Re: Golden ears
There's no easy answer to that one.
I have a completely seperate aging Arcam / KEF Coda HiFi system to my Cambridge Audio / KEF 2005 surround system for a variety of reasons. The most important being that the only surround system I have heard in demo that sounded as good as the seperate HiFi setup when playing Vinyl or CD cost considerably north of 6 grand.....(!) I can replace 'em both with better kit for less than that.
Of course I am told that having idle speakers in the same room as those doing the work is a terrible thing, but take 'em all out and I can't hear the difference, which is what's important. It's like the old speaker cable debate. I can hear the difference between "bog" 530 strand copper and my old QED Qudos stuff, but I cannot hear any difference between that and something costing 5 or 6 times as much per metre.
So at the end of the day it's all about whether you can hear a difference. In that case I suspect that the only important factor in this case is the acreage of glass on the front acting as an unwanted reflector. However, outside of a demo room's careful acoustic construction, you'd be pushed to spot it IMHO, as that cabinet, nice wood floor or badly placed armchair in your living room will be far more of an issue. I doubt whether it's switched on or not would make an audible difference, despite what the types who dwell on the number of carats in the gold plating of their digital interconnects may tell you.