CUSTOM INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

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Kim Wilson Posted: May 01, 2009 1 comments
Sonance has long held the lead position in the architectural, in-wall and in-ceiling speaker marketplace. Now, the company that invented—and popularized—this category has announced the availability of their latest innovative variation—the Invisible Speaker Series. The flat-panel driver technology developed by Sonance is featured in three new models, two of which utilize improved planar technology. The Sonance Invisible Series speakers are entirely flat and vanish into the room design, delivering ambient music that emanates from the walls and ceilings.
Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 13, 2009 0 comments

You can't have an audio system without speakers, however, it's the speakers that cause the most problems, especially with respect to interior design. Known for their wide selection of residential ceiling fans, Hunter has teamed up with Soundolier Integrated Wireless Technologies to create the Concert Breeze, a combination ceiling fan and powered audio system.

Kim Wilson Posted: Dec 03, 2010 1 comments

Ever wish you could afford a Kaleidescape system? Well, now it's more affordable than ever before to bring their intuitive and comprehensive products into you living room with the introduction of Cinema One, a stand-alone DVD Movie Server, which is their first offering to a broader audience and features kid-friendly operation.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jun 09, 2009 0 comments

If ordinary surround processors don't get your juices flowing, then the Krell S-1200 Surround Sound Preamp/Processor is sure to get you fired up. Known for their substantial industrial designs and superb sound and video performance, Krell's new state-of-the-art processor is designed for reference level Home Theaters, employing the company's finest audio and video engineering plus the latest in connectivity technology.

Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 02, 2009 0 comments

The LG LH50 LCD series and the PS80 plasma series will soon provide streaming of the popular movies-on-demand service, Vudu. These new Internet-connected TVs employ "NetCast Entertainment Access", allowing users to browse, search, and choose a variety of HD and HDX films right from their TVs without an additional Vudu set-top box.

Mark Elson Posted: Jun 03, 2010 0 comments
One of the myths about lighting control systems is that you can only install them if you’re building a new house, where the walls aren’t built yet, or if you’re performing a major remodel, where all of the walls are torn down. This myth perpetuates on the assumption that you need to run lots of wire while the framing is exposed. It’s true that once the drywall is up, pulling wire becomes prohibitively expensive because of the labor required. But I’m here to bust the myth that you can’t have fun with your lighting in a finished home. In the case of lighting dimming control, you can enjoy many of the features you’d find in a whole-house wired system, without the wire and the accompanying labor expense.
Steve Faber Posted: Nov 07, 2007 0 comments
Everyone's home features lighting control to some extent. Maybe you've taken a step up and can control the level of a light or two with dimmers, but that's about as far as many people get.
Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 03, 2009 0 comments

Apple's iPhone and iTouch have certainly been game changers when it comes to touch screen control. Logitech has updated their Squeezebox WiFi music player with a color touch screen and called it the Squeezebox Touch. Of course, there is much more to this new model than just a fancy screen.

Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 03, 2008 1 comments

Designer-oriented homeowners have steadily been moving away from large behemoth loudspeakers, opting for hidden solutions. However, for those enthusiasts that still like to show off their electronics, even loudspeakers are getting more stylish. With loudspeakers like MartinLogan's Feature, you can put back the WOW in your AV presentation. The Feature is a fully powered, high-resolution, electrostatic loudspeaker designed for use either on or off-wall for center, front, or surround channel applications. Pictured here it is being used as a center speaker with MartinLogan's breathtaking Purity floor standing electrostatic speakers that make their own statement.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 07, 2011 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $17,000 as tested At A Glance: Control one to 200 devices • No new wires for easy retrofits • Saves electricity and lengthens bulb life

Unless you’re one of the enlightened, you probably use the same simple lighting-control system that most everyone else in the electrified world uses—your finger. Sometimes it’s the side of your hand, or when your hands are full, a nudge with your elbow or shoulder. While the electrical hardware is reliable, this type of system is prone to user error (forgetfulness), doesn’t react quickly to changing circumstances (daytime/nighttime), and is often just damned inconvenient (you’re here, but the switch is over there). On top of all that, gangs of three, four, or more switches on the wall, no matter how fancy the wall plate, are unsightly and not especially intuitive to use when it comes to flipping the right switch to turn on the right light—especially in the dark.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 04, 2012 3 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $10,000 (23 shade system) At A Glance: Up to three-year battery life • Extremely quiet operation • Simple installation

Of all the “this is the coolest damn thing I’ve ever seen” things a home theater/wholehome automation system can do, the one that is consistently the most mesmerizing, most envied, coolest “coolest damn thing” is the control of motorized window treatments. (Although it sounds like something a doctor would prescribe for sick building syndrome, window treatments is the term people in the know use for what you and I would call curtains, blinds, and shades.) If you’ve never experienced motorized shades (or drapes or blinds)—and I mean experienced in the sense that you’ve seen them in action in someone’s home and not in a too-clean-to-be-believable picture-perfect designer’s showroom or a slickly edited online video—it’s difficult to grasp the enchanted feeling and quasi-mystical pleasure that even the least gadget-savvy person can get from being in a room in which some hidden electronic sorcery conjures the shades to obediently open and close (or stop anywhere in between) on command or makes the curtains part like the Red Sea as if Moses were holding a remote control in his hand instead of a staff. Even the reticent Wizard of Oz, himself, would rush out from his hiding place behind the curtain to watch it open and close by remote control if it were motorized.

Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 10, 2009 1 comments

Delivering up to 14TB of centralized network storage, Envive's TheaterStation Multi-zone Digital Media Management System keeps all your media in one convenient location. A single TheaterStation Client can connect with a variety of 4TB, 6TB, 10TB and 14TB storage units that fit in standard rack mounts. As your video and audio library expands, so will your Envive system. Users can easily transfer, store and sort music and movies, whether they are created, purchased on hard media or downloaded from the Internet. The complete TheaterStation product line is ideal for either single-zone or multi-zone installations.

Kim Wilson Posted: Aug 18, 2009 1 comments

In celebration of 60 years developing some of the highest quality sound reproduction products in the world, McIntosh releases the MXA60 Executive System, the company's first standalone integrated audio system.

Debbie Stampfli Posted: Mar 23, 2009 1 comments

Simplicity and home theater equipment don’t often seem to go together. With the constant influx of new products and upgrades, it’s hard to maintain a user-friendly environment. After all, how can you simplify your surroundings and stay ahead of the technology game at the same time? Media servers can help solve this problem. They bring all of your movies, music, and photos to a central location and then let you access it from all around your home. Media servers also provide the integration you need so you’ll be able to just sit down and enjoy your movies and music. What a concept.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Nov 23, 2009 1 comments
So Many Rooms, So Few Wires

My home began as a tiny two-room house on a hilltop in the middle of nowhere back in the late 1800s. A century later, I’m sitting in a cubbyhole office in the original upstairs section. Old and new sections butt up against one another. Some of the home’s old elements have been remade to look new, while its new parts have a patina of old. Straight lines and level floors are few and far between. With two totally separate (in both location and age) upstairs areas, it almost qualifies as a human Habitrail. As they say in the real estate business, it has character.

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