Cliffside AV with a view

With the aim of being heard and not seen, a pair of audiophiles get a high-quality multiroom audio system to complement the stunning views from their cliffside villa. Amy Wallington takes a look.

In later life, simplicity is key. Technology can be daunting to an older person, but home automation systems are designed to integrate multiple technologies into one platform to simplify operation for the user to live an easier life at home.

When a keen audiophile decided he wanted a multiroom audio system installed into his newly built home on a cliffside in Cork, Ireland, he was concerned it would be complex and unusable for him at the age of 65. However, Irish integrator, Hitech Homes showed the homeowner that a simple multiroom audio installation that he could use without trouble was possible.

On the same level

The house itself was a new build following the demolition of his old home which no longer fit his needs. “The homeowner was an elderly gentleman with a grown-up daughter who would also be living with him,” explains Patrick Morrissy, sales and marketing lead for Hitech Homes.

“He had a house on the land already which he built 30 years ago to raise his family in. But his requirements had changed, and he was looking more towards a house where he could live on one level which has wheelchair access into the front door if he ever needed it, even though he is currently perfectly mobile. The house had to be futureproofed to suit any needs he might have in the future so that he could live out the rest of his years there comfortably.”

Designed to be on one level for the main homeowner, the house was built into the side of the cliff with a downstairs area for his daughter to live.

Music with a view

The retired homeowner’s brief was to have integrated audio throughout his home and outside on the balcony. Although his budget was a little restrained, the audio quality had to be exceptional. He also required a simple control system to manage the audio. As well as the main audio install, he also wanted a simple home cinema set up in the lounge to watch movies.

“He wanted to play his old vinyl records throughout the property and they had to be very high-quality speakers.”

Hitech Homes introduced the homeowner to an ELAN control system for his audio control, but also has the capability to expand control other areas of the home if he needed it in the future.

“He had no experience with home technology but we introduced him to ELAN and showed him what it could do,” adds Morrissy. “He really liked the simplicity of being able to play any music he wanted throughout the house. Because he doesn’t stay in any one area of the house for too long, he wanted the audio to play wherever he was without him having to constantly change what room it was playing in. His collection of records complements the stunning views from his balcony.”

Utilising the ELAN S86A Multiroom AV Controller, the homeowner has full control over all six zones of audio via an ELAN HR10 Handheld Remote Control or his smartphone. It allows him to easily switch between music sources, adjust the volume in different audio zones, and to utilise sources including his vinyl turntable and the Autonomics high-definition music streamer.

High-quality

Although the customer didn’t have any experience with home automation, as an audiophile, he did have experience with high-quality speakers. Having bought a pair almost 30 years ago, the client knew that he would need to invest in the speakers to get the quality he wanted that would last the test of time.

Morrissy continues: “He wanted to play his old vinyl records throughout the property and they had to be very high-quality speakers. You go in there now and he’s blaring his records through the systems and you can hear the crackling of the record and the lossless audio, and it sounds absolutely fantastic.”

He also wanted to upgrade his viewing experience for when he is watching TV and movies. Again, keeping it simple, the home cinema features a 55” Panasonic TV with a 5.1 surround sound audio set up from Yamaha combined with Polk Audio bookshelf speakers.

Morrissy admits: “We knew Polk Audio is high-quality but also reasonably priced to suit the budget and the homeowner was happy to sacrifice the look for the quality of sound.”

The integrator installed Klipsch Pro Series in-ceiling speakers in the kitchen and dining room, the main bedroom, the garage, as well as his office and daughter’s room which are both downstairs.

Heard not seen

Architecturally, the house is built with large windows across the back to make the most of the views. Responsible for the architecture was Cork-based Butler Moffat Architects, who designed the property with sharp angles and a slightly sloping roof to accentuate the back of the house even more. Built on the top of a cliff, the property is a standout piece of architecture.

The homeowner’s daughter was in charge of the interior design and they wanted to hide as much as possible to keep it simple. This posed a problem when it came to housing the equipment, as Morrissy explains: “I remember the very first meeting we had with them and he said, ‘every inch of land here, every piece of area in this house is precious real estate so I’m giving you hardly any space. I want it to be heard and not seen.’

“Although it would have been better to use the garage space, we were given the utility room to house the equipment which is a bit annoying to work on. He has a rack for the kit but you have to remove the kicker board on the cupboards to get the rack out which can be a bit of an ordeal.”

With such little space, it was also difficult to fit all the equipment into the rack location but they managed it.

In the future

An ELAN home control system was chosen in this project just in case the homeowner wants to add anymore technology in the future if his needs change. This way, the system can be easily expanded and he will be experience with using the technology to control it.

Hitech Homes also installed extra cables in case the homeowner ever wants to upgrade the cinema. “We always pre cable for a 5.2.2 system with Dolby Atmos ceiling speaker cables just in case,” Morrissy confesses. “He might never go with it as he is much more an audiophile than a cinemaphile but we do it on all of our cinema installs now just in case.”

Morrissy also wishes that they had installed cabling for a projector too. “I think if he’s old school enough to really appreciate the turntable, it would be nice to have the projector too, even if he only used once a month,” he says.

Coming in at under 20,000 euros, the man and his daughter have the luxury, high-quality multiroom audio set up they have always dreamed of.

 

Tech Spec

Autonomics MMS-1e Music Streamers

AV Racks 36U Profile Rack 500 x 600

BP Series 100W Weatherproof Speakers

ELAN Control System

ELAN Gate Control

ELAN HR10 Wi-Fi Handheld Remote Control with Charging Station

ELAN Multiroom Audio

ELAN S86A 8-Source/6-Zone Integrated Multizone Amplifier

ELAN Security Cameras

Furman M-10X E 10A Standard Power Conditioner 230V

Klipsch AW-650 Outdoor Speakers

Klipsch Pro Series In-Ceiling Speakers

LigoWave Dual Band Ceiling Access Points

Linksys 24-port Gigabit PoE Switch

Polk Audio S10 Signature Satellite Bookshelf Speakers

Sanus VLT6-B2 Advanced Tilting TV Wall Bracket

Xantech 4K to 35m HDMI over Cat6 HDBT

Yamaha NS-P41 5.1-channel Home Theatre Speaker Package including Subwoofer

Yamaha RX-V485 AV Receiver