When less is more in your AV cabinet

What a cabling nightmare!

If the Toronto snow storm wasn’t enough last night, I had the pleasure today of finding the worst wiring mess and complicated multi-room audio system I’ve come across in almost a decade. I definitely won’t mention who the AV integrator was but it’s not the first rescue job I’ve had following in their footsteps.

This client called us because their FM tuner was no longer working and they just wanted to listen to the radio. Simple request…

I show up and here’s what I find: A Russound 6 Room system with every single option on the planet. They had FM, Bluetooth, iPOD, XM Sat, Bell Sat, CD Player, Bluray and my favourite…the $4,000 Escient Music server. Count the sources…that’s 8 sources and the clients couldn’t use a single one.

The photo below is AFTER I’ve taken out half the equipment that hasn’t been used in 3 years. I didn’t get an after cleanup photo but they got at least half their family room cabinet shelving back.

Since the original install, the clients also added Apple TV and Bell Fibe but they had to keep the original Bell Satellite receiver heating their cabinet because the power cord couldn’t be accessed. The lower cabinet had all the power bars (4 of them) hidden behind a fixed panel. Not only was this a horrible looking mess it was also impossible to service.

So, I shed a few layers and started by unplugging almost every device I knew could be removed. The Bell Sat, XM tuner, FM Tuner, bluetooth receiver, iPOD dock, CD player and most importantly the Escient Server. If anyone wants this equipment, you can likely find it on Kijiji in Toronto 🙂

If I remember my pricing sheets from 5-7 years ago, this system would have cost approximately $12,000 to setup, install and program in about a week.

WOW how have times changed. Today’s multi-room systems now take less than a day to setup and most of that time is physically installing the speakers and connecting the amps. Once we have the system online, most of the setup is automatic (as long as the WiFi network is strong and stable but that’s a rant for another day).

So instead of helping simplify the clients’ lives with an easy to use music system, these technicians thought it would be worth while setting up every single available source on the planet…just because they could.

I’m surprised they forgot the turntable!!! (BTW I have a turntable at home and love the simplicity).

Let’s talk solutions

Instead of replicating the problem and trying to upgrade these clients I wanted to give them what they needed. I used a single SONOS Connect to give them AM/FM Internet radio that is crystal clear. I also setup their MAC with SONOS desktop software so they can play any iTunes music they already own. They also had a Songza account so I added to SONOS so they could get ready for Holiday parties and enjoy great playlists.

For just a few hundred dollars, I was able to simplify their systems. The Russound system now stays on a single input and they can use their iPhones and iPads to control the music they want. Nothing complicated and they are happy.

Isn’t that what every family wants? A simple to use system for a reasonable price.

If you are having problems or you find your system a royal pain to use, book an appointment and I guarantee we can find a way to simplify your systems.

Now I need to get home and shovel my back deck so I can BBQ :-).


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