With the significant momentum of wireless technologies in recent years, one of the more common questions audio video integrators are asked is, “What wireless surround-sound system can I have in my home?”
While there are manufacturers that attempt to fill this particular niche with a variety of products, the fact remains that there exist a number of limiting factors for wireless audio in both high fidelity and home theater scenarios.
First, all systems require power cords, whether permanently affixed to devices or temporarily attached while charging. This means no system will be 100 percent cable or wire free.
Next come issues of signal reliability and audio fidelity, both of which are ill served by wireless solutions. While no surround-sound system is completely free of cable or wire runs, there are those that have some components, such as subwoofers and rear speakers, delivering audio via a wireless signal.
What these systems have shown us is that this approach is prone to signal loss and interference, and diminished sound quality. Ultimately, the only method that provides consistent performance or audio acceptable to the audiophile is one that uses a wired solution.
However, this does not mean that if you’re looking for a superior experience that you must be reconciled to having visible wires running throughout your home. Today’s integrators have available to them numerous methods that not only conceal wires and cables, but that also provide additional advantages.
Integrators can organize wires and cables with an aim beyond the obvious need for neatness. Through wire management techniques, your solutions provider can design a structured wiring layout that will provide higher levels of accessibility and ease in manipulation during future upgrades and service calls.
Under preferred circumstances, cables and wiring go to devices from one centralized location. Housed in a closet, cabinet or rack, audio-visual components can be stacked and positioned so that all wires radiate from one area to the varied rooms being serviced.
These central locations frequently include networking equipment, as any integrator should be prepared, and indeed offer, to incorporate hard wiring plans into their A-V solution, since this is the most efficient means of obtaining a strong and consistent feed for video streaming from services such as Netflix.
And this finally brings us to making wires “invisible.” There are various approaches to wire concealment. Using in-wall and in-ceiling speakers will at times simplify matters, as perhaps the most common approach is to run lines in crawl spaces, attics and walls.
The challenge comes when dealing with freestanding speakers. While a little more effort will go into this solution, it becomes an easy task for the initiated when employing wall plates for cable termination and techniques such as running wire behind molding and through channels in speaker stands.
All this begins with sitting down and having a face-to-face conversation with a professional audio and video integrator, and discussing your needs and wants so that a strategy can be mapped out. As with all projects, planning is the key to a flawless execution.
Carlos Ramos is the sales and marketing manager with Custom Audio Video in Bluffton.