The sights and sounds at today’s communities rival that of the local BestBuy. Take the 56-story Austonian in Austin, Texas, which features a high-end media room (pictured above) complete with a motorized projection screen; high-performance speakers; surround sound; stadium-style seating for 12; and a wireless tablet controller.
Multifamily owners and developers consider audio/visual equipment differentiators for their properties. Typically, they are more likely to invest in common areas, not residential units. “It is simply cost-prohibitive when multiplied across several hundred units,” says Mike Whaling, partner and vice president of business development for InfiniSys Electronic Architects, an Ormond Beach, Fla.-based firm that helps multifamily operators with technology-related issues.
For those developers who do make the investment, InfiniSys is evaluating tech gadgets such as the wireless music system Sonos ZonePlayer S5 from Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Sonos, which allows users to control the system from an iPod or iPad interface. “This saves on the expense of purchasing separate controllers,” Whaling says. “Now, one device can be used as both a leasing tool and to manage building systems from anywhere on the property.”
Mount Up: SoundTube Entertainment’s new 31-EZ Series offers surface-mount, ceiling-mount, and in-wall 3-inch speakers. They feature a new SoundTube-exclusive mounting system that rotates 0 to 90 degrees, connected to a wall plate that swivels 173 degrees in both directions. With all wires connecting at the speaker’s wall plate back box, installations contain no visible wires. Components are weatherized for indoor or outdoor use. For more information, call SoundTube at 435-647-9555 or visit www.soundtube.com.
Rock On: RockSolid outdoor speakers from Induction Dynamics offer high-quality audio from a molded polyurethane shell shaped like a large rock. Unlike other “rock” speakers that use a rock-shaped enclosure for a standard speaker, the RockSolid surface is the speaker. The result is omnidirectional coverage and high-fidelity sound that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The speakers are available in three standard colors—sandstone, charcoal, and red rock—as well as custom colors. For more information, call Induction Dynamics at 866-663-9770 or visit www.inductiondynamics.com.
Sing-along: The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 is an all-in-one wireless music system that can be controlled with an iPhone, iPod Touch, or any Sonos controller. The system features five integrated speakers and five dedicated digital amplifiers and can play the same song in every room or different songs in different rooms. For more information, call Sonos at 800-680-2345 or visit www.sonos.com.
Well-Connected: Channel Vision Well Connected Home has a new line of iBus wall-mounted docks made for Apple iPod. This line features three models that offer affordable integration into nearly all multi-room, multi-source audio/video systems. By placing the wall dock next to or around a standard light switch, iPods can be easily accessed for convenient charging, multi-room audio, composite video, or picture viewing. For more information, call Channel Vision at 800-840-0288 or visit www.channelvision.com.
Slim and Trim: The Mythos XTR-50 is a slim and stylish speaker from Definitive Technology. The 1.5-inch deep loudspeaker can be installed on a wall or next to an ultra-thin TV. It delivers a level of high performance previously thought impossible in shallow enclosure speakers by combining the thin profile of panel speakers with the high-definition detail, bass, and dynamic range performance of a high-quality dynamic speaker. For more information, call Definitive Tech at 800-228-7148 or visit www.definitivetech.com.
Silver Screen: Draper manufactures a variety of projection screens. One of its most popular products is the Artisan Series, which complements the furniture in media rooms with its solid hardwood or contemporary laminate case. Custom finishes are available, as well as custom sizes. The screens mount flush to wall with Z-clips or suspend from the ceiling. For more information, call Draper at 800-238-7999 or visit www.draperinc.com.