An Award-Winning Smart Home in Plymouth
Lelch AV Wins Prestigious Trillium Award for a Smart Home Technology Project
It’s always nice to be recognized. Lelch AV was recently honored with a Trillium award from the Builder’s Association of the Twin Cities. The awards go to projects that builders are particularly proud of with their trade partners and subcontractors – like us – getting the Trillium award.
The winning project involved a significant remodel and finish-out of a large basement space. The client had several objectives, and we listened carefully to their needs. They wanted a home theater room, but it was to be design-focused and minimalist, both in terms of equipment and operation.
They wanted access to music and video entertainment from various sources across the home theater and an adjacent exercise room. While they desired excellent audio and video quality, they did not want speakers and subwoofers visible. The client was not technology-focused, and wanted simple, intuitive control of the whole system. They also wanted a system they could grow with to add future capabilities. Finally, the client wanted to adhere to a budget as well.
We’re happy to report that the projected succeeded at all these levels. Read on to learn more details about this smart home technology showcase in Plymouth.
A Stylish Home Theater
While we do many “over the top” projects too, many of our projects are like this one. The clients have specific desires, they don’t want to be overrun with technology, and they want the result to fit their sense of style. We hit all these marks with their home theater.
For the display, we used an 82-inch Samsung flat panel TV. Large flat panels such as this can provide superb picture quality in smaller theaters and are well-suited for any type of video watching. The clients wanted a basic – but high quality – surround sound system.
The heart of the system is a Sony ES receiver (ES is Sony’s high-end line), which provides the processing and amplification for the surround sound. For the front speakers, we specified a custom Leon 3-channel soundbar. Leon soundbars can be ordered in custom widths and finishes to match flat panel TVs, resulting in a sleek appearance. Unlike some sound bars, they do not skimp on audio quality. Leon uses high-quality drivers and electronics, and in this installation, the amplification comes from the powerful Sony receiver, which has superior sound quality than the amplifiers built into most sound bars.
To handle rear surround duties, we used Bowers and Wilkins (B&W) ceiling mounted speakers. The clients had an existing subwoofer they wanted to repurpose, so we designed an enclosure and custom pull-out cabinet underneath the TV to hide it behind speaker cloth. The result is superb theater surround sound - without visible speakers.
The theater has access to five video sources that include a cable TV box, a Blu-ray player, a Roku streamer, and the ability to connect other devices like a laptop via a front HDMI input on the receiver.
Stronger Networking Infrastructure
While we prefer to install wired network connections for home theaters, sometimes it’s neither practical nor cost-effective to do so. To provide the right infrastructure for the entire project, a home network upgrade was in order. We installed a new modem for faster internet speeds, a new router for better speed, range and power, and two new wireless access points for improved signal strength. We also installed an IP Wattbox which allows us to remotely reboot the system as part of our 14/7 on-call tech support.
Dual Zone Audio and Video
In the adjacent exercise room, the clients wanted to be able to access any of the theater’s video sources as well as music. The Sony receiver allowed for an efficient way of routing both additional audio and video to that room without additional equipment. With a simple remote on the Control4 system (more on that below) the clients can access any content from cable, streaming or other sources on the wall-mounted TV in the exercise room. The exercise room system uses ceiling speakers as well, so the look of the room is uncompromised by any extra AV equipment.
The clients wanted simplified control over everything. We used a Control4 home automation controller to orchestrate the whole system. In the theater, a hard-button remote control can be used to turn on the theater system and select sources with one button. The clients also can use the Control4 app on their smartphones to accomplish the same tasks. The second zone of audio and video for the exercise room can be quickly summoned for music or TV. The clients also have a gas fireplace in the theater that they wanted to turn on and off with the system. We used a Zigbee (a wireless protocol used by many home automation devices) connection from the Control4 system to make that easy to do from any of the remotes. Finally, we added and Echo Dot to add voice command capabilities to the project.
Let us design and install an award-worthy project for you. Contact us or click the link below to connect with one of our smart home specialists.