For several years, the global audio company Sonos has conducted its annual dealer awards program that distinguishes its partners top system installations.
The Sonos 2023 Dealer Awards continues this tradition of the stereo and home theater equipment manufacturer recognizing the work of its professional installation network of dealers and the many creative ways they are utilizing the company’s product line.
Taking what some may consider a surprising approach to its dealers’ awards program, Sonos forgoes its traditional market categories of home theater and whole-house audio, to shine a more targeted, focused spotlight on several of the industry’s less publicized categories: Outdoor, Rack, Commercial and Overall system installations.
Examining literally thousands of installations completed over the past year from dealers located across the United States, Sonos narrowed this wide field to just four winners across four awards categories.
Taking a closer look at what made these installations special and unique, here are the Sonos 2023 Dealer Awards winners:
Sonos 2023 Best Commercial Installation: Atlantic Control Technologies
Steve Riley, president of Atlantic Control Technologies, states that most of his company’s installations are residential, but after receiving a recommendation to redesign the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens’ training facilities, his staff couldn’t resist the opportunity.
“Their current sound equipment had been installed when the Raven’s training facility was fondly known as, ‘The Castle,’ which was originally constructed in the early 2000s,” points out Riley.
“[This] wooly [system] outdated and insufficient. To supplement the uneven sound dispersion and inability to stream music, the Ravens had scattered wireless Bluetooth speakers throughout the building, but the Bluetooth speakers did not generate the energy required to sustain players throughout their long workouts. The Raven’s operations VP wanted to bolster the team’s efforts with powerful and dynamic sound.”
Addressing the updates, the team was asking for, Riley and the Atlantic Control Technologies staff, the company designed a 28.8-channel audio system for the Ravens’ weight room. Riley notes they added smaller sub systems in other areas of the facility, including a 6.2 system in the gym, a 16.2 system in the locker, and as part of these systems, the designs were developed to ensure even coverage in the coaches’ offices, and the emergency/recovery room.
“With a high traffic 24/7 facility, it was important to have easy music control that everyone could operate with zero learning curve,” adds Riley.
“Having used Sonos on 99% of our previous projects, it was clear that they would provide the user-friendly interface we needed. With seven Sonos Ports and the Sonos App installed at every wall-mounted iPad … the Ravens, coaches, and facility staff have the ability to power their practice with the music they love.”
Sonos 2023 Best Outdoor Installation: MediaHead, LLC
Earning the Sonos 2023 Dealer Award for the best outdoor installation, Steve Harman, co-owner and chief innovator, MediaHead, LLC., says his company recently addressed several zones of a client’s home, including multiple areas outdoors.
“We recently finished a fun outdoor project at a client’s Lake House at Possum Kingdom Lake in Graford, Texas. The job included indoor audio too, but the Pool, Patio, and boat dock really turned out great,” notes Harman.
“His Pool is equipped with a pair of black Sonos by Sonance speakers overlooking the Pool. His patio has two in-ceiling Sonos by Sonance speakers with custom painted black grilles; a pair of Sonos by Sonance in-ceiling speakers on his balcony, and the boat dock has two pairs of black Sonos by Sonance outdoor speakers—one pair for the upper deck and one to the lower deck—each powered by their own Sonos Amp.”
Harman points out the boat deck presented some challenges to his company, including the high heat levels that comes with the summer days in West Texas. Harman explains one of the challenges MediaHead had to deal with was extending the homeowner’s network from an AV closet located inside the home, to a boat house outdoors. Solving the sound dispersion problem of an outdoor environment and specifically the boat house area, the company installed the Sonos outdoor speakers in positions that deliver coverage while the family is on the dock or swimming in the lake.
Other parts of the installation include a Samsung The Terrace with a Roku streaming devices installed on the patio, along with audio from ceiling speakers.
“All of the Sonos Amps are connected with AudioQuest power cables,” says Harman.
“Each Amp has been tuned for optimal performance or ‘Trueplayed’ [equalization] if possible. In the end this system sounds great and looks awesome, and the client is having fun living with the system. This is one of those times where we had a lot of fun on the job, got to work on a uniquely designed system, and are living vicariously through our client.”
Sonos 2023 Best AV Rack Installation: SoundVision
Working with an existing client on a new project, the homeowner had set the standards for the installation of more technology at a high-level recalls Tyler McDonald of SoundVision in San Francisco.
McDonald admits that for the company to meet the client’s expectations they knew the rack had to appear neat and professional.
“When it came to the rack design, we knew it had to look good when the cabinets were open and when the system was being serviced,” says McDonald.
“This home was packed with the best of the best. All the power is passed through a Furman P-2400 AR power conditioner to ensure consistent voltage through the amps. The audio is sent through the entire home through Sonos Ports to give the homeowner complete control of the system with ease. The audio is amplified through Sonance, Wisdom and McIntosh amplifiers.”
According to McDonald, all the installation’s hardware was configured in three 26U racks with empty rows that include delete plates. This configuration he continues allows for airflow to keep the equipment cool, and it enables SoundVision to provide quick service in the event something needs to be looked at.
“Some delete plates were laser cut to allow just enough room for hardware to be seen from the front, including the nine Sonos Ports,” states McDonald.
“When the system needs to be serviced, the racks can slide out in entirety, and a trap door on the side allows for easy access to the back of all the equipment, even when this entire enclosure is next to the wall.”
Sonos 2023 Best Overall Installation: Josh Patton Technology
Utilizing components from some of the top brands in the home technology market, Josh Patton Technology designed and installed a modern smart home system that includes audio, video, lighting, and control.
“This homeowner worked with me from the start for all things lighting, sound, and Wi-Fi. Immaculately designed by David Cook from Design Galleria, we planned every speaker, every Lutron keypad [RadioRa], and eero PoE access points inside and out for easy and seamless control,” says Josh Patton.
Patton says the speakers were planned to install symmetrically with the home’s recessed lighting. Above the fireplace, the integration company installed a 75-inch Samsung The Frame TV with a Sonos HDMI ARC Cat-5 adapter wired to a basement rack that holds Sonos Amplifiers.
Throughout the home, including the kitchen, master bath, bar, laundry room, and powder room are in-ceiling loudspeakers. Augmenting the loudspeakers are wired and wireless Sonos SUBs. The master bedroom also features a Samsung The Frame TV, as well as a Sonos Beam soundbar and a Sonos Sub.
Bringing audio entertainment into the master bath, Josh Patton Technology installed in-ceiling speakers, along with Kohler Soundtile speakers in the bathroom’s steam shower. All of these speakers are powered by Sonos Amplifiers.
Helping to provide simple control to the home’s electronics Patton says his company installed Lutron Pico remote controls to operate Sonos functions that include favorites and volume up/down.
The next step in the homeowner’s installation he adds is to begin work on the outdoor AV aspect of the system.
“While the outdoor space has not been started, the speakers are in with in-ceiling in the covered patio with another HDMI ARC Cat 5 adapter for the outdoor TV and four mounted outdoor speakers facing the future pool,” notes Patton.
“An additional erro PoE access point is prewired in the ceiling of the covered patio. Guest bedrooms received the homeowner’s Play1 and Play3speakers from their past residence.”
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