A Custom Installation Veteran Asks: “What Are You Waiting For?”
Richard Stoerger of Audio Design Associates explains why the time is right to get that home theater or home control system of your dreams.
April 08, 2009 by Richard D. Stoerger

In my 20+ years of dealing with the luxury side of the custom installation industry, those with the most are typically the first to pull back on spending during down cycles. They are also the first to begin projects, once they are convinced all things aren’t coming to an end. Just like the birds returning from a cold winter, these customers are back.

The world isn’t imploding, markets are stabilizing, and while there is still much to consider regarding the economy, the top-end customer is shopping again. And for good reason – deals are out there. And not just deals on junk –  there are some incredible (maybe even historically unprecedented) opportunities available to these customers.

Customer Service
Before you begin shopping for a new home system listen closely – not all custom installed systems turn out the same. In fact, our industry uses the word “custom” specifically because almost every project is completely unique – be it the structure, client, design team, architect, builder or combination of these elements.

While there are many good system integrators out there, some companies are simply better than their competition. Not that long ago many of these firms even refused certain jobs because the projects were either too small or too unpredictable. And even if they decided to take on your project, you had to be prepared to wait in line – perhaps weeks or months. It’s not that these companies aren’t service centric, but because of the volume of work, they were in the driver’s seat. Today, that has changed. Some of the weaker players are gone. While others are leaner, most companies that I know are ready to do business.

The Benefits
It’s not that your home theater doesn’t entertain you anymore, but with Blu-ray featuring both high-definition video and uncompressed high-definition audio, now is a great time to upgrade that room.

  • Still turning lights on and off using the same switches and dimmers your parents used?
  • Interested in traffic, weather and stock information displayed on the same panel that controls your home?
  • Want to enjoy music throughout your home but can’t stand the feel of iPod ear buds?
  • Want control over your home’s consumption of energy?
  • Prefer buying American?

Whether it be a multi-room music, lighting, shading or HVAC we can deliver a system to fit your needs. And we are one of the few industries where many of these solutions are still manufactured here in the U.S. Custom installers make all these extremely cool and compelling technologies easy to work and best of all nearly invisible.

As for pricing, while there are specials out there, remember that you generally get what you pay for. While I know the most important parts of the sale to you are value and service, beware of the price that simply is too good to be true. Also, note that some niche products typically provide better performance without necessarily costing more than their more mass-produced counterparts.

In our industry (as in the automotive industry), performance typically makes up 50 percent of the “value” of your system. You wouldn’t want to find out that by cutting corners here and there, you gutted performance. When investing in this type of purchase, nothing is more deflating than finding out your neighbor, brother, or partner has a system that trumps yours. A good custom installation professional will make certain to balance performance and budget. 

So if you have the means at your disposal for something luxurious but not at all flashy, now is the most amazing time to seriously consider a custom installed system. Not only do you have access to some of this industry’s best talent, prices have come down some too. What are you waiting for?

Headquartered in White Plains, New York, Audio Design Associates (ADA) is recognized as the brand of excellence and has been the undisputed leader in the fields of high-end home theater and multi-room audio technology since 1977. Its mission is to provide timeless electronics that enhance lifestyle through entertainment.

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Vice President and Chief Operating Officer - Audio Design Associates, Inc.

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