Interiors for sound
This is a transcript of the twelfth release (07.17.2014) of the Sound podcast. In it, Timofei Shikolenkov and Elizaveta Myakisheva, Sound Art project development manager, talk about working with the space around us - about the harmony of the interior and equipment and the various possibilities for managing this technology.
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- [ read ] [ listen ] Talking about vinyl: Myths, opinions and current situation;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Answers to questions from listeners of the podcast “Sound”;
- [ read ] [ listen ] We discuss the nature of the different sounds of acoustics;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Acoustics for background sounding of premises;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Answers to questions from podcast listeners;
- [ read ] [ listen ] We talk about home theaters;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Interiors for sound;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Interfaces and cables;
- [ read ] [ listen ] In simple words about digital and analog sound;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Home acoustics and answers to questions;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Engineer's opinion: How to create your own ecosystem of sound;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Quality of audio systems: Is it worth trusting “beautiful graphics” and reviews in the press;
- [ read ] [ listen ] Answers to questions of listeners;
Timofei Shikolenkov: As far as I can imagine, a business related to installations, design, decoration, when a sound “theme” is built in [the interior], many problems arise: the client wants to install a music system or home theater in his apartment that he did not think about at initial stage of repair, at the planning stage and contacting the contracting company. Tell some stories that often arise [in this area] and are very “sick”, let’s say so.
Elizaveta Myakisheva: To begin with, the installer’s task does not come down to acquiring equipment in a store — you need to think through all the details from and to. To begin with [you need to understand] where the system will be located, that is, take into account a lot of nuances and small things.
There are many interesting stories in our business, especially when a person tries to figure everything out right away, not trusting a specialist, but taking on obligations that he, at times, cannot realize. Such people are designers, some architects, mostly women, because men in our country are more interested in technology and technology.
There was such a story: I held a master class for designers in Artplay. She talked for a long time about a particular technique, about how wonderful it sounds and works. The product was wireless, it worked via Bluetooth, for a long time I talked about how wonderful, convenient, how it is used. At the end of the meeting, the designer asked me a counter-question: “What is Bluetooth?” This speaks of education in our field, in the near-thematic areas, including in the field of design and architecture. One can imagine what kind of problems such people expect if they undertake to implement serious, large-scale projects.
Timothy:In my opinion, the most common problem should be the following: the client contacts the designer, and the designer does not try to do anything in terms of sound. Repair is completed. Everything is beautiful. The question arises: now I would like to see a home theater here. Does it happen? [Our translation of the article on why architects need to pay more attention to sound, read here ].
Elizabeth:Of course. Such cases are not unique: in order to correctly implement the installation process, you need not just lay the cable and install the equipment, but configure it and generally select it for a specific task. Although people, not understanding this, think that this issue can be postponed until later. But then all sorts of problems begin. When the plans include the acquisition of equipment, or it is already there, and the repair is completed. What to do? Such cases are not unique.
People do not want to see any wires, they just forget about the wires. I can say why this is happening. Audio systems during the filing of photo materials are a beautiful picture without technical nuances. In the photo we see a column without wires.
There are such cases [when customers contact us] after repair. What can we do in this situation? The client [first of all] does not want to see the wires. There are many solutions [to this problem], starting with the selection of furniture.
It would seem that in furniture such? You can buy any bedside table, put equipment on it, and everything will be wonderful.
Not so simple. Our business has specialized furniture, which assumes the correct location of not only devices, the so-called "iron" - control and coding equipment, but also cable laying in hidden furniture walls, where the manufacturer takes into account all the nuances, up to heating this equipment.
It’s not necessary to ditch the walls, the main thing is to think carefully about how to put the system in such a way that it not only sounds good and pleases with its quality, no matter the audio or video part, but also correctly position it, even in the late stages of repair
Timothy: This is a compromise the same?
Elizabeth: Yes, a compromise.
Timothy: What about wireless connections? Customers in such cases say: “Are there wireless speakers?”
Elizabeth: Yes, they do. We will be realistic. Our equipment works through the power grid, and it is impossible for it to work by itself. Saying that the speakers are completely wireless is impossible.
Typically, in the Hi-Fi and Hi-End equipment market, there are wireless systems that connect to the network. It turns out that we can’t put a full-cycle speaker or speaker wherever we want. We can arrange them so that there are sockets at the back or near, and this is also a compromise.
Timothy: Wireless speaker system ...
Elizabeth: A very conditional concept. It can work on the mains, but this does not mean that they do not have wires as such.
“Basin Cinema” is one of the projects of the installers of Audiomania
Timofei:The next question. Now there are a huge number of solutions for controlling equipment using smartphones, tablets. Before, I remember, our installers were busy with complex remotes that were impossible to program for the average person: I remember the Talmuds, in which it was written how and what to configure. Now all the equipment in the house, including lights, curtains can be controlled from iPhone, smartphone, iPad.
Elizabeth: The topic of governance in our industry is very interesting. It becomes possible to manage not only audio and video equipment, but also include [in a single control system] engineering infrastructure within the space that you want to control.
Timothy: There is the concept of “smart home”.
Elizabeth:Yes. “Smart Home” is a management remotely via the Internet. You can manage any infrastructure of your home: audio, video, security systems, even to the extent that you can set the floor heating mode when you drive to a cold house. And the house will meet you and rejoice with you, [he can] fill your bath at a certain time, maintaining a certain temperature. This is called the "smart home system."
Today in Russia she has not taken root. I will explain why. Firstly, it is quite expensive. The more components in this system, the more equipment we manage: lights, curtains, water supply, engineering systems, the higher the cost.
Today, a very popular automation system. Many call it the “smart home” system, but nevertheless [unlike the “smart home”, which is controlled via the Internet], this system is controlled inside the local network, it is impossible to “get into” it from the outside. I mean, when hackers come to us and ...
Timothy: And turn on the light at night!
Elizabeth: We all use plastic cards, knowing how unsafe it is to work with them on the Internet. So it is with the smart home system. This is the advantage of the automation system: the house is quite “smart”, it implements all the functions that the owner needs, right up to maintaining the right temperature while he is gone.
The house will not freeze, engineering systems will be supported in accordance with the script that was prescribed by the programmer. But managing such a house from the outside via the Internet from anywhere in the world is impossible. We can manage the house only when we are indoors.
Timothy: Probably good that way!
Elizabeth: You can say yes, because [otherwise] the system is unsafe. Given its cost, you can imagine that the customer may encounter a lot of problems, and the responsibility falls on you [the installer], because the security of the system is also your task.
Timothy:It is also a service issue. All this is so expensive that even with such a large number of millionaires in our country, it is still not in special demand. I suggest returning from heaven to earth, to our audio and video equipment and control from smartphones and tablets.
Elizabeth: Good. What can an automation system or a single control system in a home today? What is available to everyone? All manufacturers understand the importance of mobile devices, their usability and how often they are used by people. Our company Audiomania and the installation department use a specific system, a specific brand. This is a Bitvise system.
It is quite convenient and easy to program. A good “trick” is that the interface of this control can be stylized to your own design, your own style. This is, firstly, beautiful, and secondly, nice, and thirdly, convenient. We can manage curtains, home theater systems, speakers located in different rooms: in rooms, in the bathroom, in bathrooms, in the pool. We are not attached to a specific place. The system works over Wi-Fi. Accordingly, Wi-Fi is available anywhere in the house when installed correctly ...
Timofei: This is probably the lesser of the problems that arise.
Elizabeth:... We can play music anywhere in the house without being there. For example, we give children watch cartoons. Without going into their room, we select the desired content on the phone and press the “play” button.
Timothy: Where do the cartoons come from?
Elizabeth: Cartoons are taken, the first option: from the Internet - a special media player is installed in which information is stored inside the local network. So you can go to a remote server and download the material that we need.
You can also install Apple TV. A very handy thing if you are using an iPad and an Apple lover. A lot of advantages, including: children will not watch a good and beautiful cartoon on a small tablet. You can launch everything on the big screen of the TV with one button. Children will have fun and you will have free time!
Timothy: It turns out that you can store music and movies on a single network storage, which is located somewhere in the house, no matter where, because there is a network. And through this network we manage all systems and manage content.
Elizabeth: Yes. The equipment used for the entire system is generally not tied to a place, it can be placed anywhere, not necessarily under the TV. Everything is possible today.
The only condition is that the room where the equipment, which is part of the system, is not humid, not “difficult” for the equipment itself: that there is an acceptable temperature, ventilation, as the equipment heats up.
Given these nuances, you can create a system yourself. And having talked with a specialist and realizing that the wires can be removed not only in the walls and ceiling, you will understand that even at the final stage of repair there are no impossible solutions.
We can use specialized furniture, or remove equipment anywhere in the house - if it is possible to contact specialists at the initial stage of construction. Equipment used: network storages that store content, audio and video information. We also use multi-channel amplifiers when it comes to multi-zone music solutions.
The progress of one of the projects of Audiomania - installation in the office of the oil company in Caracas (Venezuela)
Timofei: One can imagine that a TV is hanging in the room, speakers are hanging or standing on the corners somewhere on the walls, and the rest of the equipment is in another location. No matter where. It absolutely does not bother me.
Because I take out the iPhone from my pocket, launch the application, turn on my favorite movie, and that’s it. It used to be fashionable to flaunt bulky equipment - it was cool! Now it's cool when there is no equipment! Everything is distributed, and I don’t care where it all stands, the main thing is that I can easily use it.
Elizabeth: Yes. It is not just managing, launching video and audio content. This is a complete solution. Let's imagine that we do not have a single remote control, iPhone or iPad, but just a remote control. What is a remote control? Each equipment has a remote control: an amplifier, a projector ... If we talk about a projector and a metallized screen, there is a remote control again ...
Timothy: Is it a screen that leaves the ceiling, floor, wall?
Elizabeth:Yes, this is a screen equipped with an electric drive that can rotate when necessary. When there is no need, the screen is hidden in a tube, it is not visible.
Take the situation where we need to turn on the TV. I want to see a movie, not streaming content, namely a movie. We have come to watch the movie in the living room and are starting to turn on the system completely. We have several stages of action. Firstly, we turn on the power amplifier or receiver, and secondly, the processor.
This is a certain set of actions that is inconvenient. It is uninteresting to remember the sequence of actions, and it is unlikely that people will remember them - you need to watch movies very often in order for such a memory to develop.
Timothy: We need to take a bunch of remotes, click on them a bunch of buttons ...
Elizabeth:Yes. If there are still lighting and curtain control systems, then this, again, is a separate remote control. It is uncomfortable and uncomfortable. Most people have tablets and iPads. And our Bitvise system fully implements all the necessary tasks with one button.
The screen goes down, all the necessary equipment turns on, we just have to choose a movie, start it for playback and have fun! Previously, there was a binding to Apple devices. Now it is not there, because technology manufacturers are progressing, improving and making support for Android devices, which is very convenient, since not everyone is Apple lovers.
Timothy:As for support: I remember, before the advent of control from a smartphone, tablets, there were a large number of devices, controllers that were consistent with each other, the consoles were difficult to program, the equipment was expensive. How difficult is all this in support now? How much does all this require the participation of a specialist after installation?
Elizabeth: The question is asked correctly. You've probably heard about the days when computers occupied entire buildings. Technology does not stand still in our area. In order to have a control system at home, there is no need to buy expensive equipment that will overheat.
There is a small box of the desired color, which will be located directly in the system, where the equipment will be located. This box is connected to all equipment and gives out signals for the implementation of certain scenarios. The technique has the ability to break, reboot, for this there is service. All information on the project is stored for a long time on the servers of our company, of which we are one hundred percent sure, therefore it will not be lost.
In the event of a system reboot, power surges, in case the device burns out, do not worry - the device itself is inexpensive, and all the software that you are used to using will be restored. The process is quick and inexpensive, even through the Internet you can do everything yourself with skillful handling of a computer.
Timothy:This used to be a serious problem. I heard that a person had a similar control system for the equipment, and something happened to it, and it was difficult to find a specialist ...
Elizabeth: I will tell this story. I was approached by a person to whom a “smart home” system was installed at home - this is a control unit for curtains, lights and security systems. Features included were few. The system was installed more than five years ago.
In his absence, a power surge occurred, the equipment rebooted, and it turned out that not a single control panel was working. These are the panels that are located around the perimeter of the house. None of the panels could control this system.
The owner, not remembering who put it to him, as it was a long time ago, and the house was built for a long time, tired of the builders, he forgot about the specialists. The owner’s problem was that he didn’t know what kind of system he had installed, and, turning to specialists, he did not understand what kind of equipment and which system was used for control. A man approaches the console, but he does not work. And what to do with it, he does not know.
Timofey: The equipment is distributed around the house. The equipment is different, there may be combinations of different manufacturers. There are many nuances.
Elizabeth: This is a system that runs on a specific brand of management. Management systems also have brands. Many may have heard of AMX systems. This is one of the most popular.
There can be many different brands in the equipment system itself. It all depends on the tasks being implemented on the project. A man is not something that he does not understand, he does not know and does not want to understand this. There is a remote control that does not work today and now, but he needs to turn the light on or off, and he is used to turning it on and off with the remote control and no longer remembers where his switches are.
To find a specialist in the system that is installed in his house, we first found out what kind of system he had. This client could not be helped, because there are few specialists in smart home in Russia. And if they are, then realizing that they are few, they use this to the maximum.
Timothy: I mean that they are asking for huge amounts of money. And there is no alternative!
Elizabeth:Not! Without this specialist, nothing can be done. The remote control has broken. Understanding why it does not work is not as easy as it seems. You have to reprogram the system from scratch. Why? Because every programmer, every technical specialist implements the task in his own way, taking into account the tasks of the customer.
Let's go back to the story with a client whose system broke down in the house. Five months later, the client waited for a specialist who returned from abroad and spent the same amount of money as he spent on programming initially, because he had the system updated again.
Timothy: I, I think, very scared those people who planned to do something like that. Let’s tell you why you shouldn’t be afraid of this!
Elizabeth:You should not be afraid: if you use the right equipment, there will be specialists in Russia.
Timothy: This refers to a technique that is easy to maintain, so as not to wait for five months for the programmer.
Elizabeth: Of course! For example, we have a large company, and our specialists stay with us for many years and grow with us. We create comfortable work for ourselves. We have great opportunities for testing equipment, its use not only at facilities, but also in our showrooms, where we can conduct the test ourselves, see and determine how convenient it is.
And not just one or two people, but a large team can identify all the pros and cons at the stage of thinking about working with a particular brand. Based on the identified pros and cons, we can quickly say how to improve the system or get rid of the cons.
We put the program on a laptop, there are programmed all the necessary actions that the system performs when you click certain buttons. It’s a pity that it can’t be shown - I have an audio debut! When a person sees the management interface open on the iPad, he becomes clear. This does not need to be trained, because the interface is quite simple.
Turn on, click “watch a movie” - the screen opens, the projector turns on, the power amplifier turns on, the curtains close. A whole system is being implemented. Housing is fully controlled with the click of a button, and we enjoy the full effect.
Timothy: We save time by not using a bunch of remotes.
Elizabeth: We save money. The system we use is simple, there is nothing superfluous in it. Compared with some well-known brands, it is several times cheaper and more convenient due to the fact that you are not just buying “all in one box, you need it or not” - it is exactly what you use that is programmed. These are light, curtains, audio and video systems and, if necessary, a video camera.
Timothy: A system is assembled from cubes based on what is required.
Elizabeth: And you do not pay for the product that you do not use. If the house does not manage water supply, then there is no need to pay for it the price that is included in the price of the device.
All control equipment is selected for the task. The price depends on the result you want to get. If this is a complete controlled home with remote access, then this is one money. If you want to simplify your life, then simpler systems are used, convenient and easy to manage.
Timofei: To summarize what has been said, it is worth giving advice to our students: if they are going to install some kind of system before the start of the repair, at the stage of repair planning it is worth thinking about what equipment will be placed in the rooms.
It would be nice to involve specialists in this: designers, architects, as well as specialists in audio equipment, for example, from our company, so as not to compromise in the future with design, sound, functionality, wires, convenience. If you are not applying to Audiomania, but to a private specialist, then you need to trust him very much.
Elizabeth: I’ll tell you why it is necessary to attract specialists to work at the design stage. Why do we need specialists? What can they do? Here is an example of our company:
Given its reputation and turnover in the market, each of the manufacturers invites our employees to their factories. This is not done by the manufacturer for PR, but in order to show the specialist how the product works properly, as the engineer intended.
Manufacturers give recommendations on how, which wires to connect, which equipment is better to use for different speakers. So experience is accumulating. In addition, our specialists implement a large number of projects, and each of our projects is individual and is created for specific tasks: there are no identical tasks. Without a specialist, solving them is often almost impossible.
Timofei: You have to understand that the equipment that controls the equipment in the house is a computer on which not Windows or iOS is installed, but software that is not at the hearing. And the layman does not understand how it works, how it is configured. How to configure.
Elizabeth:The customer does not need to know how it works. For him, the main thing is functionality and convenience, that is, the end result. Looking ahead, I’ll say that by the end of summer, in August, the upgrade of our largest showroom will be completed, where you can come and see how this control system works, which includes a cinema system, get to know the equipment as close as possible , and completely free.
Timothy:We got an advertising podcast. Very often people ask: “Where to turn if not to you?” In our sphere, for example, we constantly encounter theft from the site of our text descriptions. Why? Because there is no one to write. The big problem is no specialists. People have been working with us for years. If we wanted to take a specialist from the outside, then there would be nowhere to take.
Elizabeth: Yes, the problem of many small companies that do not have a large staff is that they do not have the opportunity to send their specialists to train in order to constantly be ahead, to know the equipment, technologies that do not stand still.
And if the company does not have the opportunity to send specialists for training due to the fact that they are busy working on projects, they stop in their professional development and can offer the customer only the equipment that they already work with, thereby reducing the capabilities of the system and the customer.
Timothy: I know that you worked in a small installation company, that is, all these problems are familiar to you firsthand.
Elizabeth:Yes it is. And we coped with the training of specialists. But when they are few, it is difficult to understand who to send to the facility today and who to leave for training, because people are always needed at work. The implementation of work processes, training takes a lot of time, especially when it comes to visiting other countries, factories and on-site training from the manufacturer. This leads to large costs that small companies cannot afford.
You need to consider who you are contacting. Installation companies do not live long in the market, because it is a complex business, if we use complex solutions. Audiomania has many advantages, like a company that provides such services. This is not advertising, I have something to compare.
Audiomania has a huge warehouse. Installation companies do not have such an opportunity - to buy equipment in warehouses. Existing large installation companies are units. It’s good that you found your “own” installer, the capabilities of which suit you. What a score.
In most cases, people do not have the ability to communicate with equipment, with equipment, because they do not buy it in warehouses, in the office, companies do not have showrooms. Or showrooms at the companies are quite outdated.
Technology is the thing where you need to constantly be on the move, to know, be interested, to love what you do. Today, the choice of speakers in terms of design, quality and price is so huge that you can choose for hours. We ourselves test everything, listen to everything, use and discuss with a large team what everyone liked and why they liked, respectively, we can conduct fairly large-scale studies.
Timothy: I hope that we gave useful advice to our listeners. This will allow them to think about installing a similar system at the initial stage, even before the repair. And if suddenly the repair is already completed, and you find yourself in the same position as a large number of people who turned to us at this stage find themselves, then know that there is a solution. You can contact us with questions, we are ready to answer them.
Elizabeth: If we talk about useful tips, I want to immediately give our listeners more advice. Very often people come to me who say: “I bought wonderful speakers, wonderful equipment. The electrician has already laid some wires. ”
Guys, be afraid of electricians! Electricians are different. There are practically no electricians versed in audio and video equipment. This is a complex system. It does not need to be trusted by a layman. It’s better to be safe. We do not take money for consultations, we will prompt, teach, show, let listen.
Do not buy wires in construction markets. This is not the place where similar products are bought. If you start with the design phase, please contact, we will help with pleasure. If you are a designer, come to our workshops and you will be a technically competent specialist who can give advice to your clients on design so that it is modern, high-quality and not only delights the visual component, but also has some kind of “trick” ! [Other recommendations on the topic of home sound are in this our article].