Category: Highland Park IL

Be Fully Immersed In Your Home Theater with Surround Sound

There are many ways to implement a home theater into any home, large or small.  The scale of the home theater, and its features, may change slightly, but a home theater makes a great addition to any home.  But, no home theater will ever be as immersive or enjoyable as your local movie theater without surround sound. Surround sound is the only way to get that true, full movie theater experience.

Whether you have a media room or a fully dedicated home theater, you can incorporate surround sound.  Going to the movies is more than just watching and listening to a video that is projected onto a screen.  It is a full sensory experience that draws your attention in makes you forget about everything else going on outside of the room.  When movies are filmed and the audio is mixed for the movie, every tiny detail is attended to.  That means that, in a movie, when a bird flies by, or a plane flies by, or a ball bounces on a court, or an explosion happens, or someone calls a name from far off in the distance, the audio is designed to be experienced uniquely.  In a theater, if a plane flies by, the audio travels across the room so that you experience the film on a different, more realistic and immersive level.  That same kind of sound quality and complete immersion can be experienced in your home theater with professional design, installation, and the right equipment.

Surround sound is more than just placing speakers strategically around the room (though this is certainly an important component.  Surround sound channels will include side, rear, and overhead speakers, a subwoofer, and AV receiver.  Ultimately, the types and placement of speakers will depend on your room, aesthetics, and surround sound goals.  That is why professional design and installation by an experienced professional is so important.  Without experience and knowledge, surround sound installation may not live up to its true potential but with professional quality design and installation, you can have the immersive movie theater experience that you want, right in your own home.

Stream the Best Sounding Music in Your Highland Park, IL Home

Enjoying a whole home audio system should be easy – and it is when you work with a dedicated and experienced professional installer. But if you’re new to smart technology or if you’re looking for an upgrade, you may want to brush up on certain details of the experience. That’s why we’ve put together this blog. We want to help you understand what you need to know if you’re interested in investing in a system of your very own. Want to learn more? Keep reading!


MP3 Is Dead

If you’ve built a music collection within the past decade, chances are you’ve obtained a few MP3s in your day. The MP3 was somewhat revolutionary in its heyday because it allowed users to store thousands of files in small digital spaces. That meant you could bring your music with you wherever you went thanks to MP3 players like Apple’s iPod.

But all of that content came with a cost: MP3s gave up bits of information to compress them into file sizes small enough to store. That meant they inherently sounded worse than your average 16- or 24-bit CD. Audiophiles then had to face a dilemma: enjoy a wide array of songs that simply didn’t sound great, or invest in much larger, lossless files that offered higher quality but were much less convenient to store.

Then, in the early part of 2017, the original creators of MP3 announced that they would no longer license the technology necessary to manufacturers to play the format. The MP3 was dead – what were music lover’s to do?

Lossless Is the Future

Since the end of the MP3 there have been plenty of developments in the audio world. One of the biggest has been the emergence of lossless audio streaming. Lossless files had been notoriously hard to store and nearly impossible to stream, but thanks to the advent of Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) files, streaming services like Spotify and Tidal have begun offering lossless account tiers for their clients.

That means you’ll want a system that can handle lossless streaming (and 4K video if you’re upgrading with a full AV distribution system) without losing quality. Whether you choose a wireless Sonos system, a hardwired system connected with fiber-optic cables, you can enjoy full-quality audio anywhere in your home.

Are you ready to enjoy lossless music in all of your spaces with smart whole home audio solutions? Contact Davis Audio today!

Highland Park, IL Residents Deserve the Ultimate in Convenience

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that smart home automation is all about convenience. From one-touch controls of all your connected devices, to components that function automatically, smart technology is the perfect lifestyle upgrade. But what if there were an even more convenient way to command all of your home’s technology? Over the past few years, voice control has begun to dominate the industry, becoming the primary interface for many home automation systems. In this blog, we’ll explore how you can take advantage of a voice control system in your Highland Park, IL property.


Defining Voice Control Automation

So what exactly is voice control automation? It’s the ability to command your devices simply by speaking to them. Of course, it’s not as simple as telling your coffee maker to brew a cup for you – you need the right technology to make it work. Within the last few years, Amazon revolutionized voice control with their Alexa interface. Alexa is capable of understanding words and phrases in most languages and accents. Since its introduction, Alexa has skyrocketed in popularity and today most major smart home manufacturers sport compatibility with it.

More recently, Google has jumped onboard the voice control train with their Google Home product. Similar to Alexa, Home offers the ability to control connected devices just by saying a few words, and it uses the internet to help it understand what you’re saying.

How it Works

The voice control interface integrates with most smart home manufacturing systems, allowing you the same level of compatibility. Alexa allows you to download different apps to “teach” it new commands. Once you’ve downloaded the appropriate app for your smart home system, you can begin controlling it.

But why connect your Alexa to a smart home system? Wouldn’t you get the same level of control if you integrate your Alexa directly with simple, DIY devices like Sonos wireless speakers and NEST thermostat? The simple answer is no: while you’d be able to control those devices, you wouldn’t have the same level of convenience that a smart home provides.

A smart home is a system that allows each device to speak to the others so you don’t have to command everything when you want something done. For instance, control over your lights is fun and convenient. However, controlling your lights and shades with the same command is a lot more convenient. If your home is truly smart, you should affect multiple devices with a single button or word, and it should take care of the rest.

Are you interested in making your home smarter with voice control home automation? Contact Davis Audio today for more information!

Get the Most out of Your Lights

If you’re a fan of smart automation, or you simply want to make intelligent changes to your Highland Park, IL property, home lighting control is the perfect place to start. Whether you want to monitor energy usage, keep your home safe or simply make your spaces more beautiful, smart lighting is a one-touch solution. With customizable controls that fit your lifestyle, you can take advantage of a safe, efficient and beautiful system that will transform the way you see your spaces. Read on for more.


Lighting for Beauty

Perhaps the most obvious use of lighting is making your home more beautiful. Integrated lighting helps you do just that, easier than before. With a single touch on your tablet or smartphone, you can raise or dim the lights in a room for the perfect setting. In fact, many manufacturers work with voice control apps like Alexa, so you can simply say what you want and enjoy.

Additionally, smart lighting systems are grouped into zones, so you can operate them separately. Say you want to highlight a new art piece: just raise the key lights and dim surrounding units to draw the eye to what’s important. You can even save the setting as a “scene” and return to it at will.

Lighting for Energy Management

A key factor for many homeowners when integrating any kind of smart technology is energy usage. With the winds of winter keeping Illinois in a deep chill, you’re probably looking for ways to reduce energy costs while still keeping your spaces warm. Automated lighting can help.

With a properly installed lighting system, you can receive real-time information on your light usage. If you’re using too much, you can remotely dim or shut off the lights in any room. You can also integrate occupancy sensors, which turn the lights on when someone enters a room, and off when they leave.

Lighting for Security

While the way your home looks and how efficiently it uses energy are important, many homeowners love the idea that smart lighting can help keep them safe. With smart settings that work in tandem with your surveillance and security systems, you can avoid potential break-ins.

When you leave the house, you can set your lights to alternate between rooms, making it look as if you’re home even if you’re miles away. Moreover, you can install floodlights to activate any time sensors detect motion in your yard, which will likely scare away anyone or anything that may be meddling there.

These are just a few of the ways home lighting control can benefit your property. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Davis Audio and Video today!

Consider these Possibilities for Your Highland Park Home

If you’ve decided to make 2017 the year you embrace smart technology in your Illinois home, then the big question you’ll need to answer is which technologies to pursue first. One of the fantastic things about automation systems is that they are fully customizable, so you can pick and choose the elements that matter most to you. Below, we cover the five most popular smart home automation components to help you get started.

1.   Lighting and Shading Control

Create the perfect lighting levels in your home effortlessly through lighting and shading control. All of your lights, from the living room lamps to the outdoor pathway lighting, can respond instantly to your command. It’s a system that not only aids in convenience and comfort but also improves energy efficiency.

This goes beyond simply turning the lights on and off remotely. With lighting control, you can save preset “scenes” that create the perfect lighting environment for any given activity. So when you’re ready to start watching the latest blockbuster in your media room, just press the “Movie” button on your smart home system to automatically dim the lights and close the window shades (along with the TV, surround sound system, and Blu-ray player if you’d like). You can also use smart sensors to save energy by turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms, closing the shades on particularly sunny days, etc.

2.   Whole Home Audio

Nothing beats high-quality music that you can enjoy in every area of your home. Typically, stereo systems are isolated to individual rooms, and if you want to continue listening to your favorite album in another part of the house, you have to pause the music in one room and then go through the process of turning on the stereo and finding the right song once you reach the next room.

Whole home audio systems allow you to skip that entire hassle. Your music enjoyment becomes a cohesive experience. As you move throughout the house, the same song is playing wherever you are. And because all the sound equipment is connected as one system, you never have to struggle to find the right remote or go room to room in order to adjust the volume. Instead, all you need is your smartphone, tablet, or remote.

3.   Distributed Video

The average American household has at least three TVs. A distributed video system connects all of your media devices together for ease of use. It’s a system that eliminates many of the hassles you probably didn’t even realize took up time and effort throughout your day.

For one, you can get rid of duplicate devices like Blu-ray players or cable boxes. Instead, one media player can connect to every TV in the home. Want to continue watching a movie in another room? Just pull out your phone or smart remote, press a button, and it will pick up at the exact same spot on the other TV. You can even select a show for your kids and start playing it in a room on the other side of the house, right from your phone.

4.   Climate Control

Imagine never having to fiddle around with a thermostat again. Modern smart thermostats are able to intelligently improve climate management over time, learning your habits and preferences. The result is a home that is always the right temperature for comfort. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, smart thermostats allow you to control the climate remotely from your phone or tablet. So if you’re driving home on a chilly day and prefer to be greeted with a particularly warm and cozy room, just pull out your phone and set the temperature to rise before you arrive.

5.   Surveillance

While you can always use your phone or tablet to review information about your home such as the current temperature, music that’s playing, whether the lights are on, etc., sometimes it’s nice to be able to see each room. With smart surveillance cameras, you can access real-time footage of your home whenever you want.

So while you’re on vacation and you have that niggling doubt that you left the stove on, all you have to do is pull out your phone and select the kitchen camera to put your mind at ease. You could check to see who is ringing the doorbell, whether the kids are in the playroom, if the garage door is closed…the practical applications are endless.

Start with one smart technology or do them all at once—with smart home automation, we can design a fully custom solution for you. For more information, give us a call today at (312) 423-7938 or fill out this quick form to schedule a free consultation.