Audio System Evolves into Automation
Homeowner adds automation features to his whole-house music system, and is ready for more.
January 20, 2014 by Lisa Montgomery

When recording music is your profession and passion, having a good quality audio system at home, where you also happen to entertain clients, is crucial both for business and your personal enjoyment. The owner of this approximately 3,000-square foot (about 1,000 square feet of which is outdoor living space) in Brooklyn, N.Y., was outfitted with a system that is able to stream music to speakers throughout the residence, the beauty being that none of the equipment is visible, says the homeowner. 

The ability to hide the gear, which in this case would be inside a utility closet, was one the main reasons he chose a centralized A/V distribution system from Elan. The fact that the Elan g! system could also automate his home’s lights, thermostats, motorized draperies and other electronic gear was a nice extra.

“Originally, my decision to go with an Elan system was based on its ability to distribute music and video from one location. I could keep the components hidden and access them from anywhere in the house,” says the homeowner. “But when I learned about the system’s automation capabilities, I jumped at the chance to implement those features too.”

The homeowners didn’t have to dig very deep to discover the Elan g!’s automation capabilities. After his electrician recommended the system for music distribution, the homeowners hit the internet to learn more about it. “Through my research I found it to be very functional and at a good price point.”  Plus, automation was already brewing in the back of custom electronics (CE) professional Britt Bischoff’s mind when he met with them to talk about their plans for a housewide entertainment system.  Always looking to provide homeowners with the most bang for their buck, the CE pro from Vast Metro Communications, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., thought it wise that the homeowners maximize the g! system’s capabilities.

And as is the case with many of his clients, these homeowner felt comfortable starting with just a few automation basics—and using a mobile app on their smartphones and iPads to issue commands. From the same mobile device that lets them stream music from their favorite sources Spotify and Sirius radio (a Fusion Research Ovation music server, iPort iPod dock and turntable are also accessible) to eight independent listening zones outfitted with Focal speakers, and to direct video from three cable boxes and two Apple TV boxes to Samsung LED TVs throughout the residence, they can create schedules for each of the home’s four Lutron Radio RA thermostats, move 11 Lutron QS window shades up and down and brighten and dim dozens of light fixtures.

While the iPad and smartphone app is go-to tool for interacting with the equipment tied to the Elan g! system, Bischoff also outfitted the home with additional controllers, including three Elan HR2 handheld remotes, a TS2L touchpad in the master bedroom and a TS7 7-inch touchpanel in a main hallway. The information and commands accessible via these complementary controls mimic those of the iPad and smartphone app. Although the available commands may be basic now, the homeowners plan to gradually add more, including “scenes” that will synch the settings of the A/V equipment, lights and drapes in preparation for parties and other activities.

If you’re considering a high-tech project, also check out:
6 Important Pieces of Info to Share with Your Tech Installer
Integrated Control vs. Multiple Apps for Home Automation
How to Add Lighting Control to Your Home
Furniture Trends That Can Please the Whole Family

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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