New Wave AV hosts successful #C4Yourself Day
Following the global rollout of Control4’s certified showroom programme, HiddenWires headed to visit Kent-based installer New Wave AV to meet the company’s owner and founder, Kevin Whysall, and find out more about what prospective clients can find at its Tonbridge showroom.
“This was a fresh start for me back in 2003 – I’d never done any residential work,” explains Whysall, on a tour of the company’s facilities. “All the work I was doing was corporate in the commercial sector – I was involved with project managing the likes of the Lehman Brothers, but then decided to set up New Wave as a one-man band, and it all just took off from there.”
A couple years later Whysall would also take a chance on Control4 following an enquiry from a potential client, and hasn’t looked back since – with countless awards, including the 2018 EMEA Award for volume of Control4 projects for Southern UK now sitting on the mantelpiece at the experience centre.
“I’ve been with Control4 since the very beginning. I was previously doing quite big Crestron systems, and the company wasn’t around 15 years ago. But a couple years after starting New Wave they came on the scene – clients starting asking about them, I looked into the products more and more and then became a dealer in 2005 and ended up sticking with them. It’s the only control system we use and all the work we’ve taken on has grown organically with all our years of service with Control4.”
For Whysall and its team, this approach has considerable benefits for managing work; “This means our engineers and the 10 staff members across the business are all concentrated on Control4, and everything else is variable around one core system. It makes sense because, naturally, the the automation system is the hardest thing to get right in a property in terms of programming etc. and we can send engineers out to any job. We avoid the difficulty some face in having three systems on board and making sure we have the right people in the right place.”
All of the New Wave team are Control4 Level 2-certified, allowing the installation company to qualify for Diamond dealer status. The company created a separate cinema division to handle home theatre projects 18 months ago, and employees work across both whole home and cinema projects to keep their work as varied as possible, and recent projects include a 22-channel Trinnov-powered cinema in Sevenoaks, Kent. Whysall says most work for the integrator comes within a 25-metre radius in the region, but it occasionally dips it toe into larger projects and recently signed the line on a 12-property complex in Charing Cross, London.
A tour to #C4Yourself
Attendees on #C4Yourself day – ranging from end users to professionals from the design and build world – are greeted at the centre by a selection of the latest keypads available from Control4. “We do a lot of panelised lighting systems so here we demonstrate what the rear headings look like and what different scenes can do to set the environment for cooking, entertainment and more with lighting and AV.
We’ve also set system up to talk with the alarm system because ultimately, we're trying to squeeze a bit more leverage out of what you can do with a home automation system,” says Whysall, before demoing how clients can be informed about occurrences such as doors being open from around the home, and even recognise which door it is in the home by colour.
Completed two years ago after being completely transformed from being used as the installer’s rack building facilities, New Wave’s cinema space now shines a modern, mid-range budget home cinema space that it scalable to client’s desires. “When I moved all the engineers and project managers out I converted the space and tested it for a year (i.e. what impact it made with clients visiting), and it’s been really helpful. We’re open when the clients need us to be open, and it’s a worthwhile investment of our time,” states Whysall.
“In here we now showcase what can be achieved thanks to Control4’s recent acquisition of Triad,” adds Whysall. “Behind the screen there are Triad Golds: three LCRs and two subwoofers, two surrounds at the back behind the fabric wrapping. We’ve also got an acoustically transparent piece of cloth to cover too, which is all completed with four in-ceiling speakers.”
Demos – ranging from ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ to ‘Legend of the Guardians’ – demonstrate the flexibility of the system's impressive 5.2.4 set up, with an accompanying Kaleidescape Strato system making watching content seamless, and in tune with surrounding lighting. A display set up comprised of a 4K Sony projector and Screen Innovations screen with automatic masking provide the visual detail from the comfort of Front Row’s Serenity seating range.
In total, AV gear in the room amounts to approximately £39,000 (€44,000), rising to around £52,000 (€59,000) to span control, lighting, fabric wrapping and seating. “We actually sell quite a few cinemas just like this as I feel we’ve got the price point right,” states Whysall. “Of course, you can have the mid-range or entry-level Sony, take away the screen masking, have the lesser Triads and you might be doing it for less, but crucially there’s room to move around, and that’s what we like about the Triad range.” He adds, “You’ve got the entry-level line, and above the Gold range you have the premier range and above. We didn’t want the room to be too far at one end of the scale – we wanted it to be achievable.”
Outside a temporary set up showcases the capabilities of Triad’s Garden Array speakers, with 8 speakers distributed across the installer’s garden space, accompanied by a sub. Whysall notes this was important to demonstrate to clients, as they increasingly work with landscapers to strike the right balance of performance and styling when working to satisfy the increasing demand for outdoor audio.
Reflecting on the #C4Youself evening, Whysall says: “We’ve been pleased with the turnout tonight. We had a couple of architects and an interior designer, and the rest were end users and good prospects for the future.” He later added that more developers who couldn’t make #C4Yourself Day visited in the week that followed to check out the facilities.
Catching up with Phil Hardaway, area sales manager (UK South) at Control4, it's clear this is just the start of many more Control4 showroom events to come. “The plan is to focus it and get it even better next time," he says.