What is the Difference Between Store-bought and Custom Audio?

What is the Difference Between Store-bought and Custom Audio?

Discover the Benefits of Custom Home Technology   When you go online to buy an outfit, sometimes you find that millions of other people have the same shirt, dress, or suit. Who want to show up at a party and find out someone else there is wearing the same thing as you? In those situations, sometimes it’s better to get a custom-made outfit. If someone makes the dress or suit for you, then it will be a one-of-a-kind garment that shows off your personality and style.   Whole house audio can do the same thing when you work with a local integrator. Your audio system will be installed according to your preferences and based on the house you live in. It won’t look like anyone else’s home in Noblesville, Indiana because it will be made for you. Here are some ways that custom audio solutions are different from out-of-the-box music systems.   SEE ALSO: Wired vs. Wireless Speakers – What is Best for My Home?   Hide Everything   Buy a basic speaker from a store, take it home and then you have to figure out where it goes. First, you locate an outlet to plug in the speaker but if you don’t have a table or a shelf you have to re-arrange your furniture. Then there are those ugly wires. You saw an ad online for this cool, hip speaker but it doesn’t look the same in your bedroom. When it comes time to have friends over for a party, you discover you can’t play the same song in every room at the same time to provide the...
Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp Reviewed

Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp Reviewed

If you have your own AV receiver or multichannel processor at home, you don’t need me to tell you how much a good surround sound system can enhance and enrich the movie-watching experience. You probably also don’t need me to tell you that controlling these beasts isn’t always entirely intuitive. Before I added smart control to my home, my poor wife could barely figure out how to play a DVD without my help, due to the pile of remote controls required to power things up and switch inputs. Of course, control systems like Control4, URC Total Control, and Savant make that sort of remote control juggling a thing of the past. But still, getting your surround system and your control system to play nicely together isn’t always the easiest of tasks. So most of the time, home technology specialists have to resort to tricks like placing a little IR transmitter on the face of the gear itself. But every time my dad’s house cleaner visits, I’m reminded of the fact that those little IR transmitters are way too easy to knock loose. And when they’re not positioned perfectly, the system stops working. I can’t tell you how many 8pm calls I’ve received from my old man that begin not with a, “hello,” or, “how are you?” but rather an exasperated, “My sound isn’t working!” One of the many things I love about Integra’s new DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp is that it puts an end to that sort of thing. The DHC-60.5—which I just reviewed for Home Theater Review—is, without question, one of the easiest devices I’ve ever integrated into my Control4 system,...
Control4 Makes Monitoring Your Home Easier Than Ever with New Security Camera Integration Capabilities

Control4 Makes Monitoring Your Home Easier Than Ever with New Security Camera Integration Capabilities

I can tell you two things about security camera integration with Control4 from personal experience. Thing the first: it’s absolutely indispensible. I’m a work-at-home dad to a rescued pibble, and it’s a toss-up as to which of us gets worse separation anxiety when I’m away from home. Having my security cameras tied into my Control4 system eases that anxiety (for me, at least) by letting me check on him frequently. And also, you know, to make sure the house isn’t burning down. Thing the second: getting my security camera integrated with my Control4 system wasn’t the easiest of tasks. It required third-party drivers and a good bit of network tinkering. And even though it’s awesome that I can whip out my Control4 MyHome app and check on Bruno at the press of a button (and maybe turn on his bedside lamp if it’s getting dark), I don’t have access to most of the camera’s capabilities via the Control4 interface. I can look at the image streaming from the camera, and that’s about it. Mind you, that’s a pretty bit “it,” but still. I’m greedy. I want more control capabilities. So I’m pretty jazzed to hear that Control4 is feeding my greed with a new announcement made today at the Integrated Systems Europe tradeshow in Amsterdam. The company has released a newly published camera proxy API that allows surveillance camera manufacturers like Channel Vision, Lilin, Planet, QNAP, and Snap AV to develop Control4-certified SDDP drivers for their products. And I know I probably just threw a couple of strange acronyms at some of you, so let’s talk about what that means. It means that five...

Bowers & Wilkins Debuts Two New Wireless Music Systems

Bowers & Wilkins just announced a pair of wireless audio systems that complement its award-winning Zeppelin Air dock. Unlike the Zeppelin, the A7 and A5 Wireless Music Systems eschew the physical iOS dock (which removes all of the brouhaha surrounding Apple’s recent docking port switcharoo as an issue), in favor of pure AirPlay connectivity. In stark contrast to the curvilinear aesthetics of the Zeppelin, the A5 and A7 also borrow heavily from the design of the company’s MM-1 desktop speakers, bringing their styling together into a single unified chassis that positively drips with luxurious simplicity. Both the A5 and A7 also feature the same drivers as the MM-1—glass fiber diaphragms designed with minimal resonance and improved off-axis mid- and high-frequency performance in mind. Both systems also include a number of design innovations from B&W’s beloved loudspeaker lines, including the same high frequency distortion Anti-Resonance Plug technology as is found in its high-end PM1, as well as Tapering Tubes borrowed from the Nautilus line to control rear reflections from the tweeters. Both systems also employ Bowers & Wilkins’ Flowport technology to reduce air turbulence and improve bass clarity, as well as proprietary digital signal processing to tailor the sound for any room at any volume. Their integrated audiophile caliber DACs also upsample all incoming audio to 96kHz/24-bit. Inside the glass re-enforced ABS enclosures, you’ll also find a power supply designed to deliver ultra-clean power, so the powerful little Class D amps operate to their full potential. At first glance, the difference between the two models appears to be one of size alone. The extra volume of the A7, though, gave...