If you’ve ever built your dream home or are in the midst of a project now, you’ve likely been in the crosshairs of an, uh, conversation or two. Your designer says “Not Here!” Your significant other says “Me, or your speakers!” or the dreaded “I’m not putting a big-screen THERE!”
After some agonizing decision making, it’s clear that a compromise may be in order. Chill out! You may not have to sacrifice nearly as much as you think, and neither will they. Happy days are here again.
Like any man who hasn’t turned in his man card though, you’d gladly live with big ‘ole speakers and a gear stack worthy of a Maroon 5 tour, if that’s what it took to getcha some hair blowin’ audio and a screen that made your local Cineplex roll over and play dead.
This design conflict is played out in living rooms, design offices, and architecture firms every day. We’ve had to step in and smooth things over more than once . Fortunately, there are now some great solutions to the aesthetics vs performance debate.
You can have all the home entertainment you’ve ever dreamed of and more, but avoid those arguments about TVs, speakers, and video screens intruding on your meticulously designed space. Everything will be discretely hidden, camouflaged, or at least, discretely obfuscated.
The Best of Both Worlds
It’s the best of both worlds, terrific performance, while maintaining the décor you just dropped big bucks on. As TV profiles approach credit card thickness, speaker manufacturers have tripped over themselves to deliver speakers that give the kind of performance people expect, while not requiring a box more appropriate for a Sub Zero.
The nee-plus-ultra speakers still come in tower form. These days however, choosing something small doesn’t mean sacrificing an eminently satisfying music or theater experience. Recent developments make possible compact or even totally invisible speakers that spread music everywhere, but leave guests vainly looking for where the heck it’s coming from.
When it comes to discrete audio, there are several options, including completely invisible speakers that are installed as part of the wall, more conventional in-wall and in-ceiling units with low-profile exposed grills, and any number of on-wall and micro designs that can be mounted next to TVs or hidden on bookshelves.
Developments in Unobtrusiveness (?!?)
One of the latest developments are “small aperture” speakers that hide most of the speaker in the wall or ceiling, and vent the sound through a small opening that blends perfectly with the small, décorator-style light trims. The upside is that they sound WOW!! The downside? Their cost is on par with some of the aforementioned designer lighting.
Katy, Bar the Door
A relatively new product category that’s made its way on the scene is the speaker bar, containing all three front speakers required for surround sound in one compact unit. Speaker bars attach to the bottom of your TV. They deliver much more satisfying sound than the anemic, little drivers found in modern TVs. Face it, there’s only so much room for decent sound in a TV that’s less than 1“ deep.
Improved though it may be, speaker bars share the same limitation with other compact speakers; no bass. They sound good in the upper registers, but require a subwoofer, without which they’ll sound as thin as the TV looks. Fortunately, technology has that covered, too.
Gone are the days when real bass meant a cabinet big enough to park your Tesla in, even if it is only a Model 3. Now, compact subwoofers create tummy jiggling bass from a barely-believable little box. These little wonders are 12” or less per side. Such a small box has myriad placement options never available before.
Sometimes though, even a micro-sized box is just not in the cards (or your room). That’s why enterprising speaker designers have come up with subwoofers that fire through floor vents, fit inside walls, and under furniture. In short, you can have the satisfaction and realism of good bass, no matter your space constraints.
Do you have some very particular requirements?
We even work with speaker manufacturers that will custom engineer and build speakers to fit in nearly any space you can find. The advantage here is spine tingling performance in some unbelievable spaces you’d never think to put a speaker. Low bass is mostly non-directional, so we can get pretty creative with placement. They downside of these systems? You guessed it; custom design and construction is not for the faint of budget. That saying “Happy wife, happy life.” didn’t just spring up from nowhere though.
So Small, So Cool
It’s not just speakers, other audio components have succumbed to miniaturization trends as well. Digital amplifiers are smaller and run much cooler than their old analog counterparts, meaning fewer ventilation and space concerns. You can run all your home’s speakers with some unbelievably clean and dynamic power from just a few rack spaces. If you don’t have a lot of space for a full height equipment rack these are a real prayer-answerer.
Modern technology means that you can have that great sound you want anywhere in your home whether surround sound for the great room or music throughout. Now, it’s a treat for the ears, not a sore for the eyes.
Stay tuned, soon we’ll reveal how you also enjoy life sized video when you want it, but never see it when you don’t. No, it’s not all about roll down video screens, either.
Contact Us Now;Drop us a line to have us check things out for you. We will be happy to discuss your best options so you can enjoy sound quality rivaling the best commercial theaters or concert venues, but never know it’s there when it off.
Remember, our passion is making life easier and more fun for you! There are so many ways to do that now, it can get a little confusing. We’ll help you sort it all out. We love this stuff!
Drop us a line and let’s chat.
Jason and the Automated Living Team
PO Box 464
Automated Living LLC
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Automated Living is one the Kentuckiana area’s leading providers of home automation, home networking, home theater and security systems, as well as marine audio/video systems. We are also a leading provider pro audio/video, networking, digital signage and security systems for businesses. And we help both homes and businesses save energy through custom solar panel installations.