If the custom installation industry were a town, Dave Silkin, president of Plainview, N.Y.-based DSG Metro, would be its mayor. Warm to all who enter his showroom, he is quick to entertain with custom installation stories that include a lot of first names of the people whose last names are stamped on your speakers and rack-mount gear. He is also ready to assist any dealer that needs help closing the deal, which was the premise behind his latest showroom upgrade.
The space, located in a Long Island industrial park, does not get much foot traffic, but integrators know it well, especially since it is only a few doors down from its sister company, DSG Distributors. It started out primarily as a way to demo MSE Audio’s dARTS speaker system, which it still does, but has grown into much more.
“We started selling dARTS in 2014,” says Silkin. “At that time, Ken Hecht and MSE Audio were very generous in taking a leap of faith with us. We painted the walls black, got an inexpensive projector from a friend of ours — as we weren’t selling projectors at that time — and a beautiful acoustically transparent woven screen from Severtson Screens. Ken came out to tune the space, and we managed to make it sound really good.”
A few years later, a Rayva system was added to the space, but that was not a full makeover. That came earlier this year.
Meet the New Space
After a short hallway, the first room encountered at DSG Metro serves many purposes, with a large video wall in the back and sample speakers from Totem and Phase Technology placed along the walls. “Phase Technology has been our go-to brand since we started,” says Silkin. “It was the brand that we built DSG Distributors around. Totem is a new line for us, which we picked up at CEDIA Expo. I am completely in awe over them because they can make sleek, beautiful, small speakers sound very large.”
That room also holds the original dARTS system that used to support the home theater area. “dARTS was built with the purpose of taking the room out of the equation,” Silkin adds. “We know it shouldn’t sound that good in a room like ours — a wide-open space — but it sounds great. That’s going to help people who think they can’t make something sound good in the space they have, so they don’t make the investment.
“That’s our next step with dARTS — to bring people in who say, ‘I’ve got a 14-foot window in the room with cathedral ceilings and wood floors. I’m just going to throw a few speaker pairs in there because it’s going to bounce all over the place anyway.’ With dARTS, we can compensate for all that and can make those rooms sound amazing.”
Near the back of the room is a door that leads to the home theater, along with two racks of Acurus and Aragon amplifiers and processors, among other gear, that power and feed the private cinema.
A walk inside the new home theater reveals a Digital Projection projector that works with the original Severtson Screen. The theater seats and wall treatments are supplied by AcousticSmart, and the sound has been upgraded to Grimani Systems.
“I went to the Dolby Mastering Suite in Brooklyn, and Anthony Grimani was there doing the calibration and putting speakers up,” says Silkin. “I’ve been very fortunate to be exposed to a lot of great sound systems, but one thing I always thought was missing was something that had the power of live sound — all the clarity and separation you would expect. When I heard Anthony’s work, I thought, ‘It’s got everything.’
“Anthony’s ceiling speakers are special because they have his waveguide, which just makes everything in the room sound like one consistent speaker — that the sound is moving around and doesn’t sound like it’s going from one speaker to the next.”
The room features a starry ceiling, which Silkin is a big fan of, so when the speaker setup clashed with ceiling layout, he found a solution that would make the room sound as good as it looked. “The speakers were 4 inches off the ceiling, and to put a starry ceiling up would interfere with the speaker placement,” he says. “At CEDIA Expo this year, we hooked up with a new vendor and we figured out a way to do a stretch-wall starry ceiling. AcousticSmart built the frame around the whole ceiling and acoustic package and pulled the stretch wall with the lighting fibers pushed through it. The one in my theater is a prototype, but we’ve sold a couple of those, and that’s something that we’re going to be doing going forward because we can use better acoustics and better speakers in the ceiling, as well as on the back walls, and still have the starry ceiling working.”
Silkin sees DSG Metro as more than a sales rep firm, with the company serving the regional custom installation industry as well as also area builders, architects, and designers. “The first reason I opened the showroom is because I wanted a place for my dealers to be able to grow their business without having to make an investment in building their own demo areas,” he says.
“We want to deliver a great job and have the end result be a very happy customer, and that’s what we’ve been able to do,” he continues. “There are dealers who will send their clients to me on Saturday or Sunday, and I will do the sale because I know those guys are busy. Plus, it makes the end users feel like they’re part of something special. And when we do a full theater and are involved in the design, when we come up with a rendering of what the theater will look like we put it up on our video wall so it’s almost in full scale!”
If a builder or an architect is looking for a dealer, DSG Metro makes the introductions. The same holds true for dealers who find themselves outside of their expertise on a project and need a specialty dealer to assist.
“It’s like Angie’s List for custom installers,” concludes Silkin. “We’ve developed this culture within our little community where we’re all helping each other — we’ve got dealers helping dealers and working on projects together. It’s really cool.”
For more information about DSG Metro, visit www.dsgmetro.com.