It’s an understatement to say that audio and visual home entertainment has come a long way in a short time. There was the Victrola. There were wood-encased cabinet radios. There was the dawning of the age of television – black and white, then color. There were musical marvels like close and play record players, hi-fi stereo cabinets and consoles, eight-tracks and cassette players, VHS and Beta…
Landfills have filled because of advances in audio and visual technology. Transistor radios and boomboxes, Walkmen and compact disc players have all come and, to one degree or another, gone. What remains now? What grows in the current landscape of sound and vision?
Home audio and visual offerings these days are a mash-up of high and low, miniscule and ginormous – from itty-bitty iPod to 65" flat screen HD-TV, boggling the mind but delighting the eyes and ears. The implications for home decor are significant.
It’s been a long, long, long time (to quote George Harrison and the Beatles, that ancient band) since all your music was etched on vinyl platters encased in colorful cardboard and stacked on shelves within reach of a turntable. Now, your home music might not even be at home – it could be in "the Cloud."
A chat with Harvey Simmons of Encore Audio/Video assures that for pretty much any audio and visual home entertainment need, there is a good solution – invisible or not, small or large, sleek metal or dark wood.
Speakers can be nearly (or completely) invisible – set flush into a wall, for instance, and painted – or even hidden behind sheetrock. Or they can be encased in beautiful woods like cherry. Not everything has to have an Apple aesthetic, but there’s plenty out there that does. Some companies combine warm wood with sleek style (beautiful example: the Peachtree Audio iNova integrated amp, pictured above).
Even with the Cloud and wi-fi, if you want to listen to recorded music at home, wires will be required. The sound source may be the Cloud, accessed via your laptop or I-phone, but for that you need wi-fi, which of course means a physical cord connecting to electricity to power your Internet router. Once you’ve got the wi-fi, the extent to which the sound can stretch is fairly endless. It depends on your budget for how many speakers you want to install, inside and out.
Sonos makes an all-around audio system that falls solidly on the sleek and simple end of the design spectrum. Components are boxes of various sizes depending on what they need to do. A small box is the bridge to your router (connecting with a standard Ethernet cable). A slightly larger box can connect to your stereo for streaming audio through whatever speakers you already have. Larger boxes are all-in-one speakers you can put in different rooms or bring outside to blast music for neighbors, wirelessly connecting to the wi-fi system – though still needing electrical power, of course.
The remote to control these (you didn’t think you were going to have to get up off the couch, did you?) can be an iPhone, Android or iPad. You can sync all the speakers or play a different song in every room. Imagine the stereo wars one family could wage. But all for the sake of music, beautiful music.
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