With home theater owners demanding high-level performance out of their systems more than ever, those working in small-room acoustics are increasingly finding themselves in the spotlight. Such is the case for Boca Raton’s Acoustic Innovations, a provider of acoustical panels and soundproofing products that are specially designed for the home environment.
“There are so many different aspects of home theater. You can have a home theater that has a 27-inch television and a surround sound system versus a system that costs several hundred-thousand dollars, and they are both considered home theaters,” said Jay Miller, the company’s president and founder. “Acoustics deal with the relationship of the room to the audio. What we end up dealing with is more than just acoustics. Besides the acoustics of the room, we deal with the ergonomics of the room, the interface with the video portion of the room, how the room is treated from the exterior to the interior–how the sound outside is going to influence what’s going on inside, and vice versa.”
Established in 1992, Acoustic Innovations is the result of an audiophile’s need to achieve a certain level of performance, and his partner’s desire to live in an aesthetically pleasing environment. “I could not achieve the level of performance I wanted because of the volume and acoustics of the room that housed my home theater. I went out and bought this acoustic foam and put it on the walls of my beautiful house,” Miller recalled. As he playfully tells it, when Miller’s wife and soon-to-become business partner, Joanne, arrived home and saw his work, it was determined that acoustic foam did not fit with the rest of the home’s interior design scheme.
“That led me down a path that eventually put me into business,” he said. “I thought, ‘If I have this problem, other people do, too.” Jay Miller began collaborating with Carey Schafer (now with Cinema Design Group), an associate working in the professional audio field. The pair developed a line of fiberglass panels that were initially assembled by subcontractors before it was decided that it was easier to control quality if the panels were manufactured in-house.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Acoustic Innovations designs and manufactures acoustic products such as acoustic panels, foams, barrier materials, grille cloth fabrics, isolators and diffusors, in addition to theater seating constructed specifically for the home theater environment. The company also supplies the ancillary elements necessary to achieve a full-fledged move house atmosphere, including popcorn poppers, fiber optic “twinkling star” ceilings, framed posters and themed carpets. Acoustic Innovations has come up with 12 different full-fledged home theater designs and will custom design home theaters when a client requires it. While Acoustic Innovations sells its products through a dealer base, the company remains heavily involved in many of the theaters that utilize its products, providing design and on-site support during installation projects, according to Miller.
“We take everything into account, including the sight lines in the room so everyone has the best seating placement, the lighting design and the aesthetic design of the room,” Miller explained. “We make our acoustic materials beautiful so the client gets a room that looks great and sounds great.”
Despite the growing popularity of implementing home theater systems into multi-use spaces such as a family room, Miller believes that the dedicated home theater will not lose its appeal. “People are looking for personal spaces in their homes,” he said. “The family room–what I call Grand Central Station–is where you have people coming and going, so trying to be entertained by a movie and really get into it is a very difficult thing. You can’t really control the sound or the light at that point. If people are designing a new home or even renovating an existing home, they are looking for a room that they can use as a dedicated space. Many people are starting to do smaller theaters that are the size of a good-sized bedroom. Even single-car garages are getting converted into theaters–wherever there is a place where light and sound can be controlled.”
As prices on home theater equipment continue to drop, acoustics will become more of an issue, Miller predicted. “People are now looking at this as a major alternative to some of their other lifestyle choices, because the prices have come down on the equipment. It’s making it more affordable and giving more people an opportunity to own them,” he said. “It makes acoustical treatment even more important, because now you have more spaces being done that are more challenging, and the challenge for us is to keep up with the trends in the marketplace, and provide better materials in a faster time frame with more choices and styles.”
For more information, contact Acoustic Innovations at 800.983.6233 or 561.995.0090; www.acousticinnovations.com
Carolyn Heinze ([email protected]) works from her office in Vancouver, Canada.