Sound choices: Your essential guide to built-in home audio

93 SoundChoices

Many people are opting for built-in home audio systems. But how do you know if it’s right for your home? We take you through the reasons to choose built-in, what to consider when planning, and ways to avoid common problems.

Why built-in?

Freestanding and built-in systems each have their advantages. It’s a question of what works best for you.

For many people, the main reason for installing in-wall or in-ceiling audio is aesthetic – there are no ugly speakers or wires to spoil the sleekness of your living space or clash with your decor. Concealed speakers also optimise floor space in small homes, reducing clutter and solving furnishing problems.

Built-in audio can be ideal for a whole-house system or a home theatre set-up, where many speakers are needed. So if you want a great surround-sound system and an uncluttered room, it may be the best option for you.

As long as you choose and install wisely, a home audio system can also add to the resale value of your home or be an attractive feature for tenants.

Planning your system

The right set-up depends on what you want to achieve. Think about these questions when researching your options:

In how many rooms are you planning on installing speakers? What about outdoor entertainment areas?

Do you want to be able to zone your areas and play different music in different rooms at the same time? Should you be able to turn off sound in specific areas?

Will this be part of a complete home theatre or AV system, or simply a way to play music through your home?

Do you want a wired or unwired system? Running wires through your walls and ceilings makes installation more difficult, but the benefit is better and more reliable sound quality.

How do you want to control your system – with in-wall controls, or using your smartphone or computer over Wi-Fi or bluetooth? Consider what technological changes may mean.

What sources will your music come from – a streaming service, audio files or your good oldfashioned record player?

The answers will determine what components you need, and how complex your system will be.

Avoiding audio pitfalls

The best way to avoid most of the pitfalls of installing home audio is to get professional help. Placement is crucial for quality sound, and you can’t just move your in-ceiling speakers if they’re not in the optimum position! It’s worth talking with a professional about planning your system properly.

Even with wireless audio set-ups, some wiring and carpentry know-how is needed for a neat installation job. The easiest time to install is when you’re building or planning renovations. If you’re retrofitting into your existing home, consider professional help. A well-installed system can add value, but an obvious DIY job may not.

The final thing to watch for is the very real risk that your system will become obsolete before you know it. Technology changes so fast; streaming services and bluetooth were virtually unheard of 10 years ago. Futureproof by choosing well-established, recognisable brands that offer backward compatibility. This will help with resale value, too.

a bit of planning and the right advice, you can get the most out of an audio system that complements your lifestyle and adds real value to your home.

For information about what home improvements could increase resale value or rental potential, talk to your mortgage broker today.

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