A multicentre study in five postanaesthesia care units (PACUs) was performed to investigate patient and staff opinion of a specially designed music environment (DME), related to geographical location. Patients (325) and staff (91) described their opinion by means of a questionnaire-anonymously in the case of staff. Patients were not asked beforehand for permission to play music. Amongst patients 267 (83%) found the sound environment with DME pleasant or very pleasant, 26 (6%) found it unpleasant, whereas 32 (11%) answered "no opinion". The opinion of the patients did not differ significantly with geographical location. A strong correlation (P<0.05) between a positive attitude towards DME and degree of relaxation and satisfaction with stay was found. The staff had an equally positive attitude towards the DME; but theirs varied significantly with location. The opinion of the staff was more similar concerning the beneficial effect on working conditions and distress, but varied still significantly. The opinion of the staff had no demonstrable impact on that of the patients.