Most everyone loves music in one form or another and openly or secretly covets a state-of-the-art sound system. That's why designing a sound system can be a highly profitable niche, especially for contractors who already have their feet in the door, such as remodelers.
But don't plunge into installing surround-sound systems before you know some of the basics. There are subtle nuances and no-no's that can determine whether a system is a success or a flop. You can be sure that if your client is an audiophile, he'll be quick to find any deficiencies in a poorly installed system. While you don't have to know everything about sound control, acoustics, reverberation and absorption, it's important to know the rules of thumb and that help isn't far away.
Danny Moore, global audio-product manager for Richardson Electronics & Burtek Systems Inc., Burnaby, British Columbia, says you can learn the basics about audio-system design and acoustics in 30 minutes, but actual installation is a complex endeavor that usually requires professional support. The best way to enter the sound business, he says, is to take on two partners: a supplier who can provide technical and system-design support, and a partner who can deal with a wide range of product and technical issues.
With or without techie assistance, though, you'll get off to a good start if you follow these basics of designing an impressive audio system:
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