Noise canceling
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Three sizes of soft silicone tips for a customizable fit


Best wireless noise canceling headphones
: ‘really good.’

Storik’s job requires him to spend a lot of time on board aircraft. For on-board listening, he says, “I have really good Bose and Sennheiser headphones.” Older companies from the analog era, Bose and Sennheiser are also vying for the sentiments of digital audio enthusiasts: the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones come around the ear with Bluetooth connectivity as well as a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack cable (which may or Doesn’t require the funky two-prong plane adapter, depending on your seat design). “I usually use wire,” Storik says. “Call me old fashioned.” Both models include a USB-C cable for charging and listening. Sennheiser adds Alexa-compatible voice control and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 wireless noise canceling headphones

$297 on Amazon

  • The Sound Guys highlight the high sound quality (they get an 8.8 out of 10 on the sound) and “excellent build quality”
  • Enable wireless and bluetooth
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Soft ear pads and genuine leather headband
  • Auto pairing mode so easy to set up on first activation

Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

$279 on Amazon

  • Sound Guys highlight ‘outstanding noise cancellation’ and that they are ‘comfortable for extended periods of time’
  • Wired and wireless operation
  • In-app EQ
  • Battery life up to 24 hours
  • Enable wireless and bluetooth

Better sound bar

The Storyk Home Audio and Home Theater System works in part on professional, industrial-grade audio equipment that you can read for free and find a little intimidating. But it also got a Sony 5.1-channel surround sound setup which he describes as “nothing great.” New releases, like the HT-A5000 soundbar Sony debuted in September, can be a little fanciful, equipped with immersive spatial sound from Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio technologies. They also perform voice commands using Alexa and Google Assistant. For Dolby Atmos and DTS:X home theater audio on a budget, the Sony 3.1 channel model is half the price at $398 on Amazon.

Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2ch Dolby Atmos Sound Bar Home Theater System with Surround Sound

$798 on Amazon

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with surround sound and 360-degree audio mapping
  • Playing with 8K and 4K / 120 lanes
  • Wireless TV Connection
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay
  • Integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Best Desktop Speaker: “Lovely Husband”

For listening to music at work — whether it’s for work or just having fun — Storik says he has a “nice pair of mini desktops” hooked up to his office computer. Focal is a French manufacturer that enjoys a significant amount of currency among music lovers and music industry professionals. These curvy, bookshelf-sized speakers are among the least expensive Focal units, though their Dolby Atmos-equipped counterparts will double the asking price.

Focal SIB Evo 2.0 2-Way Satellite Speakers

$499 on Amazon

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

Best in-wall speaker

Whether it’s Puccini music or Chicago blues, Storyk’s home music plays in his living room and bedroom through indoor speakers that blend in with the décor. After years with one particular brand of wall-mounted speakers, he’s looking forward to moving on to the Bowers & Wilkins reference series, which he calls “a great set of speakers in varying sizes of available dimensions.” By any standard, this best model is quite expensive: a matching pair will fetch around $10,000. Bowers & Wilkins also sells a less expensive pair in the wall, available for $700.98 a pair at Best Buy.

Bowers & Wilkins® 3-Way Internal Speaker

$5000.99 (each) at Best Buy

  • In-Wall Speakers CWM652
  • 5-inch aramid fiber mid-bass subwoofer and aluminum dome tweeter
  • The speaker body is made of cast aluminum
  • The grill and speaker can be painted to match the surrounding surface

Whatever their budget, says Storik, “people should pay as much attention to the room as they care to the equipment,” which means they should consider tuning the listening room, which could also mean installing sound-absorbing panels. “I set up rooms for people who spent $150,000 on speakers, when I could put a $1,500 speaker here, spend $5,000 to improve the room and you wouldn’t be able to hear the difference,” says Storik.

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