Customized whole-home systems can fill your world with sound

by Martin McConnell

When it comes to speakers and solutions for playing music in your home, simply wading through the sheer range of options can be a daunting task. There is something for everyone, whether it be sound bars, smart speakers or whole-home solutions.

Tony Fabrick is the president of Broadview Heights-based Xtend Technologies and a local expert on installing sound systems in homes. He was able to offer advice on what type of sound system might be the best for the modern home but noted that no two homes are alike.

“Everybody’s project is different, and the size and scope of a project is very different,” Fabrick said. “In some homes we work in, we might have fifteen rooms of audio. The scope really determines the price point.”

In terms of in-home speakers, there are two main types: architectural speakers and standalone speakers. Fabrick noted that speaker installation might be an extra cost for homeowners, but it is one that is usually worth the price.

“Your standalone speakers, the ones that you can hook up out of the box and play, the drawback to that is that you can put it in the room, you can set it up and connect it, but you see it,” he said. “It doesn’t blend in with the space. … It’s quite obvious.”

Soundbars are another option for single-room solutions, and they can usually double as a speaker for a television. Homeowners looking for a basic setup may be able to avoid installation costs, but Fabrick mentioned that once again, the aesthetic is worth the cost.

“Most of our clientele … are mounting TVs on walls, they’re not just sitting on a piece of furniture,” Fabrick said. “They’re more likely to have [a soundbar] custom-installed into the space.”

Fabrick and Xtend Technologies also offer solutions beyond music for homeowners who opt for a fully automated approach with home renovations. Specifically, Fabrick mentioned a company called Savant.

“[Savant] can control everything from all the audio-visual in your house, to lighting and shading, to HVAC solutions,” Fabrick said. “Anything pretty much that you can think of technology-wise that you could automate in a home.”

As a general rule, Fabrick advises homeowners not to use Bluetooth for their home sound solutions, outside of single-room speakers. A personal consultation, he said, is the best way to determine what whole-home solution will work best.

“Our clients can show us the different areas where they want to put sound in their house. We’ll take pictures, notes, measurements. We’ll prepare system-designed proposals,” he said. “We’re going to educate [our clients] on the topic and get them what makes the most sense for them and their budget.” ∞