Well, we've been here for a few days now, and eaten at:
The Harwood Arms
Hawksmoor Air Street
The Clove Club
Tried to have lunch (sans reservation) at Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor, but just enjoyed the view and had a bar snack or two instead, as they were fully booked Monday lunch.
We also met a friend for breakfast, at Chiltern Firehouse.
Other than the bar area at Duck & Waffle, there was no music playing at all, at any of the places I've listed. Including at Hawksmoor, which was pretty much a madhouse.
Amazingly, people still seemed to be able to enjoy themselves. They were having fun. It might've even been their entertainment for the night, which is one of the reasons stated as to why NYC restaurants find the need to crank it up.
Now, don't for a second think that I don't think there are hundreds, if not thousands of eateries here, where the music is playing, often too loudly; we just have had the good fortune of not eating at any of them.
Significant Eater mentioned to me, during that first night's dinner at Harwood, that it was so cool to be able to hear other peoples' voices, laughter, etc. Either singularly or even as crowd "noise." Yet at the same time, that noise never intruded upon our ability to have a conversation, to say nothing of how it added to our enjoyment of the meal.
So whaddya know?!