“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Recent DIY Audio Articles

CEDIA Lead-Based Paint Education & Certification

CEDIA Lead-Based Paint Education & Certification

The Custom Electrons Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) is offering, in cooperation with National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a simple way for individuals to become educated and certified in dealing with lead paint issues according to the EPA and HUD guidelines and rules. Since lead-safe certification became required as of April 22, 2010, there is a new urgency to have companies become compliant.

CEDIA is offering, in cooperation with National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a simple way for individuals to become educated and certified in dealing with lead paint issues according to the EPA

Jonathon Peters — June 16, 2010 20:30 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Apple-Based Home Control & Automation

Apple-Based Home Control & Automation

When your living quarters are as large an airport hangar, simple tasks like turning off the lights before bedtime can be exhausting. That’s part of the reason the owners of this newly built Idaho estate invested in a sophisticated control system. But operating hundreds of lighting circuits is just the tip of the home control iceberg for this slick management system.

When your living quarters are as large an airport hangar, turning off the lights before bedtime can be exhausting. That’s why the owners tied them all to a single Apple-based control system.

Lisa Montgomery — May 17, 2010 06:00 in DIY Audio and Wiring

NYC High-Rise Eyes 18-Source Video Wall

NYC High-Rise Eyes 18-Source Video Wall

The pictures say it all. Three 65-inch Panasonic plasma HDTVs, flush-mounted side-by-side, form a video wall that can display content from 18 different sources. Look even more closely, and you’ll find that all the TVs in this Manhattan apartment are not only flush-mounted in the walls, the walls even cover the TVs’ bezels so only the screens remain visible. The skyline views out of the windows are pretty nice, as well.

The pictures say it all. Three 65-inch Panasonic plasma HDTVs, flush-mounted side-by-side, form a video wall that can display content from 18 different sources. Look even more closely, it gets better.

Steven Castle — May 11, 2010 05:15 in DIY Audio and Wiring

TapouT Theater Provides Gladiator-Style Enjoyment

TapouT Theater Provides Gladiator-Style Enjoyment

Punkass is how Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans know him. He's also known as Dan Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of TapouT, a company embedded in the MMA industry. The fighter/executive set out to have an elaborate theater built at TapouT's Grand Terrace, Calif., headquarters and enlisted San Bernardino, Calif.-based Audio Video Evolution (AVE) to install the electronics. (Click here to view additional photos.) Why does a corporation need an elaborate theater? Well, TapouT — which says it manufactures a "countercultural" clothing line and produces a "raucous" reality show — isn't a typical corporation.

Punkass is how Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans know him. He's also known as Dan Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of TapouT, a company embedded in the MMA industry and king of counterculture clothing.

Tom LeBlanc — March 25, 2010 01:35 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Renovating a Family Room into a Home Theater

Renovating a Family Room into a Home Theater

The owners of this 22-by-18-foot theater had no intention of updating their 1970s-style basement rec room. They were going to leave it as is, and focus their remodeling efforts on main living areas of the house. Their remodeling plan would include adding a Control4 control system to automate the lights and thermostats, and spread music and video to speakers and TVs throughout the house. The contractors and interior designers hired for the job couldn’t help but bring up the outdated rec room, though.

The owners of this 22 x 18 theater had no intention of updating their 1970s-style basement rec room, but the contractors and interior designers hired for the job couldn't help but bring it up to date.

— March 12, 2010 08:14 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Installing a Television Over a Fireplace

Installing a Television Over a Fireplace

Nothing has come up in local conversations with friends and family as much as what it takes to mount a flat panel television over a fireplace. Be it plasma or LCD TV, the big contention is that having a room with a centrally-focused fireplace results in a dilemma: Where do you put your flat panel TV if not above the fireplace? While some have stuck them off to one side or the other, either corner-mounted or placed within clunky built-ins, the best place, aesthetically-speaking is to mount the television over the top of the fireplace. This brings up a unique set of questions, concerns and choices, however, and we'll attempt to address each and every one of these in this article and practical how-to guide.

Nothing has come up in local conversations with friends and family as much as what it takes to mount a flat panel television over a fireplace. Be it plasma or LCD, it's a great, big, worthwhile job.

— March 10, 2010 01:10 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Tips for a Clean HDTV Installation

Tips for a Clean HDTV Installation

We have reached a marvelous time where HDTV is not only affordable, but also low profile enough to get the green light from our wives to hang on a wall in the comforts of our own bedrooms. This article provides useful tips on how to hide cabling connected to your HDTV to ensure the cleanest looking install possible. This is a quick and easy method for cleaning up that cable mess for a more aesthetically pleasing installation that will also improve the enjoyment you get out of your system.

This is a basic guide for cleaning up an HDTV install by routing all of the connection cables between your Cable Box / Blu-ray Player to the display behind the drywall and out of sight.

— February 02, 2010 14:25 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Using a 103-inch Plasma for Video Gaming

Using a 103-inch Plasma for Video Gaming

What happens when you have three grade school kids and want a whole home audio video system that can handle a variety of entertainment needs, with ease-of-use and durability? Simple - you call in the pros. Patrick Calderone is the owner of Audio Video Experience (AVX), the custom electronics design and installation firm hired to rig a home with a variety of family-friendly electronic systems. At last count, the home had: two Microsoft Xbox 360s, two Sony PlayStation 3s, two Nintendo Wiis and one Nintendo Game Cube.

At last count, the home had: two Microsoft Xbox 360s, two Sony PlayStation 3s, two Nintendo Wiis and one Nintendo Game Cube... oh, and a 103" Panasonic plasma display system to view them all on.

Lisa Montgomery — January 22, 2010 07:55 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Inside Segway Dean Kamen's Off-the-Grid Island Home

Inside Segway Dean Kamen's Off-the-Grid Island Home

He calls himself Lord Dumpling, and his island "nation" has a zero-tolerance policy for incandescent lights. In fact, he claims to have the first fully self-powered nation. He is Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway electric scooter and other devices, some of which are responsible for making his island home self-sustaining—along with a lot of LEDs (light emitting diodes). All was well between the "countries" until a couple of years ago, when the U.S. Coast Guard decided to cut the undersea cable that powered the lighthouse. Kamen's island would have to be self-sustainable, with solar panels powering the lighthouse...

He calls himself Lord Dumpling, and his island "nation" has a zero-tolerance policy for incandescent lights. In fact, he claims to have the first fully self-powered nation. He is Dean Kamen, inventor.

Steven Castle — December 22, 2009 20:40 in DIY Audio and Wiring

A Home Theater in Stargate Atlantis

A Home Theater in Stargate Atlantis

A home theater can be a great escape, but how about escaping all the way to the planet Lantea, the fictional home of the TV series Stargate Atlantis? Jacob Yarmuth’s very cool theater in Louisville, Ky., has the Stargate — or at least a replica of the one used in the Stargate TV series and movie to commute across the universe. It surrounds a 10-foot diagonal circular screen that shows a 96-inch diagonal image. The circle within the Stargate can also light up blue, mimicking the water that appears in the show’s Stargate prior to transport.

A home theater can be a great escape, but how about escaping all the way to the planet Lantea, the fictional home of the TV series Stargate Atlantis? Jacob Yarmuth’s very cool theater does it.

— December 16, 2009 03:20 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Paris Themed Home Theater

Paris Themed Home Theater

Home theater designer Donny Hackett has always wanted to visit Paris but had never gone. So he decided to bring Paris here. More specifically, to Tennessee and the attic of Jason Crist’s suburban Nashville home. A walk upstairs brings Crist to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame cathedral—and a screen that could take up a wall in the Louvre.

Home theater designer Donny Hackett has always wanted to visit Paris but had never gone. So he decided to bring Paris here. The best attraction has got to be the whopping 154-inch screen...

— December 02, 2009 07:25 in DIY Audio and Wiring

10 Manliest Man Caves

10 Manliest Man Caves

Some guys love power tools. Some love cars. Some are happy with a comfy chair, a remote and something to nosh on. Then there are those who need to go above and beyond—to create a space that most men only dream about. Today, we call these spaces "man caves." In these caves, though, the only things being fired up are amps, Blu-ray movies, video games and gigantic TVs (sometimes multiple ones). They are places where a guy can play with his toys without worrying about prying eyes or greasy kid fingerprints.

Some guys love power tools. Some love cars. Some are happy with a comfy chair, a remote and something to nosh on. Then there are those who need to go above and beyond—to create a space that men love.

Rachel Cericola — November 12, 2009 02:45 in DIY Audio and Wiring

Oddly Shaped Room is Just Right for Home Theater

Oddly Shaped Room is Just Right for Home Theater

These homeowners had an odd shaped room, one that wasn’t built to be a dedicated theater like a basement ... but an old entertainment system that really needed an upgrade. After finding custom electronics pro Union Place, of Excelsior, Minn., they turned it into a gem of a theater, complete with constant image height screen setup for really immersing in CinemaScope aspect ratio films. The challenge was to create a room that functioned as a cohesive theater, without giving up space and in needed to blend with the other rooms of the home it was open to.

These homeowners had an oddly shaped room, one that wasn’t built to be a dedicated theater like a basement but an old entertainment system that really needed an upgrade complete with a projector.

Arlen Schweiger — October 10, 2009 17:35 in DIY Audio and Wiring

The New Home Theater PC - Part 2

The New Home Theater PC - Part 2

In our last article The New Home Theater PC – Part 1, we explored the past failures of HTPC to attract consumers en masse, and also discussed the various deficiencies that lead to the decline of the HTPC as a viable consumer product in the CE marketplace. More importantly, however, we touched upon what consumers want and what the NEW Home Theater PC looks like in this day and age of downloadable content. In this final installment, we'll walk through several scenarios and configurations and talk about using the laptop as the New Home Theater PC to enable streaming content and fulfill the promises of the original HTPC – but without the hassle or configuration problems typically associated with the genre.

In this final installment, we'll walk through several scenarios and talk about using the laptop as the New Home Theater PC to enable streaming content and fulfill the promises of the HTPC.

— September 29, 2009 12:10 in DIY Audio and Wiring