Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 22, 2013 3 comments
Maybe I’m still suffering the aftereffects of installation overstimulation at CEDIA last month, but it seems that everywhere I turn someone’s talking up home automation. Yesterday, for example, Control4 issued a press release touting – and rightly so – the many benefits of integrating home security systems with home automation systems. While that’s definitely awesome, the more interesting buzz that I’ve noticed lately isn’t about Home Automation, where the cost of the hardware, installation, and programming is often discussed in terms of a percentage of the cost of the home it’s installed in. No, the chatter du jour is about home automation “for the rest of us” (to borrow a term from Apple that originally had nothing to do with price, nor does it now). Once again, there’s a push to bring home automation to the masses – or at least to the smaller masses who would be willing to spend a couple hundred bucks for it.

But what kind of home automation can you get for $200 or maybe, if you’re willing to splurge, $300?

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,400

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Installer setup over IP
Options for wide, narrow, and frameless grilles
Six-band parametric EQ
Minus
Installation may be tricky for the uninitiated

THE VERDICT
Extensive tuning capabilities make for true high-end performance at an affordable price.

When it comes to architectural speakers, there are few companies I can think of that do things in a more focused, more insightful, and—most important when it comes to custom installations—more useful way than Triad. The company stands out in another way, too, in that most of Triad’s speakers are built to order in the U.S. (Portland, Oregon, to be specific) and are usually less than two weeks old by the time they arrive at the dealer’s warehouse door.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,150

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Totally invisible installation
Can be covered with paint, wallpaper, or select specialized wall treatments
Good value
250-watt amplifier with low-pass filter
Outstanding build quality
Minus
More involved installation due to drywall finishing
Soft bass compared with traditional subs

THE VERDICT
Not the first choice for sheer sonic impact, but if aesthetics absolutely demand that no subwoofer or grille be visible, the B30G will get the job done.

Stealth Acoustics’ B30G subwoofer system is unlike nearly any other you’ll ever hold in your hands—or install in your walls. While “invisible” speakers are not a new thing, they’re still uncommon or, for most people, totally unheard of. A speaker that’s an integral part of your wall, one that can be painted, covered with wallpaper, or even done up with special wall treatments is such a seductive idea that it’s a wonder it’s not wildly popular as an architectural speaker design.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stillbass anti-shake technology keeps vibration in the box and out of the wall
520-watt amplifier with DSP equalization
Outstanding build quality
Minus
Flangeless grille looks less than elegant
Output drops off fast below 30 Hz

THE VERDICT
A solid, albeit pricey, choice for an in-wall sub.

Sunfire is no stranger to the small-box, high-output subwoofer concept, dating all the way back to 1996 with company founder Bob Carver’s original True Subwoofer—an 11.5-inch cube with one active driver and one passive radiator powered by a (claimed) 2,700-watt internal amplifier.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 08, 2013 0 comments
Shortly before CEDIA 2013 kicked off in Denver last month, I wrote a post about some of the things I was looking forward to seeing at this year’s EXPO. There certainly wasn’t anything earth-shattering or paradigm-shredding introduced within the confines of the Denver Convention Center. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few standout products and super-slick demos hidden amongst the hundreds of crowded EXPO booths. We covered a lot of them.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 29, 2013 0 comments
I have two problems with my Internet connection. First, I have to get Internet access at my home through satellite, and the inherent latency issues are sometimes a problem. As bad as the first – or even worse – is that the AC power coming into my house fluctuates quite a bit. So gadgets and devices with microprocessors tend to get confused and irritable, and I wind up having to reboot or restart said devices often enough that it makes me confused and irritable.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
NextGen’s Bluetooth-IR Extender was already a pretty cool device. It’s a small cone-like device that translates AV system commands from Android-based smartphones and tablets into IR using Bluetooth communication between the Extender and the Android device. After the IR Extender receives a command, it translates it into IR before blasting it out to your components from the base unit or via IR flashers. Neat idea, right?
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
The folks at DoorBot call DoorBot “the doorbell for smartphones” or, in a more wordy way, “DoorBot is a Wi-Fi enabled, video doorbell that allows you to see and talk with visitors through your smartphone from anywhere in the world.”
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Although their demos and announcements at CEDIA were aimed at dealers and installers rather than to consumers directly, Energy Squad’s “LED Diet” program is designed to assist designers and salespeople with introducing a variety of LED lighting products. Energy Squad is a “full service national distributor of environmentally-friendly residential and commercial electronics and technologies” that focuses on providing LED lighting, energy storage, and automation products.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Scandinavian speaker maker Opalum showed off the company’s chameleon-like BREEZE.1010 digitally amplified on-wall speakers. The design of the new speakers is very similar to Opalum’s FLOW.1010; but, in a addition to the incorporation of a slightly less costly set of 10 two-inch drivers aligned in two parallel columns along the front of the speaker baffle, the BREEZE.1010 uses high-density felt faceplate panels that can be quickly interchanged (Opalum says in less than one minute) without tools.

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