Conventional wisdom says that the harder something is to use, the less likely people are to use it. For NHL Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull, this meant that the troublesome system in his Dallas-area home ended up unused, eventually causing the family to revert to using their separate cable boxes in each room for TV.
When they moved to the St. Louis area, Hull wanted a real home control system that would always work and be easy to use, so he had his trusted Dallas integration firm, Eco High Fidelity, collaborate with the local builder, designer and integrator to create an audio/video paradise with powerful ELAN g! control.
“The Hulls love music,” said Tommy Kissell, owner of Eco High Fidelity, “and they like to play it loud. Their Dallas home electronics started with the best intentions, but it had too many recurring issues to be any fun to use. Now with the new ELAN g! System installed, the Missouri home is a breeze to use and it pumps out serious volume at high fidelity in every room. The floor-standing speakers on the first floor and in-ceiling speakers throughout the rest of the home really make this an audio-centric system that delivers above any expectations.”
As a remote-based integrator, Kissell collaborated closely with the builder, Higginbotham Custom Homes and Renovation; the local integrator, Fusion Media Systems; and the Hulls' designer, Sohaila Danesh. This wide-ranging network of team members helped ensure that every step of the installation went smoothly, from designing the system with the builder to Fusion Media Systems handling the low- and high-voltage wiring, to eliminating wall clutter and visible electronics in conjunction with the designer. The result is a system that works flawlessly and remains out of sight with all of the equipment located in two custom-built Middle Atlantic racks in the home’s basement.
“Without the help of this incredible team of local professionals, working long distance with the Hulls would have been exorbitantly expensive and complicated,” said Kissell. “Collaboration is the key to a successful installation and keeping everything on time and on budget, so it was necessary that we all work together to meet the Hulls’ expectations.
"Basing the home’s electronics on the ELAN system and Pakedge wireless products not only gives the owners a foolproof system, but also allows me to fix common issues remotely, all the way from Dallas. I can log into the ELAN system or the Pakedge network to reboot hardware, check and upgrade software, and see exactly what the Hulls are talking about in case of regular maintenance issues. That will save me and them thousands of dollars over the life of the home, because I don’t have to fly someone out.”
With ELAN as the control system there is virtually no limit to the home’s capabilities, and almost every product will work with the system in the future. Utilizing three ELAN S1616A multi-zone audio controllers, Eco High Fidelity created 18 separate zones of audio that can be individually controlled for source and volume through the home’s six ELAN HR2 remotes or the ELAN g! mobile app on the family’s iPhones and iPads.
Because of the older home’s limited in-wall and in-ceiling access, the first floor is outfitted with large floor-standing speakers. The team also collaborated to custom design a soundbar and floor-standing surround system for the sunroom’s 80-inch Sharp LED TV. Outdoor audio is provided by Niles outdoor speakers, giving the family high-quality music both inside and outside.
In addition to the audio system, there are seven video zones with Samsung TVs ranging from 40 to 80 inches. Every video and audio zone can play content from the home’s four uVerse DVRs, a Kaleidescape movie/music system, three Apple TVs and an S1 Digital music streamer that holds 200,000 songs. This approach gives the owners full access to their own music, Spotify, Pandora and all the local terrestrial radio stations controlled through the same simple ELAN g! interface, everywhere in the home.
“Having instant access to all of their media in every seat in the house was a core requirement,” Kissell said. “That’s why we chose to build such a powerful wireless network so every mobile device, ELAN remote and music service works 100% of the time no matter where they are trying to access it from, and never slows down no matter how much audio or video streaming the family does.”