Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Bose SoundTouch throws down multiroom audio gauntlet to Sonos

New SoundTouch Wi-Fi line includes three speaker models at launch: the SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable

All the speakers have six 'presets' on top of the unit. This speaker is the SoundTouch Portable, which has a built-in rechargeable battery

Over the years, Sonos, once a fledgling startup, has grown up to dominate the DIY multiroom wireless audio space. Now it has some serious competition.

Bose has officially unveiled a new line of Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand, which features simple setup and operation, and it’s definitely aimed at the same audience that Sonos has targeted.

The three new speakers that are available at launch — you can order them today — are the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a larger speaker designed for larger living spaces, and the SoundTouch 20 ($399) and SoundTouch Portable ($399), which are designed for somewhat smaller rooms. Bose will also introduce a Wave SoundTouch music system ($599) in December and other SoundTouch speakers and audio products in early 2014, signaling that it’s going all in on wireless audio.

It shares many of the same traits as the Sonos system, but one of the differences is that it’s designed to work with your existing Wi-Fi network and doesn’t require a special “bridge” like Sonos does. However, that Sonos Bridge, which connects to the Ethernet port on your router, sets up a separate “mesh” wireless network that’s dedicated to streaming your audio and helps remove the hiccups typically associated with a Wi-Fi network, which aren’t incredibly reliable.

But Bose is pushing the simplicity of its system and how easy it is to set up “using your existing home Wi-Fi network” and nothing else. The other simplicity theme revolves around Bose’s use of “presets”; both the new speakers and new apps –  Android and iOS devices are supported at launch along with Macs and Windows PCs — are equipped with buttons numbered 1-6. Each number corresponds to a preset in the app.

Using the apps, you can drag and drop specific Pandora radio stations onto a number to set it as a preset. You can also link one of the presets to the music library on your PC or a specific playlist.

To get your music up and running, you simply press one of the preset buttons that’s on the speaker or the included remote, or within one of the apps. Thus, the SoundTouch name.

Sonos comparisons
Like Sonos, the speakers and apps will get software updates that add new features and services. At launch, I was underwhelmed with Bose’s line up of services. Beyond Pandora there’s nothing: no Spotifiy, no Rdio, no Deezer, no nothing. Sonos has a huge roster of service tie-ins, so Bose has a big hole to fill there.

The other thing you can’t do with the Bose SoundTouch speakers is combine two speakers to get stereo sound. That starts to get a little expensive when you’re combining $399 speakers to make a pair, but these types of speakers that have their drivers very close together typically feature little to no stereo separation, so it’s a nice option to be able to go stereo like you can with Sonos.

The SoundTouch 30 and SoundTouch 20 both offer Ethernet connectivity, so you can use a wired network connection if you want, and there’s an auxiliary input, so you can hook up an audio device to a speaker using a cable.

The Bose speakers aren’t equipped with Bluetooth (neither are the Sonos speakers), but they do support AirPlay streaming from iOS devices and PCs running  iTunes. And like Sonos, you can stream music to a single room or have the same music play on all your speakers at the same time. You should be able to play different music sources in different rooms, but I didn’t test that feature yet.

Sound demo
Bose did a sound demo in a controlled environment with hand-picked music tracks, and like most of Bose’s demos, the speakers came across in their best light and seemed to sound quite decent for their size. I suspect the SoundTouch 20 will match up just fine against the Sonos Play:5, which is about the same size and also retails for $399. Currently, Bose isn’t offering any SoundTouch speakers for less than $399, but you’d think that may change in the future with Sonos offering more-affordable speakers.

However, the next batch of SoundTouch products will be more expensive except for the SoundTouch Controller, a swankier remote that will come out early in 2014 for $99.

As I said, a Wave SoundTouch music system is coming in December for $599. And a SoundTouch Stereo JC (Jewel Cube) system ($1,199), a SoundTouch SA-4 amplifier ($499) for select Bose products (including outdoor speakers), and a SoundTouch wireless adapter for Lifestyle systems and VideoWave entertainment system will ship in “early 2014.” (Bose did demo that new stereo Jewel Cube system, which also includes a subwoofer, and, needless to say, it sounded better than the single-speaker systems.)

I’ll let you know how the launch speaker systems sound — and how smoothly they operate — as soon as we get our hands on some review samples. Naturally, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to having a second major competitor in the DYI multiroom wireless audio space. But one thing is clear from Bose’s announcement: it’s going all in on wireless audio; it’s not messing around and will surely put big bucks toward marketing the new SoundTouch line and telling everybody how easy it is to use.

by David Carnoy

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57606930-221/bose-soundtouch-throws-down-multiroom-audio-gauntlet-to-sonos/

Custom Installation Services, LLC – Authorized Bose Dealer in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Home Theater, Home Theater Setup, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Outdoor Speakers, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Time to Tune Up Your Home Theater?

Make your old system new again

Home theaters have been around for some time now. Sure, the screens have become bigger and the speakers more powerful. Throw in a media streamer or server, and the way a home theater looks and behaves today is a lot different than it did just five years ago. So, veteran owners of home theaters, is it time to update? Should you invest in new gear? Or, maybe there are some simple tweaks you can make that’ll have your home theater humming like it’s brand new.

We asked a few seasoned custom electronics professionals (CE pros) for their recommendations. Some of the suggestions you might be able to do yourself; for others you will probably need the help of a pro. Regardless, “A/V systems need maintenance just like anything else we use daily, like cars, HVAC systems and computers. There will always be maintenance needs and costs associated with your system,” says Jason Voorhees of Cantara Design, Costa Mesa, Calif., Many CE pros offer home theater tune-ups as part of maintenance package. Expect to spend between $125 to $300 for the service, which may include just a few updates or many, depending on the system specifics.

Dust off your equipment: Dust can cause home theater components to run at a higher operating temperature, potentially decreasing their lifespan. Any components that have accessible filters (projectors, media servers, PC, etc.), should be cleaned once a year.

Audio Tuning: If you originally tuned your system (or had a professional do it) right after taking your speakers out of their boxes, it’s almost a given that the elastic properties of your drivers have changed over time. As the drivers loosen up from use, the sound they produce can change. It is probably time to re-tune.

Settings: Assuming your home theater system is 1080p capable, make sure all of your devices are set to output at 1080p, include satellite and cable boxes, Apple TVs, etc.

Brightness: One thing that can decrease over time is the brightness of your video display, especially that of projectors. Every display has some built-in picture modes; these settings are often called Vivid, Dynamic, Movie, Standard, 3D, etc. You may find that by simply adjusting a picture mode that you suddenly have a better looking video display.

Update: If your system isn’t 1080p and HDMI, it should be. You’ll open your theater up to a world of high-def and streaming services.

Calibrate: refocus and recalibrate the projector; recalibrate the surround-sound system.

Firmware: Install and test new firmware updates for every part of your system. The updates may fix bugs or may make new features available.

Seats & Curtains: Clean and test all of the theater seating, and repair if necessary. If the theater has curtains, they should be cleaned also.

Batteries and Bulbs: If any components use rechargeable batteries (remote controls, power supplies, etc.), test them and replace if necessary. Replace dead light fixtures.

Clean the Screen: Use a tape-based lint roller on the black fabric frame (if you have a fixed screen). You’ll be amazed at how much dust this material attracts. For a fixed screen use a soft horse-hair brush to gently brush off the screen surface. If you have a roll-up screen, bugs like to fly into the roller and get embedded into the screen. Call the manufacturer to determine what kind of cleaning solution is best.

Test Tone: How do you know if a tweeter or a crossover is blown on one of your speakers if you don’t spend 20 minutes doing a simple test tone sweep on each speaker? Not sure if the tweeter is working? Put your hand over the tweeter and listen to the speaker. If the sound doesn’t change, you probably have a problem. Your listening tastes may change too, and by calibrating yearly for level, distance and speaker position (if your speakers are moveable), you’ll be able to tune-up according to your changing tastes.

Delete: Spend 10 minutes deleting channels you don’t watch from your DirecTV or cable TV on-screen guide.

Reboot: Reboot your DVR every 2 months. You might be surprised at how much faster it will operate.

New Additions: Many older home theaters have a set-top box, a DVD player and a local library of content on a media server, but may not have a streaming media player. It’s time to get an Apple TV, Roku or some other device that can stream content to your home theater. This might also involve reprogramming your remote and adding new cabling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Lisa Montgomery

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/time_to_tune_up_your_home_theater/D1/

Custom Installation Services, LLC – Your Home Theater Tune Up Specialists Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

 

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Automation, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, HDMI Specs, Home Theater, i-Pad, IP Cameras, LED, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, Outdoor Speakers, Panamax, Sports Bar, Structured Wiring, technology, Theater Seating | Leave a comment


10 Popular Audio Demos
 
 
 

Polk Audio Speakers - Available at Custom Installation Services in Charlotte, NC

Custom Installation Services is Charlotte, NC's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer

Polk Audio shares some of its favorite audio demo tracks.

During a recent visit to Polk Audio, the Baltimore, Md.-based manufacturer gave us a sneak peek at some of its upcoming products.

The speakers were great, and some of the audio tracks were fantastic. As you know, playing the correct tracks during audio demos is essential. It can sometimes make or break a client’s decision.

We recently shared the favorite audio demos and video demos of some CE pros. Now, Polk has shared with us some of its favorite demo tracks and why each works so well.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolinas!Yello | Fat Cry

The opening to this cut is very recessed and almost muffled with a good bass line then not quite 20 seconds in is like someone pulls a veil away and not only does the music become clear & detailed it also expands in size with bass that just says bet you didn’t know I could go this low.

The voices that come in after this are good and catchy but you just want to go back to the beginning to see if you really heard that.

I find this cut to be a very good test of a loudspeakers ability to show off what everyone is always looking for big, powerful, deep bass along with being accurate.  After the first time one has heard this cut, every time thereafter you are waiting, timing the moment that the veil is pulled away and the power of that bass note that arrives with, oh yeah.

CIS - #1 Martin Logan Authorized Dealer in the Carolina'sCantate Domino | Christmas Song

This cut has so much going on and, like Fat Cry, surprises you with its power and emotion as almost every person I have demoed this for over the last 23 years have experienced everything from a chills to tears. In the beginning it appears that the symphony is being played in a small hall or maybe a church along with a soloist as it builds you begin to realize this symphony is in a very large concert hall as the music begins to wrap around you revealing the immense size and height of the hall. This happens with increased volume and now a choir of voices along with a pipe organ.

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The CarolinasCantus | She Moved Through the Fair

Excellent recording of acapella. Listen for the air around the voices, staging, and sense of life-like dynamics even (especially) in soft passages.

CIS is Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Audio Speaker Dealer in The Carolina'sMahotella Queens | Nomshloshazana

This joyful, upbeat track features layered instruments that are added in the first minute, demonstrating clarity and the ability to separate instruments effectively. Bass is strong and punchy when played on a high quality speaker.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolina'sLyle Lovett | Church

Lyle’s voice is front and center with the expanse of a choir across a broad soundstage behind him. Distinct hand claps and voices as they chime in now and then. Piano intro is early on, then the bass comes in with a full bottom end.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolina'sJohnny Clegg | Akanaki Nokunaka

This is just a great fun, traveling down the road cut with a great beat and Johnny’s amazing voice.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolina'sJohn Butler Trio | Bound to Ramble

There is tremendous separation of instruments. There is enough air that each instrument stars. You hear the attack on the Banjo. The rumbling resonance of the body of the upright and the overtones of the strings.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolina'sKevin Gilbert | Goodness Gracious

This track features an up front vocal that is good for testing lateral balance of system. The solid, driving bass line should be even across frequencies. The shaker in the introduction should be placed properly in space and have a natural sound to it.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Audio Dealer in The Carolina'sMighty Sam McClain | Too Proud

Impact and dynamic range of blues-man Might Sam McClain. Listen to the detail of instruments in the background such as organ and percussion. Better speakers resolve these impressively.

CIS - Charlotte's #1 Authorized Polk Dealer in The Carolina'sShawn Mullins | Ballad of Billie Jo McKay

There’s something enjoyable about listening to the basics of a vocalist and his guitar painting a lyrical work of art. This track allow you to listen to the natural sound of an acoustic guitar and feel the emotion of vocalist. Listening to music should invoke passion, or at the least, some type of personal reaction.

by Steve Crowe

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/10_popular_audio_demos/

Custom Installation Services, LLC - ”We may be a few dollars more than the competition, but we are a million times better”.

Posted in Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Music and Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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