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...

Anywhere Access from Control4 Makes Remote Home Control Simple

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re so overwhelmed with responsibilities, that you start to forget even the most basic parts of your daily routine? There’s nothing worse than accidentally leaving the lights on, leaving the air conditioning on full-blast, or forgetting to arm the security system. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but those electric bills will add up. Thanks to the new Anywhere Access Controls from Control4, you can easily power down your home, reset your thermostat, or arm your security system from anywhere that has a 3G/4G or Internet connection. The entire Control4 system is controlled by your smartphone or tablet. By simply downloading the Control4 MyHome™ app or by using a web browser, you can control your entire home with a few finger swipes. Beats running all around the house to hit all the “off” switches, right? The opportunities to better manage and secure your home are endless with the Control4 Anywhere Access system. Imagine how much extra time (and how much less stress) you’d have if you could do all of the following everyday tasks from your smartphone? Lock or unlock doors View live security camera footage Adjust the temperature of your home Close or open garage doors Turn ANY electronic device on or off Not to mention, you can get custom mobile alerts when any of those things happen. It’s the easiest, more reliable way to ensure your home is safe and under control at all times. Longtime Control4 user, Joe Hageman, describes it best: “With Anywhere Access, I can get that same level of home...

Home Automation with Yale’s High-Tech, Wireless Interior Lever Locks

Home automation is a tough concept to get if you’ve never lived with it. Lighting control, multi-room audio, systems integration… it all sounds a little out there, and a bit complicated, until you’ve had the opportunity to actually experience it for yourself. But locks? People understand locks. And anyone who has ever fumbled with his or her keys in the dark with a bagful of groceries in one hand and a toddler hanging off of one hip can appreciate the value of a safe, secure door lock that allows for convenient, keyless entry and individualized access codes. Yale has dominated the automated door lock market for the past few years with its Real Living series of wireless deadbolts, which not only facilitate keyless entry, but serve as the perfect doorway into more advanced home automation. Yale Real Living locks come in a couple of wireless varieties, and integrate perfectly with home automation systems from Control4, Honeywell, GoControl, Vera Z-Wave, and others, allowing you to initiate personalized lighting scenes when you come home at different times of the day, allow friends, family, or service personal individualized access to the home on different days, or different times of the day, or even remotely unlock the front door with your smart phone if you need a neighbor to pop in and check on your home in the event of an emergency. This past week, Yale introduced a new version of its Real Living Locks designed specifically for interior door use. These beautiful lever locks bring all of the technology of the company’s exterior deadbolts—including a choice of ZigBee or Z-Wave wireless connectivity...

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...