Providing quality, reliability and simplicity in a home designed for music lovers
At the start of the pandemic, World Wide Stereo was approached to design and install a whole home audio and control system within an old New England home. The client — who has been a World Wide Stereo client for 25 years — is a music lover who enjoys entertaining friends and family. The first objective of the design was to install a sleek, non-intrusive audio system that would allow for music throughout the home. Next, the system had to be reliable and simple to navigate.
“It had to be easy. Everyone in the family should be able to use it,” said Ron Rumer, chief regional sales director of World Wide Stereo. “We didn’t want frustration to set in with an overcomplicated system design. Finally, the system needed to work consistently and not oscillate with an inconsistent network. Fortunately, World Wide Stereo is known for its expertise in configuring and deploying high-performance Wi-Fi networks in any application.”
The Backbone of Every Installation
Rumer credits the network as being the technological key to a successful project. “The foundation, for all of our systems, is a high-performance Wi-Fi network,” he said. “If they don’t get a high-performance, high-quality Wi-Fi network, the rest of the system will struggle from a performance standpoint.” After years of trying multiple residential network systems, World Wide Stereo now relies on Ruckus as its go-to wireless solution. “Ruckus is rock solid and it’s all enterprise-grade,” said Rumer. “It’s probably the only thing in our clients’ houses that’s going to work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.”
The home’s network was also connected to World Wide Stereo’s technical service group. This in-house service monitors clients’ networks to provide a smooth and efficient problem-solving experience. In the event of a critical network disconnect, the team is able to speed up response time by proactively providing a resolution.
Just Another Stone in the Wall
World Wide Stereo was able to begin rough-in early after the home had been stripped down to the studs. However, a unique issue arose due to the house’s age and original build. Stone walls lined the interior of the home, becoming an obstacle in getting equipment and wiring to its destination and properly installed.
“Much of the interior was stone, so channeling out and getting to where we need to be became a challenge,” admitted Rumer. “But the wire had to get where it had to get, so we’d open the wall up and make it happen.”
This wasn’t the only wiring issue that the team encountered. Service cables that ran across the back of the property hadn’t been buried properly by previous electricians and became damaged in the installation of the patio. Electricians and service workers were brought in to get a conduit installed and replace the service cable.
Perhaps the most daunting challenge that the team encountered was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was briefly shut down and eventually resumed with necessary health and safety protocols in place. Managing the wrench that the pandemic threw into the project timeline was no easy task. Scheduling time on the jobsite in conjunction with other members of the project — all while adhering to health guidelines — made it necessary for every minute to count.
“There is only so much as a company you can control,” said Rumer. “You really had to bring your A-game and be able to anticipate anything else that could happen.”
He went on to emphasize the difficulty of navigating a project of that size under the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. “It was such a difficult time to pull something of that magnitude together, [but] everyone worked really well together.” Rumer’s philosophy for overcoming these problems and creating a smooth functioning project is simply solid and constant communication. “Communication is key. Everybody’s got to communicate and look out for each other for the job to be successful.”
Creating Space for Music Lovers & Control for Entertaining
When it came to designing the heart of the installation, the homeowners wanted to use Sonos as the foundation for the music solution. Sonos had been integrated into several of their previous homes and they had a level of comfort with the functionality of the Sonos app. With Bowers & Wilkins in-ceiling speakers installed in virtually every room (including the sun porch, bathrooms and closet), a Sonance landscape system outdoors around the fire pit, and Sonance Mariner speakers on the covered porch, the family needed a simple way to manage these devices. Utilizing the Sonos app, the homeowners were able to control the audio independently or within a set audio group as they moved throughout the home.
When it came to the integration of audio and video in the family room, the interior design of the space needed to be considered. “So much of what we do now is all visual,” said Rumer, while acknowledging the clients’ request for a discrete technology solution and shift within the industry towards a heavily visual space. Rumer and his team designed the technology based on the visual center of the room.
In the family room, a Sony Master Series screen was chosen based on the slim line of the display along with the immersive sound of the acoustic screen. Leon Speaker’s Tonecase mounting system was used to attach the Sonos ARC soundbar directly to the display. This created a sleek and unobtrusive visual of the television when walking down the hallway into the room.
The crowning achievement of the project was the wine bar. Outfitted with beer taps, wine refrigerators and pub tables, it was already a great space. But World Wide Stereo knew they had the ability to kick it up a notch. The team designed an a la carte Dolby Digital Atmos system, complete with an in-wall JL Audio subwoofer. The 65-in. Sony TV was flanked on each side with custom-made Leon Profile LCR side-mounted speakers showcasing a blend of quality tech and modern design. For control, the team went with a URC system with both a touch panel and a handheld remote, giving access to different experiences depending on the situation.
Bringing All The Pieces Together
The client said, “We’ve been working with World Wide Stereo for about 25 years now, through at least two houses where we’ve integrated sound systems as part of the design and World Wide Stereo has been with us every step of the way.”
And that’s what Rumer and World Wide Stereo are about: relationships. “You meet people, you establish a relationship, you figure out what the perfect solution is and what they really need,” he said. “Then you execute and be there for them afterward. That’s a win for everybody.” Rumer loves being on a call with a client after project completion and hearing music playing over their new sound system in the background — it shows that all the challenging work paid off.
But with a communicative environment like the one that this project took place in, the blend of design and quality technology won’t be an issue for Rumer and the team at World Wide Stereo. It is always a collaboration.