technology profile - audio
In Admiration of Music
The Custom Installation Manager at Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto talks about the importance of great sound and how to achieve it.
By AGOSTINHO COSTA
I THINK THAT WHEN YOU HAVE GREAT SOUND IN YOUR HOUSE, EVERYONE ENJOYS IT. It’s like having the musicians in the room with you. You hear things you won’t hear otherwise on basic big-box audio systems. Great sound imparts a huge sense of happiness and a feeling of being in the moment. Especially at low volumes if the system is done right. You can enjoy conversation when you’re hosting a party, but everyone can still get that rush you feel when a favorite song comes on and it’s amazingly clear and detailed.
We’ve been in business here at Bay Bloor Radio since the late 1940s. As Toronto’s premiere audio retailer we’ve seen so many technologies introduced to the world – the first hi-fi stereo systems, the introduction of the Sony Trinitron TV, CDs, iPods – you name it, we’ve been proud to bring it to market and educate our customers on how music and video can enhance their lives.
The same mindset is also how we approach systems design and integration. I enjoy the discovery process where we’re able to meet with clients and talk about how they envision living in their new space and how they interact with music throughout their day. Which rooms are important as far as entertaining or home officing. And then of course there are discussions with architects and designers about design goals and what the décor will be like, so we can blend technology into a space.
“Great gear is just the starting point when it comes to great audio experiences. There’s more to be done than just hooking up a system and cranking up the volume!"AGOSTINHO COSTA, Custom Installation Manager at Bay Bloor Radio
One of my favorite brands that we carry is DALI Speakers. DALI — Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries — grew out of Scandinavia's leading audio retail chain in 1983, based on their observation that customers often requested combinations of size, shape, performance and price that existing brands could not offer. They committed themselves fully to the task of creating loudspeakers with outstanding performance and natural sound at competitive prices.
Today, DALI offers an exciting range of speakers to suit every taste and every budget. And that’s why it’s such an important part of our business. We are able to bring great sound throughout a residence, with the most important spaces getting not only the very best performance DALI has to offer, but also the complementing amplification and source components that match up for optimum performance.
But great gear is just the starting point when it comes to great audio experiences. There’s more to be done than just hooking up a system and cranking up the volume!
getting sound right
The first place we like to start when we take in a space is the acoustics. Performance homes are typically well insulated and there is minimum noise from the building itself, as well as the noise coming from outside the space. So with some forethought in the design phase and perhaps materials for localized isolation and/or diffusement, we can work with the building team to get the acoustics squared away for those spaces that are important to the homeowner.
We have been working with the Portuguese company, Vicoustics, for some years and they really understand sound. Not only do they deliver clever and innovative solutions, but all the while they have a sustainable and environmentally conscious mind-set.
Once we have the acoustics sorted, we can then turn to how we integrate great sound into any given space, with an awareness of how the space has been designed. What we’re after is a wide and three-dimensional soundscape. We want to fill the space with beautiful music!
And that’s where DALI plays such a critical role – they fill a room with such great sound. These are speakers of elegance and refinement – they are artwork in their own right – with incredible lines and finishes that radiate luxury. We are able to offer our clients such an incredible range of speaker products that fit everything from small office spaces to large great rooms and private home cinemas.
And then it's really a matter of what source material the client prefers. We are doing a ton of business in vinyl and while that might seem retro, it’s still one of the most critical formats for high fidelity. While we offer a range of turntables, the Rega Planar series is one of our top sellers.
Rega is another venerable name in the world of performance audio. They started back in 1973 and as an engineering concern, they are obsessed with specialist materials, tolerances and accuracy. They are so confident in their dedication to the art of sound that they offer a lifetime warranty against manufacture defects on every single product they make.
Of course, streaming has increased in popularity while CDs are still a big part of people’s music archive. We are big proponents of Bluesound, which is a wireless protocol that you can deploy to get sound everywhere in a residence. Regardless of what the client uses for source material, it still comes back to the final set-up and calibration of an audio system to get maximum performance.
My viewpoint, which I share with the client, is how I would want the final system to look and sound like if it were my house. With experience comes knowledge, and our team has been designing and integrating great sound into beautiful spaces for many, many years. So while the client and designer certainly sign off on whatever elegant finish they opt for in their DALI speakers, we still want to place them exactly into the space to get every last nuance of musical detail.
At the end of the day, we want our customers to be able to enjoy great sound in any space, while paying respect to the design and décor. I like to equate fine audio with fine dining. Everybody likes to go to a restaurant and eat well. You don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate great food – you know it when you taste it. The same goes for performance audio – if you take the time to go to your local high fidelity retailer and just sit down and experience a great audio system, you’ll understand why some of us are so passionate about the art and the science of music reproduction.