The Art Of Sound Design For Philip Tasho, art and music go hand in hand.

Meticulous in presentation, art fills the walls as well-appointed furnishings create an impressive surrounding that is as much art gallery as it is comfortable living space. To add audio and video into this setting, it was imperative that Magnolia followed this aesthetic tone. So Ken Eddy, Specialty Sales Manager/System Designer, and Adam Robinson, Project Manager, worked very closely with Mr. Tasho’s interior designer to ensure that technology blended fluidly with the home’s design. In the end, Magnolia gave Mr. Tasho a simple-to-use system that is elegant in its design while delivering the acoustic and visual quality he craves.

A retrofit that fits perfectly

When working with any space, especially one with such an emphasis on design, bringing in technology post-build can not only be difficult, but intrusive. As Ken told us, Magnolia was up to the challenge. “You wouldn’t think this was a retrofit. There was so much attention to detail, maintaining the look of the home, finding the path of least resistance to put in these electronics, putting things in so you would never know that all this A/V came in afterwards.”

Adam added, “It’s a very high-end unit. We needed to be very delicate with everything — we cut access holes throughout the unit, not causing any damage. And because we ran cable from the back of the condo all the way out to the patio, there really wasn’t an area we didn’t touch.”

One of the challenges of this retrofit was putting the TV into the backsplash in the kitchen, not because of its unique location, but because of the backsplash itself. “The backsplash is completely custom. It’s a single piece of glass, so there was no room for error. One chip or crack and we’d have to replace the entire thing,” Adam told us.

“It’s a nice way to get a TV in that room without being intrusive,” Ken told us. “It’s got a stainless steel bezel to match the appliances, and since it’s a Seura weatherproof TV, you don’t have to worry about splashing water or grease on it: it’s always going to work.”

Network functionality was also very important. Mr. Tasho wanted a robust Wi-Fi network. With this being a condo, he didn’t want interference from neighboring units. So Magnolia installed a Ruckus system with three access points. The zone director, which moves his Wi-Fi signal automatically to the strongest access point, ensures he never loses functionality no matter where he is in in the condo or out on his patio.

For audio, it was essential to have high quality music in every room, without disturbing his neighbors. So Magnolia created 9 zones of audio, allowing Mr. Tasho to listen to as many as 9 different musical selections throughout his home. There are even two separate zones in the bathroom—one in the main bath, the other over the shower. This allowed for a cleaner listening experience when in the shower, while eliminating any echo issues.

To improve sound and isolate speaker noise from his neighbors, every speaker also includes a speaker box. “This box behind each speaker traps the audio and improves the performance of the speaker,” Ken told us. “It also prevents the sound from exiting behind the speaker. An in-ceiling speaker will bleed a lot of the sound, and with other units around Mr. Tasho’s, the last thing he wanted was sound to bleed into his neighbor’s space.”

To bring better quality sound to his ultra-thin televisions, Magnolia connected every TV to the rack. Now the audio of the TVs can play through the in-ceiling speakers, so he can maintain the sound quality for his television watching as well. Or he can have one TV playing a game with the sound going to every speaker in the house.

Easy control, aesthetically speaking

“Mr. Tasho wanted audio throughout the home, window blind control to protect the artwork and one-button press to control anything in his house. Plus, he wants all of this to be easy,” Ken told us. So a Savant home automation system was chosen for these needs. The Savant system itself controls all of these elements, lighting, window blinds, the Carrier thermostat, and of course all the A/V equipment.

“He also wanted an extremely reliable system,” Ken told us. “Savant offers a dual or redundant host. This way, if the main host ever goes down, the redundant host picks up and takes over. Then Magnolia is contacted directly by the system, letting them know the main host is down, they come over and fix it, and there is never any downtime for Mr. Tasho.”

“I was originally worried about the Savant system,” Mr. Tasho told us. “But it’s easier than I thought. It’s been great. I’m not a tech guy, but I totally outfitted my last home with electronics and speakers—and that was 18 years ago, so I wanted to see what was new and different. I was really impressed where technology has come in those 18 years.”

“... when the western light comes in, the shades automatically close so I don’t have to think about doing that when I’m away.”

Let there be light, let there be shade

One thing you can’t miss in this condo is the windows that surround you. Amazing views and bright light fill the space — which is fantastic, but can also be detrimental to Mr. Tasho’s art collection. So it was imperative to have window coverings that could be easily opened and closed depending on the time of day and how he wanted to enjoy the space during these different times.

“With the Savant system I can time things,” Mr. Tasho told us. “If I want the shades to go down or go up depending on the time of day, they can do that. Like when the western light comes in, the shades automatically close so I don’t have to think about doing that when I’m away. I like having it all programmed on a timer.” It’s this programming that not only gives him the sunlight he desires, when he wants it, but also protects his eclectic collection of artwork.

Josh also points out that, “Manufacturers are looking at what can be done even if you don’t have your phone with you.” Nest thermostats are a good example of what is possible. The company has moved into smoke detectors. Why? Because you have a smoke detector in nearly every room of your house. So by putting motion sensors on these smoke detectors, Nest can adjust the temperatures of rooms when people are in them, and readjust them when people leave. This has further implications for the home automation world. Some day, similar sensors could identify who is in the room, what they want, and adjust everything in the room to that person’s pre-determined standards. They could even be programmed to have certain settings in the morning, afternoon and night, or settings when you’re alone or have people with you. The options are nearly endless.

Theater bedroom

For Mr. Tasho, having a separate place to watch movies was important, because he didn’t want the main room’s focus to be a giant TV. The condo’s master bedroom, whose size was more than he needed, turned out to be the perfect location.

To turn this bedroom into a home theater, Magnolia first had to get the right gear into the room. That meant using Mr. Tasho’s pre-existing Bower & Wilkins speakers. Beautiful in design, and meant to last a lifetime, Ken knew these didn’t need to be updated. But there was one issue: these speakers weren’t working as Mr. Tasho had wanted them to. Clearly the speakers weren’t getting the power and performance they were capable of, so Ken brought Mr. Tasho into the store to demo a McIntosh amp. “After the first experience of hearing them he was sold. He ended up getting the McIntosh 8207 and the MX121.”

“We also wanted to give him a good surround sound system. The surround speakers he had simply weren’t going to look good in the room, they were going to be too intrusive. We talked to the interior designer, and ended up installing in-ceiling Bowers & Wilkins speakers to match the performance of his floorstanding speakers. Bringing in a 528 REL sub combined with his old sub made it an amazing 7.2 system.”

Because the room wasn’t originally acoustically designed to be a theater, Magnolia needed to create the correct design for proper sound. To do this, they needed to configure the speakers and subs in the right locations. As Adam told us, “The installation team moved all around the room spending hours just dialing in the system to make sure it would sound perfect, and Mr. Tasho would get the experience he wanted.”

“The installation team moved all around the room dialing in the system to make sure it would sound perfect.”

Entertaining outside

When you have a magnificent outdoor patio that overlooks the city below, bringing audio outside not only drowns out the cars, it creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The trick, however, is creating a system on a terrace that looks as good as the rest of the home. As Ken told us, “We needed to combat aesthetics. This whole place was designed by an interior designer, so we didn’t want to just throw some speakers out there — not only would that not look good, but the HOA would not like that either.”

To achieve a system that not only looked amazing but sounded just as good, Magnolia installed the Sonance Sonarray system — eight small speakers and a large sub that surround the patio, pushing the sound inward. Designed for backyards, where the speakers can be hidden in bushes and the speaker wire can be buried in the lawn, Magnolia had to use other plans when dealing with the concrete patio. “We partnered with the designer to put planters on the patio, and we worked back and forth to get the right size to hide the speakers in the planters with a planter that could also house the sub.”

Magnolia installers also had to pull up the majority of the patio’s 30-pound pavers to hide the outdoor-rated speaker wire underneath them. The result, “You can walk out on that terrace and you have no idea where the speakers are. And with all the different sitting areas, you can sit anywhere and be in the sweet spot of that sound system,” Ken noted.

A project perfectly tuned

To make a symphony sound its finest, all the instruments must play together to create a harmony that flows without dissidence from any one part. So it is with this residence. Magnolia helped bring each part together seamlessly to create a harmonious space where art, design, audio, video and home automation work in lockstep for a comfortable space that is equal parts grandeur, comfort and style.

Philip Tasho

“My cousin and some of my colleagues at the office had used Magnolia. I hadn’t thought of them — I just thought of Best Buy as a mass merchandiser. But they spoke very highly of Magnolia, so I thought I’d see what they had to offer. When I went to Best Buy and met the folks at Magnolia, I didn’t realize they had been around for over 50 years. I was very pleased with the experience and the tenure of the staff there. They gave me exactly what I was looking for. The service has been great and they’ve been very attentive. I’ve been very happy and satisfied.“

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