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Tech Talk

Articles of substance and possibly some musings 

Quiet Please!

by Kenneth Briggs, Sr. Technologist

Quiet isn’t a word that is often used when describing a great home cinema. To a cinema designer, it’s one of the most important aspects of great sound. Most people euphemistically call it sound-proofing. That’s so you can have those late-night movie sessions without waking up the whole house. There’s much more to it than that. Quiet is the bedrock of high-performance sound.

Technically, we discuss the ambient noise level in a room as the low end of dynamic range. The speakers and amplifier handle the top end by sounding powerful but effortless never the less. Quiet is built into your room and there’s no newfangled component you can add after the fact to achieve it. You can’t add quiet you can only take away noise, such as electrical noise resulting from "dirty power" (more on this in a future article). A room is either quiet or it never will be without significant renovation.

Why is quiet so important to sound? It represents the backdrop to the recorded environment of a musical piece or movie scene. What is the quietest thing you need to hear in a movie? A pin dropping, a whisper, or perhaps the quiet rustling of leaves. Well, it’s all that but there’s more. Each sound you can name has a hidden component one seldom hears in a typical cinema. It’s the echo of that sound.
The echo is a bit of sound that our minds use to determine where we are in the world. We can easily detect the size of a space and even our location in it by the echo of our footfalls or the sound of our voice. These details are recorded into every CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and Victrola recording ever made. It is the magic whisper that transports our reality into the new reality of the recording. It makes the listener feel like they're there. It is the pinnacle achievement of a great home cinema.


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Retail Me Not

Editorial By Sr. Technologist Kenneth Briggs

Experience in life as it is in business will provide clarity to any given situation. Remember when we were in our teens and early twenties, we thought we knew it all! Then came graduation, internships, jobs, careers, homes, marriages, kids, etc. Knowing what you know now, could you have made a more informed decision about that one car, that one widget you fawned over but you really never utilized to it's fullest potential (palm pilot, hello)?  Sure hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Choosing a contractor for your home or office technology needs is one decision that is important and should not be taken lightly.  

Today everything resides on your network (LAN), the responsibility level of safegaurding your digital footprint is of paramount concern. Times have changed, no longer is a retail store qualified or equipped to deliver and setup your television, network device or for that matter a complete smart home automation system. Neither is the cable company, electrician or your 8th grade genius nephew. Today a basic level 1 technician can only handle wiring terminations and connections at best and due to the eight to twenty four conductors of copper within a single cable they often don't match the conductors up correctly, but I digress.  Any technician handling new equipment today must be well versed in network security protocols, network management, have specialty training and specialty tools for LED video display calibration, training in room acoustics and the ability to calibrate (balance) the sound in a room that seats 8 people so all eight have the best seat in the house.

Times have changed No longer can a retail store expect to turn over inventory that is on display and stocked in the back warehouse without taking massive profit losses to move that old inventory. You see by the time your project is ready for its equipment installation, which may be a month since you agreed to the project if you are remodeling a home or possibly eighteen months or more for new construction of a office building or a large residence, those products, which a portion of them have been sitting in the warehouse of the retailer for half a year waiting for a consumer to purchase it, are already obsolete.The software has been updated to a newer version and its no longer compatible with your sophisticated automation system the salesman at the high end electronics store raved about (Control 4 and Sonos) or the manufacturer has quit manufacturing the product due to a ban on exports from a certain country (Samsung and China) or a corporate buyout and consolidation occured (Harman-JBL-Samsung comes to mind, then there was the famous AMX-Phast-Panja-AMX-Harman-Samsung story, now it's the Control 4-Snap merger) or my favorite, the manufacturers who sold the remaining inventory for quick cash to online retailers and thus eliminated a complete series of products for its dealers (Bose, Klipsch, Polk). The latest is the alphabet company who bought the popular retail brand Nest and then shuddered it's ecosystem within a year and with it hundreds of formally compatible products no longer will integrate together. With the personalized nature of technology to befit a luxury home or corporate boardroom how often is what the retailer has on display match up with your color, size or appearance needs, um...never. There are ten more situations that negatively impact the retail store from delivering a highly sophisticated technology solution for your home or business besides outdated or inappopriate inventory. Talent pool is another. The most talented technicians, systems designers and engineers are no longer in retail. They are business owners, specialty contractors and technicians who specialize in sophisticated technology solutions for business, exciting theme parks and the luxury residential markets. Retailers are left best for do it yourself projects and box transactions where you want the assurance of touch and feel before you buy (car dealers, furniture stores) or situational do it for me delivery situations. Like when you don't want to cook and you order in for pizza or chinese. You can pick it up or have it delivered. That's all retail. This, we can install and integrate your technology, well those days are over for retailers, the rope is too short, the margin for error too great and the loss of profits are not worth it (Best Buy, Sound Advice, Absolute Sound, Circuit City, etc). 

For those of us who enjoy the best, we seek out the best brand, that's how we've always done it, right?  Ferrari, Mercedes, Fendi, Manolo Blahnik, Rolex. When you buy a car you buy a fully integrated product, ready to go. A pair of shoes, ready to walk in. Yes you can add a performance modification or an aesthetic modification, but in general, you can drive or walk away from the store or have it delivered to your home or office. A home cinema system, a home automation system, a conference room audio/visual system doesn't have one single brand as it's nameplate, even those that market all-in-one solutions, they are not fully baked right out the box, they require integration with other devices or accessories to adapt to your needs for your specific environment.  Times have changed. Technology has become personalized for your specific needs, that is great news, but it takes a well versed and knowledgeable team that starts at the manufacturing level and leads straight to the technician responsible for it's placement in your home.  The brand you are seeking now is the brand of the technology specialist, the technology contractor themself. We are the brand, Infinity AV is a brand, we are a state licensed electronics technology contractor, License number ET1000710, we are not anything but a technology contractor and a brand name that represents the very best of what can be possible when a properly designed technology solution is prepared specifically for you, ready and available for your perusal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The process of choosing a technology contractor is similar to that of selecting a general contractor when building a home or office building. You choose one that meets your criteria. The difference is though, there are allot less technology contractors than general contractors and we as technology contractors must also serve as the technology architect as well. A general contractor works from blue prints, so do we. In our case we usually create the technology blue print per the application, personalized to the needs of the user(s). This adds a whole new set of skills that require specialized education, training and experience over and above the physical installation work. Electrical engineering, CAD (computer automated drafting) experience,  what isle is that available on at the big box store? Inside what vingette do they store that knowledge at the local hi end electronics salon?  Times have certainly changed.  How do you establish the criteria for selecting a technology contractor? Great question, let's table that article for another day....

Cut to Fit

Introducing our affordable custom width soundbar solution


Phase Technology’s Variable Length Soundbar is designed with cut-to-length rods to allow the soundbar to match the length of a television screen. This is a welcome addition to the Infinity AV line up. Upon the dawn of the soundbar 12 years ago we always recommended a custom width look, it's clean and understated. The soundbar virtually dissapears below your wall mounted television. However the custom look required a custom price and a two week lead time to manufacture. Phase Technology has removed the two largest obstacles when deciding upon a bespoke sound bar for your clean wall mount installation, price and the wait time. Featuring an 8-ohm impedance, the Phase Technology soundbar incorporates three speaker enclosures with six 3-inch ultra-long throw polypropylene subwoofers with NBR surround sound and a 0.75-inch synthetic soft dome tweeter.

The Variable Length Soundbar, which measures 3.81-inches deep and 6.1-inches tall, is designed for below the TV mount applications requiring a width of 55 inches and larger. Designed for simplified, yet customized, installation, the Variable Length Soundbar includes cut-to-length rods and wall mount brackets for out of the box custom installation while you wait.  Now available exclusively from Infinity AV.  

Learn more about Family Room entertainment solutions 

Did you know?  Facts show homes in Central Florida are often wired improperly for sound systems. Click to read our findings 

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