SoundVision

Home Theater Dreams

White puffy clouds have their place in design, but imagine that fanciful daytime scene transitioning boldy into a dramatic moonlit night or raging lightning-filled sky, accented by black light and fiber optics! Introducing Muralusions by Curtis Stokes.

As an innovative technology solutions provider, SoundVision strives to provide best-in-class solutions and services to our clients and surely, the artwork of Stokes fits that profile. Having produced artwork for Hollywood and Vegas celebrities including Steven Spielberg and Paris Hilton, Stokes is passionate about his work and has been honing his craft since the age of four. Through a process he developed himself, he can transform a ceiling masterpiece from day to night with the flip of a switch (or touch of an integrated touchpanel!).

Designs are not limited to celestial anomalies but are as wondrous as your imagination. From a tropical paradise to adventurous safari, the sky is truly the limit!

But seeing is truly believing. Check out the video and explore his work. We’re excited to have the opportunity to work with Curtis and offer SoundVision clients this amazing level of elegance, sophistication and jaw-dropping awe to feature in their home!

Where’s the TV?

Razor thin hanging TV Cornelius, NC

 

Technology in Design

Shiplap and subway tile! We’re glued to the TV watching an endless stream of house flipping and renovations shows.  We’re into open floor plans and oversized clocks. We want large dining rooms and outdoor spaces for entertaining, but when we’re ready to settle in for our favorite weekly drama, or curl up with the family to stream a movie, we’d like to see a TV!  While we’re watching television, have you noticed what’s missing in some of the home renovation shows’ designs? The TV! The computer…technology! Why IS that? Granted, some embrace technology-free zones, with no disruptive television, gaming consoles or mobile devices in designated homework or family dinner spaces. That’s great, but many technologies actually keep us educated, safe, comfortable, informed and entertained. Lighting, LEDs, control devices and window coverings are elegant, convenient and energy-efficient. So, why is technology so often neglected in design?

Plan Now or Patch Later

For the best possible outcome, let us, the technology solutions provider, work with the Interior Designer from the onset of the project.  We can determine the technology requirements and provide the needed infrastructure before the shiplap, subway tile or custom wallpaper goes up. We can provide the cabling and determine power requirements, saving time and costly refinish work now and down the road. Sure, that painting looks great over the mantle, but would you eventually like to hang an OLED there? Let’s wire for it now so we don’t disturb the brick, wood or wallcovering later. Or, even better, let’s hang it now and conceal it with custom framed artwork that scrolls up to reveal the display! Oh yes, we can!

Wireless Is Only Half of It

Windows are another key design element that require careful planning. Not only should consideration be made for the type and size of windows in media areas, but thoughtful pre-wiring for control and power will be appreciated when it’s time to install motorized shades.  It’s true that control for some features can be via wireless remotes, but we still need a power source. The same holds true for keypads and touchscreens, security features, architectural speakers and especially the equipment rack.  The equipment rack is the home’s technology hub, housing some or all of the system’s components. It is often centrally located in a closet that offers adequate ventilation and the ability to run cabling for every device and control interface to each room of the house. Homes with crawl spaces, basements and attics make this task somewhat easier, but often we are faced with concrete, brick or massive walls of windows overlooking the lake or golf course. Exquisite hardwood, marble and tile floors present challenges as well.  Get the picture?

Speaking of exquisite features, one “designer” that truly embraces tech is Palm Beach’s Vanilla Ice. While his over-the-top south Florida style is all about the bling, his luxury designs focus on the elegance, entertainment and fun of well-planned integrated technologies. From outdoor living areas to kitchens, master bedrooms to outrageous home theaters and virtual reality gaming rooms, he focuses on how the family will use the space and designs around the technology. Say what you will about a rapper turned house flipper, but his VIP (Vanilla Ice Project) designs require no retrofit (and he loves the fancy wallpaper).

So, let’s get the entire design team – the architect, interior designer, technology solutions provider and homeowner – in lockstep.  The end result will be a happy homeowner and beautiful, untouched high-end finishes (or maybe even shiplap)!

Lossless Audio! Streaming Steps it Up!

High end audio, Vinyl in Mooresville, NC

The music you play is as important as what you play it on and what you play it through. The truest, cleanest, highest bit rate content will produce the best sound under all the right conditions (connections, components, calibrations). While analog may be the “original” music format, access can be a challenge (turntables aren’t exactly portable). So, how can you enjoy truly lossless audio in this digital world?

Compressed is Compromised

We want our music and we want it now but, are we willing to compromise on quality? And are we willing to pay an added fee -on top of a base subscription- for higher quality? Those answers seem to be yes, but to a certain point.  While a smartphone paired with a quality set of earbuds can produce a rather impressive sound, we understand that digital content is “compressed”, like a zip-file, and that we’re missing out on some of the depth in the track. Imagine the image produced on a standard definition TV vs. on a 4K LED. Portions of the music that have been deemed “undiscernible” to the human ear have been stripped.  This may be acceptable for casual listening on-the-go or during your workout at the gym, but not when you want to really experience music. That, however, is about to change.

Frustrated by prohibitively expensive subscription fees, rocker Neil Young is on a mission to make available top-quality digital sound at a reasonable cost for the masses.  He is preparing to launch a high-quality streaming music service, Xstream, which is based on a technology developed by Orastream.  It will be an adaptive streaming service that changes with available bandwidth. His feeling is that the higher bit rate will provide a more authentic analog sound vs. the more “squared-off” (more compressed) bit-rate which loses, in some ears, the essence of the music. While the technology behind the service is amazing in that it is capable of complete high resolution playback, Young himself expressed doubts that smartphone chips could adequately decipher the high-quality files.

Another service making a splash onto the streaming scene is Tidal.  Tidal is the first subscription streaming service to offer both High Fidelity music and High Definition music videos. Their lossless audio plays well with Apple devices and Android systems, as well as on a PC or when integrated in a wide range of hi-fi network players. To really appreciate the difference, they offer an audible demonstration of Lossless 1411 kbps (kilobits per second) music, as compared to the Vorbis 320 kbps of Spotify (desktop version) and iTunes’s AAC 256 kbps*. It’s worth a listen.

Popular streaming service Spotify is also reportedly testing the market for lossless audio.  The service tier referred to as Spotify Hi-Fi would be competively priced between $15-$20/mo. Great news for those who want to access a vast library of music on a quality sound system.

If you’re one who enjoys hearing every note that every instrument plays (and who doesn’t?) which, until recently has meant analog, then these new streaming options are music to your ears. What you play it through (your hi-end audio system) is another story, and one in which we at SoundVision are eager to assist!

*As reported by Tidal

Additional References:

How to Build a Hi-end Listening Room

Sony Music Goes Back to Vinyl Records

Luxury is What’s Trending in Home Automation

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If you think smart home luxury ends with fancy shades, think again!

Gone are the days of home automation and luxury being two separate conversations and design concepts. More and more, luxury living is merging with home automation in order to provide optimal solutions in comfort.

Imagine walking into your home and your eye being immediately drawn to the artwork in your foyer – highlighted by precise lighting design. Entertain guests with your high-tech wine cellar, complete with automated climate control and inventory management system. Even more, control the quality of the air inside your home.

The options are still endless when it comes to your outdoor living spaces. Control luxury water features, audio and video entertainment systems, even operate a summer kitchen by the pool or listen to your favorite music from the lake with dockside audio.

Home automation technology provides the epitome of luxury when combined with your own design style. The right technology will allow you complete control everything in your home – from the window shades and lighting, to the temperature and air quality, and even your security system. Advances in this technology provide you access to your entire home from your phone or tablet, and some systems can even operate via voice-activation.

Whether you want a top-of-the-line smart kitchen, a lakeside retreat, or an over-the-top outdoor movie theatre – there is a perfect mix of home automation technology for you, which can be designed to suit your individual design style.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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