How to Make Your Speaker System Your Home's Best Kept Secret

How to Make Your Speaker System Your Home's Best Kept Secret

In the Wall or the Ceiling?

One of the easiest ways to hide your audio is with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Both speakers are recessed into the sheetrock with a mounting bracket, but while the grilles are still noticeable, you can paint those the same color as the walls. And you don't have to worry about the wires since your installer will run them for you.

With in-ceiling speakers, you need to take care of which rooms you put them in since sound travels. So, if you have a young child, having in-ceiling speakers in the room above them might make it hard for them to stay asleep.

Pro Tip: Make sure to choose speakers with full enclosures to minimize sound reflections and keep your sound pure.

Cloak of Invisibility

Have you heard of invisible speakers? They work just like in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, except they don't have exposed grates. Instead, you plaster over invisible speakers, and they stay hidden entirely inside the sheetrock. But don't worry about the quality of your sound — these are designed with superior audio!

The beauty of invisible speakers is that you can also install them within recesses about the size of canned lights so that they blend in with your light fixtures. No matter how often your guests look around, they won't be able to find where the sound is coming from!

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From Outdoor Hangout to Backyard Bash — Which Waterproof Speaker Do You Need?

From Outdoor Hangout to Backyard Bash — Which Waterproof Speaker Do You Need?

Which Waterproofing is Which

Before diving into the different types of speakers, you first need to understand the terminology. Weatherproof speakers and waterproof speakers do not mean the same thing, nor do waterproof or water-resistant speakers. But it's vital to understand which you’re looking to determine which will suit your outdoor audio needs.

  • Waterproof Speakers: Are covered or treated with materials to prevent the permeation of water so that they can come into contact with water without damage.
  • Water-Resistant Speakers: Provides lower protection against water, with coated or treated materials that don't allow water to pass through easily.
  • Water-Repellant Speakers: Offers more protection than water-resistant speakers because they are covered in thin-film nanotechnology.
  • Weatherproof Speakers: Made to withstand the elements, whether that means humidity, steam, rain, or light sprinkles, and come with tough casings and sealed cabinets.

Pro Tip: To survive submersion, waterproof speakers must have an IPX level of 7 or higher.

Wired vs. Wireless Speakers

Deciding whether you need wired or wireless speakers for your outdoor audio is essential since you need to keep the possibilities of wires in mind.

With wired outdoor speakers, you'll have more capacity and control over your musical setup and speakers that outperform any day of the week. These usually have underground wires and an omnidirectional design so anyone can listen to crisp audio from any spot in the yard. But you would need to find more outlets to plug in every speaker.

Wireless weatherproof speakers are designed to be relatively invisible with enclosures meant to blend in the background like rocks, animals, lanterns, flowerpots, etc. You can make your music appear from out of nowhere and have your guests solely focus on the good times!

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5 Tips to Make Your Speaker Last a Lifetime [+1 Bonus!]

5 Tips to Make Your Speaker Last a Lifetime [+1 Bonus!]

1. Dust Be Gone

Dust is possible the most destructive enemy of any speaker. It infiltrates your wire connectors where the wire and metal meet, disrupting the electrical signals and adding annoying noise to your system's sound. Not to mention dust can also damage your wiring and ruin the effectiveness of your speaker.

So how do you fight off dust? Regular cleaning using dust pads, dry cloths, air canisters, and vacuum cleaners. Just make sure to avoid damaging the cone drivers or tweeters, and never, EVER, use any liquids.

You can also place your speakers in a room with minimal dust or store them in a protective case when not in use.

2. Heat, Go Away

Another danger to your speakers is heat, which primarily comes from exposure to the sun. If left in direct sunlight, your speakers can overheat and damage the electromagnetic voice coils and totally ruin your sound.

The best way to avoid heat is to keep your speakers away from any windows and avoid direct sunlight. Don't forget to keep your speakers away from any hot areas in your home like fireplaces, heaters, and vents. And if your speaker has vent holes, make sure to keep them free of obstructions.

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In-ceiling Speakers: Are They Any good? 5 Reasons You Need Them

In-ceiling Speakers: Are They Any good? 5 Reasons You Need Them

How In-Ceiling Speakers Benefit You


In-ceiling speakers aren’t intended to replace floor-standing or mounted speakers. It’s just a way to add some flair to your audio while also limiting some of the clutter. No one is staring into your ceiling arrangement, after all. Apart from decluttering, in-ceiling speakers are beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:

1. Not Costly

The majority of low-cost ceiling speakers provide excellent sound quality and value for money. So, if you’re trying to stick to a strict budget while adding to your home audio, there’s no need to worry about it taking up the entire budget.

2. Impressive Sound Quality

Despite their relatively small size, ceiling speakers can transmit beautifully detailed music from above and even help enhance the surround sound of your speakers. Even theaters use them to add to the surround sound experience, so why not add a couple to your home. 


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How to Find the Perfect Sound System for Your Space

What is Your Ideal Speaker Placement?

So, what is the ideal placement for your sound system? In a perfect world, you'd have a square room with minimal obstructions between you and the speaker. But that's not always possible, and so you'll have to accommodate for what is in each room. Remember that you want enough space for each speaker to have individual audio fields without getting echo-y or otherwise distorted.

What Does That Actually Look Like?

To find the correct placement for your space, you need to do some trial and error to place each type of speaker.

  • Front Left & Right Speakers: Place these far enough apart to distinguish sounds coming from either direction. If your room is asymmetrical, you may need to tinker with the channel's panning and volume levels.
  • Center Channel: Equalize with your front speakers in mind to get a smooth range of sound, especially with dialogue. Most setups have this speaker above or below the screen.
  • Surround Speakers: Space them apart from the same distance as your front speakers or a little wider and face them towards you. Or place them behind your seating position and angle them toward you.
  • Subwoofer: Work in any spot, ideally in a corner with no X-factors like furniture, carpeting, or thick wall construction to interfere. Clean, punchy bass is the goal with no rattling of windows or dishes, so try placing them near your seating locations for the best impression.

What About the Room Size?

Of course, the size of your room is another crucial factor in finding the perfect sound system. You might think that the larger the speaker, the better, but if you don't have enough space for the sound to move, even the best quality speakers will leave you disappointed with your sound system. Instead, you'll need to choose the sound system that fits your space.

Small Rooms

A small room is typically a bedroom-sized room with an 8-ft. ceiling. You'll need to place your speakers about 6 to 8 feet away from the listener. But which speakers should you get? Giant floor speakers will be too much power for this setup, so you're better off with a two- or three-channel system instead. Don't forget to consider on-wall speakers to free up floor space and tweak your sound with acoustic panels.

Pro Tip: Remember that desktop speakers are designed to provide sound at close distances and aren't ideal for a full-room setup.

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Subwoofers: What Are They & Do You Need One for Your Sound System?

Subwoofers: What Are They & Do You Need One for Your Sound System?

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a crucial component of a complete audio system because it delivers lower frequencies between 20 – 200 Hz, which traditional two-channel or surround sound setups can't produce on their own. In fact, subwoofers are responsible for the .1 in a 7.1 sound system to deliver all the low-frequency effects.

Subwoofers work seamlessly with the rest of your sound system as one unit, so you never miss a beat.

How Do They Work?

A subwoofer speaker uses large drivers called woofers to produce deeper sounds. These woofers are typically enclosed in a wood or plastic structure and look like any other speaker. The subwoofer then uses the large woofer and a built-in amplifier that powers the signal to produce deeper, cleaner bass.

But to reproduce high-quality sound, they have to deal with the crossover (when sound transitions from speaker to speaker) and phasing, which deals with the timing differences from identical signals.

  • Low-Pass Crossover: The frequency where your speakers begin to roll off and the subwoofer beings to produce bass notes. Subwoofers work best when you set your crossover to 10 Hz above your speaker's lowest frequency range.
  • 0/180 Degree Phase Switch: Woofers work best when they move forward and backward while in sync, but the bass cancels out if they are out of phase. If that happens, you can use the switch to "dial-in" your subwoofer.

Why Do You Need One?

As we said before, a subwoofer lets you feel the sound in your chest or down your spine instead of simply hearing it. And if you have a glass of water nearby, you can even see it when the sound causes the water to ripple. But there's more to it than that, and once you've experienced that deep bass, you won't want to go back. For instance, subwoofers will:

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The Best Audio Systems for Theater-Like Sound

The Best Audio Systems for Theater-Like Sound

Home Theater Speaker Systems

If the ideal audio setup with theater-like sound involves various speakers mounted around the room, a home theater speaker system is likely the best option. These speaker systems are available in bundles and separately as individual pieces. The system is often made up of several speakers and an audio receiver.

What is the Typical Speaker Configuration?

The base home theater sound system model has 5.1 channels, including five speakers and a subwoofer. The typical 5.1 channel model includes two front speakers, a central speaker, and two rear speakers as well as the subwoofer. It is important to consider that the center speaker and the subwoofer are imperative pieces in this setup. They are the key to achieving a great sound.

Other models include 7.1 channels (seven speakers and a subwoofer) and 11.2 channels (eleven speakers and two subwoofers) for an intense audio setup. An alternative to these systems is an audio receiver paired with bookshelf speakers. This allows more flexibility in placement without losing the professional sound.

Should I Choose a Home Theater in a Box?

A Home Theater in a Box includes all the necessary pieces for theater-like sound. These boxes are a great option for anyone that does not want to pick the combination of speakers, subwoofers, and soundbars. However, it is possible to assemble an entirely custom speaker system by purchasing individual pieces.


A soundbar is a long speaker that plugs directly into the television, eliminating the need for a receiver. They can be incorporated into a full home theater speaker system, paired with a subwoofer, or installed alone. Soundbars come in a variety of brands, sizes, and price points.

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When DIY Doesn’t Cut It: How an AV Expert Can Help

When DIY Doesn’t Cut It: How an AV Expert Can Help

When to DIY

Undertaking your own AV projects in your home may be a necessity if you’re on a time crunch or a tight budget, so long as you’re sure you know what you’re doing. There’s a multitude of online resources — videos and how-to guides — that can help you in this process. Be sure to invest the time to watch and educate yourself, follow directions carefully and choose quality components for your project. Obviously, what you’re capable of will depend on your confidence and experience; but generally, things like wiring outside of the walls or TV/Component installations can be undertaken relatively simply and usually without needing to hire outside help.

When to Hire an Expert

It’s always better to be safe than sorry! If you feel like you’re venturing into territory beyond your experience or comfort level, an AV professional will save you time and money and almost certainly reduce your anxiety level. Naturally, expert installers know the best equipment to use — and can gauge that effortlessly for your needs — as well as the most efficient ways to install these solutions, especially if you’re wanting to avoid unsightly wires everywhere. They can teach you how to use and get the most from the equipment, and how to integrate the solution with other smart home or AV devices so everything works together seamlessly. 

When you hire a qualified AV specialist, you can expect ongoing support, maintenance, and upgrades — an investment that will hopefully last the lifetime of the product or installation. It’s useful to know that if something were to go wrong, you can call on someone knowledgeable to help troubleshoot or pinpoint further issues before they become a major problem. 

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Building a Home That’s Smart, Inside and Outside

Building a Home That’s Smart, Inside and Outside

WHAT Do You Want to Listen To?

When asked this question, the most common answer is, “I want to play music from my phone through the outdoor speakers.” There are two ways to accomplish this — wirelessly stream the music from your phone to the audio system OR use your phone to tell a media player located connected inside what to play.

Wirelessly streaming music from your phone can be done. But it may be problematic if you don’t have good WiFi coverage everywhere in your yard. There can also be issues with wireless interference or dropouts and interruptions due to incoming phone calls, texts, and push notifications. Oftentimes, the better option is to have your technology integrator specify and install a media player that can stream your favorite music services (Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, etc.) or access your music library. You can use your phone, tablet, or remote to tell the system what to play and not have to worry about disruptions.

But music isn’t your only option here. If you have a TV on the patio, we can route the TV audio through your outdoor audio system instead of relying on just the TV speakers. Some systems will also allow paging to the outdoor space or the ability to hear the front doorbell when you’re out by the pool.

WHERE Do You Want to Hear It?

When we plan for audio on the inside of the house, we generally specify which rooms we want speakers in and the quality of sound we desire for each space. Outdoors is no different. Even though one might think of the backyard as one big space, it makes sense to break it up into sections or zones.

Some of those areas might be semi-enclosed, like a screened-in patio. Others like the pool area have no ceiling or walls that direct or contain the sound. The characteristics of each zone will significantly influence the type of speakers that make sense for that area.

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How to Set Up a Home Theater

How to Set Up a Home Theater

At a Glance:

Why You Should Get a Home Theater

Your Home Theater Budget

Home Theater Design

Equipment for Your Home Theater

What Does Home Theater Installation Entail?

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Why You Need to Upgrade to a Home Audio System


Sound is special. It’s the difference between watching somebody strum a weird wooden shape and listening to somebody perform Bach on bass guitar.

The importance of sound isn’t just limited to concert performances or watching your kid’s school band play “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” for the millionth time, either. It’s also important at home and can bring a whole new level of immersion to your music, TV shows, and movies.

For those of you that aren’t quite convinced -- or are still on the fence about ditching your old dusty system and upgrading to something new -- we took the liberty of putting together some reasons why – and how -- a new hi-fi home audio system will change your family’s life for the better.

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Multi-Room Audio: Turn Your Home into a Musical Adventure


It’s time to take music everywhere.

Back in the day, listening to music used to be tethered to the physical realm: The vinyl goes on the platter or the disc goes into the player, you sit close by, and you listen through speakers or headphones connected to player. And that was pretty much it.  

But that’s not the way it is anymore.

With multi-room audio systems, you and your music are free of physical wires and media. Music can flow throughout your whole house — all wirelessly. Let’s take a look at what is possible for multi-room audio, and what awesome features you are missing out on.

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It’s Summer Movie Season: Prepare Your Home Theater!


It’s summer movie season, and that means it’s time to recline those seats, pop some popcorn, and figure out who gets to choose the first film for summer movie nights! 

The best part of having a home theater is that you don’t have to leave your house for amazing picture and sound. With your home theater at the ready, you and your family can make your own summer movie nights – all from the comfort of your couch or other home theater seating. 

Before you settle in for summer blockbuster after summer blockbuster, you need to make sure your favorite room in the house is ready to go! Our experts at AV Design Consultants want to ensure your whole family has seamless summer entertainment experiences, so keep reading to find out where to focus your efforts to get the most movie magic possible. 

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