Featured Member Bizango1: Combining Interests

What do you look at while listening to your system? What art or decor suits your style? Audiogon user, Bizango1 combined his interests by putting his fish tank as the focal point of his listening room, creating a both visually and aurally enjoyable experience.  With the look of this tropical room featuring an aquarium, purple statement wall, and bright red chair, he got us rethinking listening room decor.  Take a look below to find out how he got inspired.


Equipment Pictured:

  • Arcam FMJ CD33T CD player
  • BAT VK300xSE Supertube integrated
  • JL Audio F110 Subwoofer (pair)
  • Synergistic Research Alpha Sterling ActiveX Interconnect
  • Monster Cable 600SW Subwoofer Interconnect (pr)
  • Kimber 8TC Speaker cable
  • Acoustic Zen Adagio floorstanders Speaker
  • Rega DAC DA converter
  • Squeezebox Touch Tuner

AUDIOGON: Tell us a little about yourself.

Bizango1: I’m in my second career working in renewable energy in the Monterrey Bay area of California. I got into audio as a means of getting more enjoyment out of listening to music. My parents were a great influence with their records, and as a family we watched all the variety music shows on TV in the sixties. I started out as a kid audiophile by listening in my bedroom closet in the dark with my headphones listening to CSN, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, etc. It was like a sensory deprivation chamber that allowed me to absorb every note and nuance. If I was a better guitar player, I could still play every note to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes from memory.

A: How did you get your room the way it is?
Bizango1: Not too scientific, but my room is arranged the way it is because that’s the only way it fits! I used to have a big hi-fi with thousands of watts in a huge dedicated room, but my wife decided we were moving to a small house near the beach, so I pretty much had to start over. The tweaking was buying and selling equipment for four years after we moved until it clicked with the right combo of components. No room tweaks at all.

A: How did you come up with the idea to put a fish tank in the center of your set up?

Bizango1: The tank came first! Speakers just naturally end up on either side of it. If you have a nice tank, you want to spend a lot of time looking at it. If you have a nice hi-fi, you want to spend a lot of time listening in front of it. If you don’t have a whole lot of spare time, you can do both at the same time if the tank is between the speakers. Truth is, I’ve had a tank between my speakers since was a kid in the mid seventies.

A: What kind of fish do you have?

Bizango1: Freshwater community tropicals. Some of my favorites are  Ambastaia sidthiminki, Uaru cichlids, and headstanders.

A: What do you think the fish add to the listening experience?

Bizango1: The music and fish are kind of separate but concurrent for me. For me, the fish are fascinating rather than relaxing.

A: Did you have to use any special room treatments to account for the tank?

Bizango1: My only treatment is stuffing the tank stand with old pillows so it isn’t a passive radiator.

A: What is your favorite component and why?

Bizango1: Can I pick two? When I got my Acoustic Zen Adagios the system sounded right for the first time since the move to the small room after owning Revel F32s, PSB Synchrony Ones, Usher BE718s, etc. All good speakers but the Adagios work best with the room. Then I got the BAT VK300xSE integrated and the synergy with the Adagios make that combo the best overall I’ve ever had and for a lot less money than previous systems.

A: What is your favorite music to listen to?

Bizango1: Folk, Electronica, Classical, Jazz, World. Lots of different stuff but very little popular Country or Rap. Mostly acoustic instruments and vocals except for Electronica played loud as hell sometimes – gotta love JL subs.

A: Is there any rule, theory, or advice you abide by with the set up of your system that you’d like to share?

Bizango1: I don’t like finicky equipment. I like to turn it on and listen-not chase hum, worry if my cables are touching carpet, stuff like that. I am also a strong believer that my ears are different than yours and so are my tastes and each of us should let our own ears be the final word. If you love it, it’s good!


Have you incorporated your pets in your listening room? Do your animals enjoy the sounds of your system? Do you have unique decor? Comment below to share.


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  1. While I adore the setup, being a hobbyist of both as well, I dislike the tank between the speakers as much as a big screen tv. Such systems always benefit from the removal of such. I would like the tank closer to the listening chair on the side so as to have a better view. Yet, each to their own, as this hobbyist already said. Agreed!

  2. very nice set up. I think I could do someyhing like this in small NYC studio. I have always wanted and aquarium too. I have arcam fmj 27a and love it. I have similar music tastes as well.

  3. Whether you want to avoid distraction to visualize an orchestra/ band/ singer performing or prefer to watch fish in an aquarium while listening is simply a matter of taste/ temperament. However be aware that blocking most of the sound-stage with such a tall/wide aquarium pretty much destroys the listening experience. I know this from having inadvertently destroyed mine from the start with a tall/ wide wall sideboard that held my audio equipment between the speakers. As soon as I removed that large piece of furniture and placed my components on a maple butchers block screwed to the wooden sub-floor in the same position, there was a massive improvement in sound quality from the liberated sound-stage as well as the decrease in vibration. Suddenly I was listening to fully dimensional music for the first time and not some flat wall of sound.

  4. To answer the question of what do you like to watch while listening to music, I prefer a color organ. I watch a 4 channel incandescent one that flashes certain color lights for different frequencies using the signal from the pre-out. This one was my Dad’s design and is very accurate! Always a unique show for each song. Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUU8oU7i4RI

  5. I like glowing tubes to look at in the dark. Bloody nice to see someone using the JLs. I would prefer to keep signal leads and cable runs short and have the equipment dead centre. I’d pull the subs forward to help get them more ‘time correct’ with the main speakers (less phase correcting to do for the JL optimizer), no better substitute for good placement. I would give the Transparent cables a try on this system too, seeing as they are big on keeping group delay in tact (seeing as the Adagios are quite responsive, fast speakers). These are points I would visit if this were my system. Very nice.

  6. I can’t tell how tall the back of the red chair is, and I don’t know how tall Bizango is, but if the chair reaches the back of the head in the relaxed position then that makes for early reflections. I would try sitting on phone books to add clearance around the head and if that sounds better than you can browse audiogon for audiophile grade phone books.

  7. Great combo. Floating fish and music floating in the air. My version is to sometimes play a dvd of a fish tank or fireplace. Some laugh, but hey it is all good too me.

  8. Bizango1 is tall and the chair back is at shoulder height and this is
    not an accident but by careful choice. No phone books required.
    Reflection is not a problem. The Adagios are not toed in much, are
    forward of the aquarium, the tank is a bow front-not flat, and the
    tweeters have the optional waveguides that focus energy a little more
    forward. I’ve had glare before but not now. The room is just too small to pull the subs forward-the left one would be right in the
    front door entry path and I can’t tolerate anyone kicking my JLs and I
    wouldn’t be able to open drawers on the right. Hey it’s a little beach house. With
    as much as I’ve read about the importance of sub placement I’m pleased
    to report that no matter where they are in the limited space I have,
    they always sound good. In regards to destroying my listening experience with the tank in the middle, that certainly is not the case. Best,
    most satisfying natural sounding listening in almost 45 years in the hobby while
    enjoying a great view. I appreciate the helpful hints and sincerely hope
    everyone enjoys their music as much as I do.

    1. I got the waveguides directly from Robert Lee of AZ. They were free when I called and asked for them.

  9. Fabulous setup. I would bet the mood instilled from the room/house itself more than offsets any minor audio compromises from the tank, cable lengths, etc!

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