November 25, 2009
| by Arlen Schweiger
Chase Blackburn has been multitasking on and off the football field.
The 26-year-old is making a name for himself in the NFL as an up-and-coming linebacker for the New York Giants (he’s been solid on “D” since making the Giants’ roster as a rookie free agent from Akron in June 2005). He’s led the team in special teams tackles in each of the past four seasons, and has become targeted as someone to be “double teamed”—as a linebacker he was also recently pegged by the New York Daily News to fill the big shoes left by injured star Antonio Pierce.
In the off-season, Chase focuses on many charities, community projects and special events that take place in and around his suburban New Jersey home and can often be spotted signing autographs on his front lawn for neighborhood kids. But he’s also a kid at heart when it comes to another passion, home electronics.
“A project Chase had been concentrating on was finishing his first-floor basement into a complete entertainment, exercise and gaming environment for him and his wife, Megan. While his upstairs provided a formal living space for Chase, his family and guests, the basement was to become a comfortable, informal, multi-use facility that could address the diverse activities Chase wanted for the space,” says Matt Kassin of Bogen Communications, which helped outfit the place with high-tech.
“He wanted functionality but at the same time, he needed ease of use. Making his media systems easy to operate for both him and his wife and yet not overwhelm or become an aesthetic focus in this homey atmosphere was also a key objective.”
Chase turned to Tony Charles of Residential Remodelers in New Jersey to make those goals a reality, says Kassin, and the project took off from there.
Some requests included a fully capable and remote-controllable multiroom audio distribution system that would give him access to multiple music sources as well as his plasma TV. That way not only could he have the direct viewing and listening access, but could distribute the audio to any of the other zones so he could hear the news while he was working out in his gym, playing billiards in the pool room or hanging with teammates (we’re not sure if Eli Manning hangs) at the bar.
“He wanted the luxury and convenience of built-in speakers without detracting from the room aesthetics with in wall keypads or controllers,” notes Kassin. “He also wanted to be able to utilize his iPod and iPhone on a whim or rely on his conventional receiver components and their attached music sources, but wanted something without the need for complex and overly technical software centric platforms.”
When Chase delivered his list of “wants” and “must haves” to Residential Remodelers, Charles turned to Bogen Communications to provide a high-fidelity multiroom audio platform called Home Acoustix. It’s a new product line that incorporates Cat 5-based A-Bus technology and uses fully IR remote-controlled self-amplified speakers—negating the need for any decor-marring wall-mounted keypads or control panels, according to Kassin.
“Multiple source components can be selected and manipulated for complete access to key command functions,” he explains. “It also made Tony’s installation work easier as he was retrofitting it into an already constructed home. This single feature gave Tony unparalleled flexibility in making speaker placement decisions and giving Chase, along with his wife, an aesthetically pleasing solution.”
Among the pieces to the installation are: Onkyo tuner and receiver, Samsung Blu-ray home theater system, Monster Power surge protection, Wii gaming system, and iPod and iPhone docks. The Home Acoustix system encompasses four zones with four pairs of self-amplified IR-controlled speakers.
Now Chase can multitask in his home entertainment environment after a hard day at “the office.” “He can listen to the TV news while working out in his gym, while his wife watches a movie on the plasma screen, his buddies listen to the Rolling Stones at his bar and his neighbor plays billiards with Sinatra as his choice of sounds,” says Kassin. “A simple credit-card sized remote control allows different sources to be selected on the fly with a wave of the users’ hand and actual component manipulation as well.”
As with opposing running backs, that’s something Chase can really tackle. Click here to view additional photos.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.