Elite HTS F9 Custom Recliner Reviewed

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Could it be argued that audiophiles don’t spend enough time talking about seating? It absolutely could, since comfort can actually have a measurable impact on your perception of sound. In fact, I would argue that a good seat is almost certainly more important for your listening enjoyment than would be upgraded speaker cables or power cords.

Elite HTS, a Western Canadian manufacturer of fine, hand-crafted furniture, is a well-known entity in the world of high-end home theater. Their bespoke seating solutions can be had in all sorts of configurations, from loveseats to straight or curved rows of connected recliners, but today we’ll be focusing on the basics: a single motorized recliner. 

The Elite HTS F9 (the letter denotes the style of the arm; the number represents the style of the back) is a $6,990 recliner (depending on finishes and customizations, which increases the price to upwards of $7,100) that’s representative of the company’s offerings. Elite HTS has so many different shapes, sizes, and configurations that it can be a little bit overwhelming when you consider your options. Your local dealer will be able help get your seating solutions perfectly dialed into your specific needs. 

Elite HTS F9 Recliner Reviewed by Jerry Del Colliano
Note the use of multiple Elite HTS J9 recliners in a home theater array. Installation by Michelle Barone, of Madison Hudson Design.

What Makes the Elite HTS F9 Recliner Special?

  • In my 30 years plus working in the specialty consumer electronics industry, I am not sure that I’ve even come close to the quality of construction that you will find in the Elite HTS home theater seating solutions. 
  • The comfort of the Elite HTS Single is simply excellent. It strikes that perfect Goldilocks balance: not so soft that you’ll fall asleep while listening, but not so firm that you’ll be squirming. It feels in many respects like Tempur-Pedic’s TEMPUR-Cloud mattresses.
  • Elite HTS offers a somewhat unique fabric called Silk Leather as one of its options. I was told by Dennis Burger, who also has an Elite HTS seating solution at his home in the South, that his Silk Leather recliner has held up beautifully for going on 20 years now. From my experience, I believe him.  My Desert Clay-colored Silk Leather looks brand new after more than three years of heavy use in my downstairs media room. 
  • The commercial-grade wood frame of the Elite HTS Single is yet another statement about home theater sofa quality. These seating solutions are designed to last forever and you can tell that the second your butt cheeks hit an Elite HTS Single seat. 
  • The electric reclining system is basically silent, and smooth like Barry White. You can feel your stressed-out pressure points dissolve away as you adjust the angle of the seating. 
  • Elite HTS backs up the durability of their seating solutions with a 20-year warranty. Who else in the industry offers such term on their protection? Bryston perhaps? Not many others offer this kind of protection.
  • Like the inside of a Bentley or a Rolls Royce, you can customize the wood, arm rests and other features of an Elite HTS seating solution. These guys like a challenge, and as long as you have the budget, they are ready to get crazy with you. 
  • Elite HTS is very interior designer friendly. They will work directly with your design people if you are involved in a project with that kind of scope and budget. 

Why Should You Care About Elite HTS Seating Solutions?

Let me be clear when I say that an Elite HTS seating solution would likely only be appropriate for a pretty high-end audiophile system. The idea is to bring incredible build quality, luxury materials, and high-end mechanical technology to the spot in the room where you, the listener, interact with your system at a tactile level. This isn’t likely going to be for any kind of starter solution, but for those looking for creative new ways to get enjoyment from their AV experience.

Too many traditional audiophile rooms are both ugly and messy in terms of interior design. Historically, the hobby has been about some old guy listening to music all by himself with cables strewn all over and gear haphazardly parked on the floor. This trend must die and soon. By no means do you have to invest the coin that Elite HTS asks for an upgraded or best home theater seating solution , you should consider how to make your music room into a place where you might invite guests for drinks and conversation more than a solo man-cave. 

Elite HTS F9 Recliner Reviewed by Jerry Del Colliano
An Elite HTS seating configuration in “peppercorn” colored leather. The installation was by Allfine Automation.

What Elements Might You Not Like About an Elite HTS Seating System?

  • Shipping costs are brutal on Elite HTS recliner, as you might expect due to the cost of fuel and the nature of the product. 
  • Like anything custom, it takes time to build and deliver a bespoke seating solution like this. It’s not like bopping over to Ashley HomeStore to pick up a floor display model. Your seat is made for you, and as such you’re going to be waiting a few weeks for delivery.

Who Are the Competition For An Elite Seating Solution?

This is a question with unlimited possibilities as there are simply countless other ways that you can go with seating. 

An Eames chair with ottoman from say Design Within Reach ($639) is an iconic solution that is mid-century-tastic and very comfortable. Some audiophiles might suggest that there is more room for sound to circulate around said chair, but the Elite HTS Single is fine for that concept too.

The number of home theater seating companies is numerous. Nearly every one of them makes less expensive offerings than Elite HTS, but many of them are nice. Few offer the same unique materials and design options, though. 

Elite HTS F9 Recliner Reviewed
Yet another creative installation using Elite HTS seating. Installation was designed by Design for the PPL.

One source that I have used in the past for good furniture that supports my audio and video habit is from Minnesota-based, Room and Board. They have lovely showrooms in most big U.S. cities. They offer design services as well as lots of customizations. I own one of their sofas in my living room and I can tell you that it can’t hold a candle to the Elite HTS system downstairs. With that said, the upstairs sofa was a COVID buy that didn’t include a test drive. The other sofas that I used to fall asleep in were from Room and Board. Their softas are priced in the mid-to-higher end of the spectrum (maybe $3,000 and up) versus Elite HTS, which is priced much higher and for good reason. 

Is an Elite HTS Seating Solution a Good Value?

Years and years ago, I bought a $7,400 chair (and I still have it) from a French interior designer named Christian Liagre. I went to the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and dropped coin like a player and I was a fool. Is the chair cool? Yes. Was it worth the money? Not a chance. Nor was the chair worth anything the day after I bought it. I have no interest in getting rid of my aging $7,400 chair, but I sure learned my lesson. Chairs aren’t AAPL shares or Warhols. You can’t physically sit on Apple stock and you shouldn’t sit on your Warhols either, but I digress. 

Could an Elite HTS have value when you are done with it? Possibly, but I might suggest that you may never be done with your Elite HTS seating. It is that luxurious. It is that comfortable. And then shipping it is costly. I assume that there will be some level of wear at some point despite the fact that I can’t see any wear a few years into ownership.

Simply stated: if you pop for Elite HTS seating products, you are going to keep them for a long, long while, and by the time that you go to sell them, they won’t owe you a penny at the end. 

Final Thoughts on the Elite HTS Single Seating Solution…

The audiophile journey is all about finding the Nth degree of performance from your system. That’s where the buzz comes from in the hobby. How many times have you upgraded an amp or preamp only to park your rump in the same uncomfortable chair? Interesting question, isn’t it?

Perhaps it is time to look at what you can do to increase your enjoyment of your audio system while also finding ways to make your audiophile room more accessible to other people so that it is more a part of the entertainment flow of your abode? If you agree that such a change is in order, you simply can’t go wrong with Elite HTS products in terms of technology, build quality, materials, comfort, and customer service. They get everything right. 

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