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Design & Interiors

Luxurious sound options

McIntosh home audio XT21K
McIntosh home audio XT21K dull assembly speakers. PHOTO | COURTESY 

To make your home more entertaining you need good company and perfect entertainment.

So what is the difference between a home theatre, home cinema and home audio system? I asked Ronald Nzioki Musyoka of Electrohub and he articulated it well.

“A home theater is that entertainment space in a residence designed to enjoy movies, TV and music. It has features like recliners, beanbags and acts like a den or man cave.”

“It is a living area designed to offer a heightened audio visual experience with concert like sound and multi dimensional visual effects. It will consist of a large video display in form of a flat panel digital screen, like the ‘cardboard thin’ OLED or a projector with video screen. It will be paired with a multi-channel, surround sounder system with speakers placed all over the room including the roof .” he said.

Thanks to the growth of the entertainment industry in general the global home audiovisual equipment industry is set to grow $28 billion over the next five years. The local real estate market has grown and naturally the luxury end of the market has expanded with the introduction of automated smart homes.

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The last decade has seen tremendous growth with new unimagined levels picture and sound quality being achieved across the industry. From wireless sound using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to speakerless TVs.

Most modern audio systems offer wireless connections for a clean seamless room but you can find others that are still required to be wired. You will need to design your home to conceal all the cabling which requires better planning. A good quality speaker reduces resonance and defines clarity across all channels. To maximize sound quality you need to distribute through a high quality amplifier. The more speakers you have the better the experience will be.

How can you identify the ideal equipment?

First you need to do some research and then seek to understand what Dolby ATMOS and DTS X mean to sound. Then you need to speak to an expert to have your home surveyed and the right system recommended. A few professionals have decided to specialize in this niche field. Electrohub Limted is one and they have been in operation for nine years.

According to its managing director, Edwin Msamo, there is a growing number of discerning Kenyans with good taste for sound and all they need is guidance. ’’We offer that and deliver the best product on budget,’’ he added.

Another supplier in professional audio installation is Ultra Equipment Limited. According to founder Ifran Merali, Kenya is ready to embrace modern technology in sound and vision. “We are licensed distributors of several international brands including HARMAN, JBL and Tannoy.” he said.

If you are looking for a good home theater audio system the number of options is almost limitless with brands like POLK, Harman (now part of Samsung), JAMO, ONYKO, DENON, KEF and Meridian.

These five listed here are just what I would propose you start looking at.

BOSE Lifestyle 650 – Price from Sh350,000

The home theater package features the popular cube shaped speakers. For your home entertainment ask for the Lifestyle 650 System with the OmniJewel satellite speakers. They are smaller than the normal cube ones and blend in better in homes. The first thing you notice with the new Bose speak design is the beautiful glass top on the sub hoofer and console. BOSE design is always safe and devoid of adventure.

SONOS price from Sh250,000

Little known outside the modern audiophile community, this brand is thunderously good. Its looks are understated but it goes on to deliver a sound so refined it could render you an instant antisocial. It is almost as good as a great book and a warm cup of coffee in chilly weather, just better by a mile.

This is the home entertainment system for the trendy, upward mobile audiophile. Its clean design lends well with clean uncluttered interiors. It is easy to set up and use making it a people’s product. You do not need a degree in electronic engineering to set it up yet it delivers superior quality sound.

KLIPSCH Reference Premier - Price from Sh450,000

Everything about it says old-school except its output. It is bulky, wooden veneer look gives it that timeless and luxurious look. Created by Paul Kipsch in Hope, Arkansas in 1946 it is one of those products you need to know to really know. It will make no sense to Millennials unless they grew up seeing it thanks to those that came before. You will not find it at the shop next door as each unit is built to order. Expect to wait for the high-end units.

It will be months before it is put into production and delivered. It is packed in a cotton bag before boxing to protect the finish from damage. It will be worth the wait though as they are work of art and sound. Be prepared to hand it down to the next generation of listeners and pray they appreciate it.

McIntosh – Price on request

This brand is for more than the average audiophile. It targets the purist. Coveted by the most discerning it delivers sound without compromise. This equipment must be respected with perfect acoustics and well-composed music, preferably classics. Handcrafted since 1949 this brand makes no excuses. Each product takes one or two years to design, develop and test. It is designed to outlive its owner. They produce both home audio to home theater systems.

Bang and Olufsen – Price from Sh1,000,000

If you are not interested in several speakers littered across your living room and keener on a ‘picture perfect interior’ and perfect picture, then the Beovision Harmony delivers in spades.

A strategic partnership with LG’s brings the best OLED technology available with a 77inch 4K display. The Beovision Harmony is more than just a TV with great sound. It is a work of art and an act. Switch it on and it magically unfolds like a butterfly spreading its wings to reveal the 77 inches of LG goodness.

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