Consumer audio has exploded over the last couple of years and with so many brands in their arsenal, Its united dealers have a unique opportunity. They can present everything to customers from high-resolution wireless audio to high-performance stereo to multi-channel home theater using HEOS, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Marantz, Polk-Audio, Class and Definitive technology.
It’s a wide range of audiophile budgets that can be catered for easily… plus plenty of technology for integrators to master all the possibilities.
Inside Sound United trainings offer deep dives into the brands
To keep installers up to date with their brands’ latest unique products, features and technology, Sound United has invested in creating “Inside Sound United” as a helpful tool. The on-demand video series offers the convenience installers have come to expect from online training during the pandemic – especially beneficial for integrating new technologies these days – complemented by studio-quality video production and in-depth insights from company brand experts.
Integrators will also find targeted episodes in one place by visiting the Inside Sound United Learning Center covering:
- CI Solutions Denon and Marantzwhich describes specific custom installation-friendly features that make it easier to integrate their audio solutions, as well as upgrades, new products and HDMI 2.1 support to optimize system design and installation
- Polk’s Reserve Rangewhich walks through the unique features and technologies that separate Polk from its half-century heritage, highlighted by the design team including Director of Audio and Acoustic Solutions Scott Orth, and explores research and development facilities Sound United’s vaunted Audio and Acoustics (ARAD)
- Final technology productsin which members of the engineering team, including renowned product designer Matt Lyons, detail the proprietary technologies that differentiate Def Tech products, and also look at the ARAD installation
- Bowers & Wilkins Series 800 Diamondwhich showcases the attributes and enhancements of the fourth-generation version of the acclaimed speaker company’s flagship series, and even offers first-hand anecdotes from Grammy-winning Soundmirror engineer John Newton, and from his personal experience with loudspeakers
- HEOS Wireless Multiroom Solutionswhich helps with best practices for overcoming installation challenges, building a robust network to support high-resolution wireless audio, and other tips.
The HEOS ecosystem offers a buffet of high-resolution options
In the booming consumer audio industry, wireless solutions have become increasingly popular, especially as the systems deliver higher quality wireless music and even allow dealers to extend areas audio outside. HEOS Solutions can provide an ideal fit, and is also a way to sell and expand projects for higher resolution sound.
I wanted to learn more about the platform and get a taste of what integrators can expect to find in the Inside Sound United series. So let’s take a look at the HEOS video as an example, which offered lots of practical and perhaps even surprising advice as dealers become familiar with the system.
“Back then, if you wanted to distribute music from room to room, it could be very expensive and very complex. And, if you wanted to use the streaming services, the quality wasn’t great,” notes Sound United Global Brand Activation Director Phil Jones in the HEOS training video. “Now you don’t have to sacrifice performance for convenience.”
He adds that the breadth of potential system design options for the HEOS ecosystem encompasses AV receivers, network audio players, speakers and soundbars. It’s a buffet of high-resolution choices to satisfy customers’ whole-home audio appetites, no matter the room or environment.
Installers can use this ecosystem to allow consumers to find just about any song instantly, in CD quality or better, while listening in any room – up to 32 zones for the biggest jobs. Jones cites the Sound United setup as a great example, though it’s more of a commercial design with a massive 16-zone HEOS system routing music to 77 speakers and 22 subwoofers, controllable via his phone.
“So if we can control multiple areas in a 100,000 square foot engineering or sales and marketing facility, we can easily provide you with a great experience in a customer’s home,” he explains.
The platform is baked in Denon and Marantz AVRsbut for those looking for an even simpler solution, it points to the new Denon Home wireless speaker family which comes in three models (150, 250 and 350) plus the Denon Home 550 soundbar and offers HEOS capabilities. Plus, the power supplies are built-in, so there’s no wall wart to worry about.
Various HEOS Installation Scenarios Explained
Resellers can show customers just how easy music selection can be by using the devices’ six presets to jump directly to a favorite broadcast station or playlist at the touch of a button or even by voice command. Music can be sent to play in multiple rooms simultaneously – perfectly synchronized – if integrators also group certain areas.
Jones adds that a handy multi-zone upsell is to cover a large room with multiple HEOS Integrated Speakers, in case customers think blasting one in the front of a room is enough. Depending on where the speakers are installed, the sound quality can be further adjusted using a “Speaker Placement” function setting on the HEOS app.
Another scenario could be pairing the speakers to an AVR so that one room can have the full multi-channel experience, while other rooms in a house can have the audio mixed down to stereo, for example if a big game is in progress.
The latest U26 software update brings more modern aesthetics and functionality to customers’ HEOS app experience. “It now has a newer, lighter and more modern feel,” says Jones, adding that HEOS products incorporating microphones can now also be used for Amazon Alexa commands – for other Alexa-supported devices beyond. beyond audio, such as lights, door locks and thermostats. (and to mitigate privacy concerns, this is an opt-in feature to activate and enter Amazon account information before mics are enabled).
To maximize system performance and coverage, Jones dives into the networking side of things with advice on limiting potential network traffic interference, types of routers to deploy, adding access points and more. Again, the HEOS app can help with setup with a feature that shows the signal strength of each connected device, for example.
To dive deeper, Jones taps Sound United colleagues Nick Murrells, Technical Category Manager (IoT & HEOS) and Mike Magzanian, AV Systems Engineer, to provide more in-depth insights by answering questions about the how the HEOS ecosystem is growing and improving; access dedicated technical support for resellers and installers; optimize specific features of the streaming service (such as MQA with TIDAL); improve the robustness of the wireless network; and much more.