Ekin Binal has seen it far too often. “I’ve been in a ton of residential spaces where I’ve seen a freestanding loudspeaker tucked away into the corner of a room, and that’s unfortunate,” he says. Although that kind of placement is detrimental to the speaker’s sound, Binal, Crestron’s director of AV solutions, understands the motivation behind it. Many homeowners — especially those in the high-end, luxury residential market — would rather their sound system be “heard and not seen.”
But marrying audiophile-quality sound to beautiful architecture and design has long been a priority for Crestron, says JoAnn Arcenal, Crestron’s director of business development. “The vast majority of our integrators that are in our dealer database understand the collaboration that has to exist between the design community and the technology community.”
“Live Inside the Music”
That’s especially true with audio solutions. “Our goal is to create a way to ‘live inside the music,’ and this is best done when the experience can be as seamless as possible,” Binal said. “Our Ultimate IC3 ceiling speaker is a great example of integrating the design aesthetics alongside the audio experience.” The speaker provides a full-range audio solution while only revealing a tiny three-inch grille — all the magic takes place behind the sheetrock.
As for the rest of the Crestron speaker line, Binal added, “The products in the balance of the residential portfolio are 100 millimeters (or four inches) or less, so it makes it much more flexible to go into drywall. As long as a builder is using standard two-by-four construction, it will fit in there versus some of our competitors that have six- or eight-inch-deep speakers.”
Amps and Control
Of course, speakers are just one part of the audio equation.
“Our DM NAX streaming amplifiers have all the audio sources built in, so that means you’ll need less equipment,” Binal said. “It’s all rack-friendly gear.”
There’s another part of any system that deserves equal attention: How does one control it? Keypad, touch screen, perhaps voice? Arcenal noted, “One of the most beautiful things about Crestron is the flexibility. You’re not tied to just one aesthetic.” So, whether it’s a touch screen customized to a specific user or a keypad with an elegant finish, it will fit seamlessly into the overall design. “The heart of that control is the Crestron Home OS, a platform that can handle every aspect of the modern connected residence.
No matter what the client wants, providing those solutions while maintaining an aesthetic vision is a collaborative process. “We’re happy to help educate these specifying communities, but there’s nothing like having that dedicated installation partner to help you in those conversations,” Arcenal concluded. “And, that’s where our dealer database comes in. We can help you find the right people to ensure that not only are we making a beautiful space, but a space that people love to be in.”