On-Q Digital Audio Systems Peer Review

Phoenix Systems' Shawn Simpson Provides a From-the-Field Product Perspective
Publish date:

It’s been almost a year since Legrand’s On-Q began shipping its Digital Audio System, which was created to enable production homebuilders andintegrators a new option for incorporating home audio into their projects. The system was designed as a repeatable and easy-to-install system that streams digital content, such as Internet Radio and networked audio content, into a production structured wiring platform. The modular system, which can serve a single zone and is scalable to as many as 16, provides builders with a mortgage-friendly solution for increased profitability.

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Shawn Simpson 

To see how well this year-old product lived up to its billing, RS reached out to integrator Shawn Simpson of Phoenix Systems in Alpharetta, GA, for this Q&A:

RS: When did you first learn about Legrand’s digital audio system?

Shawn Simpson: My rep. (Paul Leake) told me about the Digital Audio System in December. He came back and did a demo for me in early January.

When did you first install one?

We installed our first four-room kit for The Providence Group [a builder] in January (pre-wire) with the trim out in April.

How difficult was it for you to get the builder’s buy-in?

The Providence Group is very leading edge and is always looking for technology that will differentiate it from its competitors in the Atlanta market.

What was involved in the installation?

At what stage of construction were you involved? We were involved with The Providence Group from the beginning of the construction phase by doing the pre-wire.

Describe the install. How many zones did you install? How long did it take?

We installed the AU7254-WH (four-zone Digital Audio Kit) and only used the four zones because the homes were in the $400K range. In their homes in the $600K and up range we are adding more zones, but everything is based on the four-room kit.

What are you using as sources?

Since there is only one global source input in the kit, we hooked it to the family room TV. We decided to offer more global source inputs as an upgrade, but we felt that we wanted to showcase the digital features rather than the analog features.

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On-Q Digital Audio System 

How has it performed?

Great. Troy Caldwell, the buyer for The Providence Group, loves the technology. His design center coordinator, Alicia Walker, also loves the product because it is easy to demo.

What has been the builder’s response to the system?

The Providence Group loves the product. It is easy to install and doesn’t slow the building process down. It is easy to demo in the design center and model homes, therefore we are getting more systems sold.

How difficult was it for you to get the builder’s buy-in?

The Providence Group builds in the $400K to $1.2M range. Since this is a scalable product, it is easy to expand the four-room kit all the way up to 16 zones. The builder has experienced no issues on any of the installs yet, either in the form of delays in the install process or negative feedback from his sales agents or homeowners.

What concerns or criticisms of the system to you have?

How could they improve it? On-Q currently offers the kit in white (AU7254-WH) but does not offer the kit in light almond. Everything has to be ordered ala carte. My recommendation would be to make the kit in light almond also.