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
Integrator Serves Up 87 Restaurant Speakers

Boston’s Post 390 blanketed with SpeakerCraft speakers and Crestron automation.

Providing audio, video and automation for a bar and restaurant is rarely easy. It’s even more difficult when the restaurateur has various and specific goals in mind.

Take Post 390, for example, which is located steps from Boston’s most bustling office buildings, making it an after-work cocktail location. It’s also located a couple of blocks from Boston Back Bay’s bar scene, making it a night-on-the-town location.

But Post 390 is located a stone’s throw from Boston’s trendy South End restaurants, making it an up-scale eatery.

In other words: Post 390 needs to be a chameleon, adjusting to the needs of various guests – and its audio, video and automation need to reflect that.

“One of our early marketing slogans was ‘Find your Post,’” says Paul Dias, senior VP of operations for the Himmel Hospitality Group, which runs Post 390. “We looked at it as a place for a casual lunch, for a business lunch, a place to meet for beers, a place for a formal dinner. So every part of the restaurant had to be able to [reflect] the ‘Find your Post’ theme.”

Photos: Integrator Serves Up 87 Restaurant Speakers

Sound Approach

Dias enlisted North Easton, Mass.-based Audio Video Intelligence (AVI) to design and install Post 390’s electronics.

The restaurant is two floors, with a bar area on each floor, and the dining rooms blend into the bars. There are two areas that can be dedicated for private parties, complete with drop-down Epson projectors and Da-Lite screens, that require separate automation and audio zones.

The biggest challenge for Jim Shapiro, president of AVI, was providing seamless sound – a dilemma he describes while walking across the length of the restaurant and listening for hotspots. “In a restaurant, more speakers are generally better. If there are too few, the system has to play louder and that’s when people get upset.”

As such, AVI installed 87 SpeakerCraft speakers and subwoofers, mostly in-ceiling, in the 12,000-square-foot space.

AVI’s design called for even more speakers. “Yeah,” Dias recalls. “You [as a restaurant integration client] really have to come to terms with the number of speakers. You have to compromise. You only have as much money as you have to spend.”

Automation Made Easy

Speaking of money, Post 390 didn’t skimp when it came to automation. Post 390 staff use Crestron automation to control audio, video, motorized screens, lighting and climate. It’s always a challenge anytime various employees need to interact with a control system, so Dias wanted it to be as simple as possible.

During the design phase, Shapiro sent Dias screen captures of the customized Crestron interfaces AVI programmed for Post 390. He liked what he saw.

Dias, whose Himmel Hospitality Group runs other prominent Boston and Cambridge restaurants, has been burned before by difficult-to-use automation systems.

“Paul knew he needed reliability and it needed to be simple to control,” says Shapiro. “He had experiences with systems that aren’t as powerful and fast for [audio and video] switching.”

Post 390 demonstrates extreme confidence in its Crestron automation system by including in-wall touchscreens in the two private dining areas. Nothing is stopping a customer in one of those rooms to select music, turn down volume or even lower the projector and screen – although it’s obviously not encouraged.

The private rooms are only private when Post 390 designates it so. The larger of the rooms includes a large glass door that can be opened when that room is simply used for dining space and closed when privacy is needed.

The audio zones need to reflect the rooms’ usage and Post 390 staff uses Crestron audio switching via touchscreen to change on the fly.

Staff training was a snap, Shapiro recalls. He remembers being on-site for a soft opening and waiting for employees to ask questions about how to use the automation system but hardly getting any. For him, that’s a measure of success.

For Dias, he measures success by reflecting back on his initial goals. “We were trying to create a certain kind of environment here and we wanted a sound system that would help us do that. And we wanted consistency.”

Walking through the restaurant, Dias says his goals were met. Then he adds, “See? No dead spots.”

 by Tom LeBlanc


Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte, NC’s Source For Restaurant and Sports Bar Audio/Video Sales, Service and Installation

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Home Theater Basics: 12 Things for Newbies

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Home Theater Company!

C.I.S. - Charlotte's Home Theater Company!

All you really need to have a home theater are speakers, some basic audio/video equipment and some popcorn.

Getting a basic home theater system into your house may be far simpler than you think. You just need to understand what the basic components are and match them to your budget and performance needs.

At an elemental level, a home theater system needs a large video display device (generally a flat panel TV 50-inches and up or a projector/screen), a surround-sound speaker setup (at least 5.1 plus electronics for switching and processing), and some quality source components (Blu-ray, cable, streaming devices …) . That’s it.  Sure, it can be a little more involved, but it isn’t rocket science. Here’s a more thorough breakdown of today’s home theater basics:

The Sights

1. A video display can be any size or style you want, as long as it’s big. For an immersive experience, we generally suggest a screen of at least 50 inches (measure diagonally), but smaller screens may make sense in some rooms. Your display will, of course, be high definition, and mostly likely 1080p resolution, though some 720p resolution TVs are still available.
When you’re planning your theater, a guideline for display size is that the viewing distance (the distance from you to the screen) should be 2 to 3 times the width of the screen (actually width, not the diagonal size).

2. A video display can utilize one of several technologies such as plasma, LCD (liquid crystal display), DLP (digital light processing), LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) or some others. All of these technologies have their pros and cons, but all can create a home theater-quality picture at a variety of budgets.

3. The type of video display you choose will depend on your budget, how you intend to use the display and the space where you plan to enjoy your home theater. There are lots of options, but your selection will be made easier if you know what you’re seeking.

4. Think 3D. Stereoscopic, or 3D, started getting serious attention last year, and this year that attention is even greater. A 3D TV truly separates a home theater from simply a television as it adds one more element that, until recently, was unique to commercial theaters. Plus, all the technology that goes into make a TV 3D, also happens to make it an even better 2D TV for conventional viewing.

From custom homes to corporate boardrooms, let Custom Installation Services install your next a/v project!The Sounds

5. A home theater’s surround-sound system consists of five or more speakers, with three in the front near the video display and at least two on the sides or at the back of the room.

6. The three front speakers do most of the work to produce sounds that correspond with the action on the screen. Two speakers, called the front left and right channels, are typically placed on either side of the video display. A center-channel speaker is often placed above or below the screen. Two or more speakers on the sides or rear are referred to as surround speakers. Additional rear speakers or even height-channel speakers can create an even more realistic impression on the audience.

7. The center-channel speaker is the most important loudspeaker in a surround-sound setup. This is because it reproduces a great majority of the sounds you hear in a movie soundtrack, including all of the dialogue. You’ll want to hear every word clearly and feel as if the dialogue is coming directly from the actors’ mouths.

8. The role of surround speakers is to convey ambient sounds, such as background noises, rumbles or passing cars or planes. These speakers help fully immerse you in a movie. The surround sound speakers generally shouldn’t be too obvious to the listener, so don’t crank them up too loud or the effect will be unnatural.

9. There are several surround speaker options. You can have two speakers, one on each side of the seating area. You can have three speakers, with one on each side and one in the back, allowing you to better hear the effects of movement such as that of a passing car or a train or airplane. You can have four speakers, with two on each side. Or you can have even more speakers. It’s really a matter of how far you want to go.

10. Specialty speakers called subwoofers produce low bass sounds so you will hear the full impact of sound effects such as explosions or the roar of a jet engine. Subwoofers can be placed virtually anywhere. People often put them in a front corner, behind a plant or a table or even under a couch. Subwoofers are not full-range speaker channels, meaning they only produce a fraction of the sounds you hear. In surround-sound parlance, subwoofers represent the “.1” in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 systems (5.1 meaning the basic surround-sound setup of five speaker channels plus a subwoofer, 6.1 meaning six channels and a subwoofer and 7.1 meaning seven channels plus a subwoofer). Multiple subwoofers can also be used.

11. To get sound to the speakers and video to the screen, you’ll need switching and processing components like a surround-sound receiver or a controller and amplifier. Receivers contain amplifiers, precluding the need for a separate amplifier, though for higher performance you may opt for a separate surround-sound controller and a power amplifier. Look for a receiver with multiple HDMI inputs (version 1.4 is the latest) for all your sources. Additional features such as iPods connectively, Internet radio, DLNA, multi-zone and audio calibration systems can add to your home theater’s functionality and ease of use.

12. Sources for all Tastes. Well, of course you’ll want something to watch, right? For most people, the two most fundamental sources will be a TV tuner (cable, FiOS or satellite box) and a Blu-ray player. Other great sources for home theaters include gaming consoles and web media players (such as Roku and similar products). Many Blu-ray players or TVs include built-in web-based services such as Netflix, Vudu and Amazon Instant Video.

 by EH Staff


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

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Happy New Year To Everyone!

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Theater!With the holidays and our busier than normal schedule over the past month, it has been a while since I have posted a blog.  So, this will be different than my normal format of product news.  I wanted to post a personal blog to thank all of our loyal clients for your support over the past year.  2010 was a good year for C.I.S., with new product offerings added to our lineup, as well as new and exciting technology trends.  None of which would have been possible without everyone’s continued support!

A new direction for us this year was to “dabble” in more commercial A/V installations.  These included sports bars as well as an overhaul of the video at Lance, Inc.  This has opened up a new revenue stream for C.I.S., and one we will continue as we move forward into the future.  As part of this new commercial business, C.I.S. has partnered with ZEE-VEE, makers of high definition boxes that enable 1080p over coax for long distance runs and combining signals to existing channels for ease of use.

Another new product in our lineup is from SpeakerCraft, with their addition of the “FloBox”.  The FloBox is a single unit that allows you to dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad, play a CD, stream from the internet, access iTunes or listen to FM radio.  Combined with substantial amplification, quality drivers and a sleek, futuristic cabinet available in five finishes, the FloBox will transform any room into a concert hall at the push of a button!

I would like to again thank everyone for your continued support, and to a great 2011!  Stay tuned for more of my traditional blogs with product news and updates!

Don Miller


Custom Installation Services, LLC - We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

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