Upgrading your home by adding a home theater, whole house music systems, and smart home technology will make time around the house with your family simpler and more fun! It can also have a substantial impact on your home’s value!
Every family is different, so there aren’t universal solutions that work well for everyone. You need a provider that will take the time to understand your needs, develop a plan that fits the way you will use the technology in your home, and perform quality work with products that are built to last.
Here are some important things to keep in mind while choosing an audio/video and home technology provider for your next project.
The experience of a company and its employees is critical to delivering the best solution. Each job will inevitably bring out-of-the-box challenges. Look for a company and team of installers who have done at least a thousand or more custom installations.
Solving a wide range of problems over and over is the best way to build expertise. Providers with this level of experience will be best equipped to deliver a complete solution that sounds great, looks great, and works within the existing structure of your home.
What to Ask:
- How many years have you been in business?
- How many systems have you built?
As the largest custom A/V and home technology dealer and integrator in the Carolina’s, Audio Advice brings 38 years of experience and unmatched depth of knowledge to its customers. In that time, we’ve installed systems in over 20,000 customers homes and have seen and solved every imaginable challenge.
Sometimes it’s ok to cut corners. Installing customer technology solutions in your home isn’t one of those times. While solutions may be crafted at a wide range of price points, you do not want to sacrifice quality. In our industry, quality can be broken down into three core components.
A well-designed system should integrate seamlessly with your life and your home. This means it should be easy to use, perform well, and integrate visually with your home. Even the best products available will disappoint if speaker placement, room acoustics, and sight lines aren’t taken into consideration during the design of your system.
The quality of products used by your provider will make a huge difference in terms of quality and longevity of your system. Most people understand the value of good quality primary components such as receivers, televisions, and speakers, but the “supporting cast” of your system are equally important. Using high-quality connectors, cables, and filters ensure that you get the most out of your system.
Like any industry, companies and products come and go. Choose high-quality products backed by solid manufacturers. Ask your provider about the reputation of the manufacturer, how long the products have been on the market and how they’ve performed for other customers
Having a great design and quality products means you have everything you need to get a great custom solution in your home. All that’s left now is the installation.
The first hurdle is getting all of the various components of your system to work together. With a variety of manufacturers and product lines, this process will be somewhat unique in every situation. Having an experienced installation team who has seen it all will ensure that the end result matches the original vision and design.
Something that folks often overlook is the fact that getting the system to function is only half the battle. Here are a few examples of other things every good installation team should keep in mind during a job.
- Are the components being cooled correctly to avoid overheating?
- Are racks and cables neat and properly labeled for easy upgrading and service?
- Are cables run properly in order to avoid interference and hum?
What to Ask:
- How long have the products I am buying been on the market?
- What is the quality of the cables, connectors, and other products you’re using behind the scenes to make everything work?
At Audio Advice, we take pride in providing the highest quality products and services, regardless of price point. Our team will take you through our process step-by-step to ensure that you get a system that exceeds all of your expectations and adds enjoyment to your life.
For folks who are incorporating a system into a new home construction or a remodel, getting Audio Advice involved with your builder, architect, or contractor as early as possible will help us design the perfect solution.
From the visually stunning theater to the perfectly organized rack in your closet, our customers can rest assured that every care is taken to implement the highest quality solution. For your benefit, we simply refuse to cut corners.
Service and Support
Ask your provider how long they warranty their products and their work. Systems are becoming more complex and are starting to live at the center of the functionality of the home. As such, you will want to be confident that your provider can service the equipment you purchase for years to come. Ask to see their service department. Visit the company’s facilities and assess the operations to get a sense of their viability and how they will service your investment over the next one, five, and ten years.
What to Ask:
- Do you back your products and services?
- How large is your service team? How much experience do they have?
- Can I expect you to be around and able to service my system during it’s life?
Audio Advice maintains one of the most advanced service departments in the Southeast. Our team of service specialists are available seven days a week and we have 24/7 on-call emergency service. The team includes bench technicians who work at our 15,000 square foot facility in Raleigh and on-site service personnel who work directly in our customers homes. Our company was founded in 1978 and is among the most respected providers in our industry.
For safety reasons, the government requires certification for anyone doing electrical work in the home. This is an area that you do not want to cut corners. Whether installing a lighting system or pulling wire to a new plasma screen, a certified electrician is not only a safety essential, it is mandated by law for your protection.
What to Ask:
- Do you have a full-time licensed electrician on staff?
Audio Advice maintains a full time licensed team member with an Unlimited Classification.
Industry Association and Certifications
At a minimum, you will want your provider to be a member of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). In addition, it is a good idea to find a provider that is a member of a larger dealer group which provides some stability and competitive pricing.
What to Ask:
- Are you a member of CEDIA?
- Are you a member of a dealer group? If so, does your dealer group provide any added benefit beyond product purchasing.
Audio Advice is a member of CEDIA and Home Technology Specialists of America. Leon Shaw, the founder and chairman of Audio Advice, is the president of the HTSA. The HTSA is a group of 60 dealer members who collaborate and share best practices in order to provide the highest level of products and services to their customers across the country.
A company’s reputation is one of the best ways to find out how it will perform for you. Ask the company for reference letters and examples of its work published by national magazines.
What to Ask:
- Have you won any local or national awards?
Audio Advice has received more awards and honors than any other provider in the Carolinas. Some awards include TWICE Magazine Best Specialty Retailer in the US, Metro Magazine Best Home Media System Retailer, Audio Video International Magazine Top 10 Retailer of the Year, CE Pro magazine Top 5 Customer Electronics Integration Specialist, and Electronic House Magazine Best Home Theater $75,000-$150,000.
Choose Your Provider
Once you have thoroughly researched and vetted your options, you should feel confident that you are equipped to make an educated decision. If you’re located within our service area (North Carolina and parts of Virginia and South Carolina), we hope you choose to contact Audio Advice. If not, we hope that you find this information valuable and we wish you the best of luck in your search!