Products That Easily Settle the Performance vs. Aesthetics Debate

8/27/2014 4:37:00 PM
Even as an owner of my own business, I still have a boss. Yes, I have to answer to my clients, but my real boss is my wife.

I had installed a 4-foot-tall subwoofer in my living room because I loved it and it produced amazing sound. Then Sunfire asked me to test a tiny cube, which was less than a foot square in size. I wasn’t expecting much, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. The incredible response I got from that little box was incredible and was comparable to what I heard with the piece of furniture I had before. It got me thinking about all of the other great solutions I have found to help alleviate the ever-present aesthetics vs. performance conflict that we all encounter, especially when working with decorators and architects.

Here are a few of my favorite solutions. Some of these are obvious for the veterans, but I realize that a lot of businesses just getting started, and I want to help out as many people as I can.
 
 
 Sonance Landscape Series

1. Architectural Loudspeakers. Probably the biggest success we have had in the past few years have been invisible speakers from the likes of Sonance and Stealth Acoustics. While they require significantly more work to install and are more expensive than standard in-wall speakers, decorators love them. I have installed a couple in my home and every time I show them to a business partner, they are wowed and can’t wait to use them on their next design project.
 
 
 HDMI Hall Research Receivers
 
2. HDMI and Audio Over Cat-6. Without these, it is so much harder to hide equipment in remote closets or centralized racks. With a range of more than 300 feet, these solve so many problems and allow the room to have an amazing and clean look.
 
3. Landscape Speakers. For anyone doing outdoor work, the latest trend has been speakers that look like everything from landscape lighting (from Sonance and many others) to those that look and act as planters (from Madison Fielding and others).
 
4. Mirror TVs and TV Art. Hiding a TV in plain sight is something clients and decorators crave. They want to be able to watch TV in the main living room, but don’t want a big black rectangle on the wall all the time. Pairing a Seura Mirror TV with invisible speakers is an amazing combination. Or using Vutec Artscreens or similar to hide a TV behind a painting is another great option.
 
5. Eliminate Wall Acne. While we’ve all become adept at eliminating the unsightly collection of wall-mounted lighting dimmers and audio controllers (‘wall acne’) with simple and elegant touchpanels and multifunction keypads, companies like Wall Smart and iPort have taken it a step further and made everything flush with the wall, giving an even sleeker look.

These are just a handful of my favorites that I have been using more and more of lately as we work with more designers and architects. How about you? What are your favorites products to give the clients the sleekest look and feel to their space while not compromising on performance?
 
+Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation, Powered by Fregosa Design, in New York City.
 

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