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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

The Venerable iPod Helps Me Deliver on a Promise

Posted on September 3, 2013 at 1:00 PM

When a long-term client came to my showroom and told me he was building a new swimming pool in his backyard and wanted to ensure that he had really impressive but simple-to-use audio for entertaining, I knew I had the perfect solution.

One of the benefits of being an equipment reviewer on top of my day-job, custom installer gig is that I get to experience and play with an array of products I might not normally consider or even be aware of. To me, this is also one of the real benefits to attending tradeshows like the upcoming CEDIA Expo; there is nothing like being able to lay your hands on, touch, feel and experience a product in person. (This is also a great argument for a local factory rep, who can bring equipment to your to demo, but that is a blog for another day...)

So, when he showed me the blueprints for his new pool area, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to use the new Sonance SLS outdoor audio system I reviewed for Resi Systems earlier. With its scalability and daisy-chain wiring scheme, it would allow us to use the perfect number of satellite speakers to fully cover the listening area and allow for expansion down the road as he built a planned pool house.

While the SLS system – with a Crown CDi1000 amp, 10 LS47 satellites and 10-inch sub – cost more than he had initially wanted to spend for the basic array of rock speakers he had been envisioning, when I described the quality of the audio that I experienced in my own backyard, he trusted me enough to make the investment.

While his home had an existing, legacy Elan housewide audio system, the system used “dumb” keypads that offered no metadata feedback on the keypads and didn’t provide any kind of portable control. When he described how he wanted to use the audio in the space – easy control by the pool, access to Sirius satellite radio and his stored music library – it made the most sense to make the pool area its own zone, off the Elan system.

I felt the perfect source solution was a Sonos Connect. Now I realize a lot of integrators are divided on the use of Sonos. In fact, fellow Resi blogger, Todd Anthony Puma, recently put up a great piece, “Does Sonos Fit into the Custom Integration Business Model?” that considered both sides of the “should I/shouldn’t I?” question about using Sonos on projects. The post generated quite a few comments both from Sonos supporters and detractors and is worth reading if you missed it.

For me, I see Sonos as a tool, and like any tool, there are times when it is the right solution and times when it isn’t. And for this single zone solution with iOS control, I felt that it was the correct choice. I have yet to have a customer that didn’t absolutely love the Sonos interface (foreshadowing) and I was confident that this client and his wife were destined to be another success story.

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Categories: September 2013, CTA, Music