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We're here to help you navigate the complex world of home technology. Peruse our blog for the latest information about the solutions that matter most to you.
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Get the Ultimate Control4 Home Automation Experience

The New Avidia is Ready to Make it Happen

What is home automation? Is it the ability to turn a light on and off with your smartphone instead of a switch? Is it the ability to tell your thermostat to change the temperature? Or is a way to control your home theater equipment without getting lost in multiple remotes and settings?

The answer is yes, it’s all of the above - but much more. All of these things make for a better experience living in your home. When small things are taken care of for you, less time is spent checking on whether your doors are locked and your alarm system is armed, and technology does your bidding rather than you having to learn how to use it – then you have the experience home automation is supposed to deliver. 

We at Avidia are focused on ensuring that your experience with home technology is a luxury you can enjoy as the fruits of your hard work. Home automation and technology should make your life simpler, giving you back time for what you want to do and who you want to do it with.

At the same time, we don’t believe this kind of automated luxury is purely the province of the ultra-wealthy. We design, configure, install, and support home technology solutions that are accessible not only from a usability standpoint but also a financial one. Whether you need a lighting control solution for your living areas or a full-fledged Control4 home automation system to manage your sprawling Barrington, IL estate, Avidia is ready to be of service.

Read on to learn more about why you should consider Avidia for all your home technology needs.

 

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How Do Motorized Shades Work? Avidia Tells All.

Explore the Many Uses & Benefits of Automated Blinds

When it comes to the subject of motorized shades, you may be wondering—haven’t people gotten by with manual window treatments for many years? Why would anyone need motorized shades? The introduction of new technologies often prompts this question. But the more you learn about this smart solution, the more you will discover how it can benefit your household.

To learn how motorized shades work and all they can accomplish in your Glenview, IL home, continue reading below!

 

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Interested in Control4 Home Automation?

Why Avidia Service Makes a Difference

In large metropolitan areas like Chicago, there is no shortage of service providers for practically anything you can think of - and that goes for home automation technology as well. The technology itself is important, and with smart home technology and automation, you should choose companies and platforms that continue to innovate and add new capabilities.

Since 2003, Control4 has been an innovator and leader in home automation. There’s very little their system can’t do when it comes to smart home control, and Avidia is proud to be a Control4 Platinum Dealer. In June, we detailed the latest software from Control4, OS 3, which adds significant functionality and ease of use to make it one of the most elegant and flexible home automation platforms.

While the technology is critical, who installs and services it is just as crucial to your overall experience and satisfaction. This month, we’d like to tell you why and how Avidia is different, and why you should choose us for your Glenview home’s Control4 smart home system.

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways Smart Home Technology Gives You Hands-Off Control

 

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Comparing Two Approaches to Multiroom Audio: Sonos vs. Control4

Which One is Right for You?

What sets a mood better than music? Spotify, for example, has playlists for driving, exercising, relaxing, falling asleep, and romance; and that covers just some of the activities and moods. Services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music have made it ridiculously easy to dial up most of the world's recorded music on a smart device, so music is just a couple of clicks away with streaming.

As streaming has revolutionized music consumption, the equipment delivering it has changed quite a bit too. Old school stereo systems and vinyl still exist and are thriving, but many people have turned to the convenience of wireless speaker solutions for background listening. While wireless speakers (like the plethora of Bluetooth models) can sound quite good, most will fall short of audiophile class and not compare well to more traditional speakers. With Bluetooth in particular, the technology does not accommodate multiple speakers playing the same music in synchrony. Traditionally, multiroom audio systems in the home have been built around a music source, distribution amplifiers to power built-in speakers in multiple rooms, and a unified method of controlling it.

Sonos is a company that made a name for itself in multiroom audio by upending the traditional model. With its wireless speakers, a proprietary wireless network for synchronization, and a unified user interface from a smartphone or tablet, the company's products made it easy to have a multiroom system.

Does that mean that Sonos should be your multiroom system of choice? In some situations, it might do well. But there are many factors to consider for whole-home audio. If you’re considering a multiroom audio system for your Glenview, IL home, read on to compare two approaches to state-of-the-art whole home systems: Sonos and Control4.

SEE ALSO: 5 Great Speaker Options for Your Whole House Audio

 

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Your Starter’s Guide to Building an Outdoor Speaker System

Your Starter’s Guide to Building an Outdoor Speaker System

There’s nothing like music to boost everyone’s spirits. In fact, listening to music has been proven to reduce stress and symptoms of depression. So, this summer, enhance your days at home with more sun, more cookouts, and more music with a dedicated outdoor sound system. Whether you’re a country, rock, or pop music family, New Jersey manufacturer Coastal Source produces weatherproof outdoor speakers that will impress even the ultimate audiophiles here in the Chicagoland area.

If outdoor audio interests you, but you aren’t sure how to add entertainment to your backyard or how to add it to your existing home audio system, let us here at Avidia help. Continue reading below to discover how your home in the Glenview, Illinois area will benefit from an outdoor speaker system.

SEE ALSO: 8 Common Misconceptions About High-End Audio Systems

Getting Started

The first step toward building a dedicated outdoor speaker system at your Glenview-area home is to figure out what you want out of your outdoor audio setup. Do you want music throughout your landscape? Do you want to create a surround sound setup for an outdoor home theater? Perhaps a combination of both? Once you have your goals established for your new outdoor audio setup, the next step is to get in touch with your local outdoor audio installation expert.

Our team at Avidia is local to the Glenview area and has more than 20 years of experience designing custom outdoor speaker systems in the Chicagoland region. We can help you not only select the perfect outdoor speaker and subwoofer combination for your backyard that is optimized for coverage throughout your landscape, but we also can assist throughout the installation process – using weatherproof cabling, high-quality equipment and even integrations with your existing home control system. We explain more in the section below.

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Meet the New Control4 OS 3: What You Need to Know

Meet the New Control4 OS 3: What You Need to Know

In case you missed the news last month, Control4 has unleashed a beautiful, brand-new operating system: OS 3. With an elegant appearance and helpful new features, OS 3 makes every interaction with your home automation system simplified and personalized. Whether you already have a Control4 system in your Northbrook-area home or you’re new to Control4 home automation, continue reading to learn how the Control4’s newest operating system can bring relaxation, convenience, and fun to your northern Illinois living space.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Use Control4 in Your New Construction

New to Control4?

Control4 is one of the world’s leading home automation platforms that enables you to effortlessly manage your smart home’s devices from one universal interface. With a smartphone, tablet, universal remote or even a voice-command speaker, you can turn on all of your home’s lights at once, control music in every room, and check security cameras. With presets like “Morning” and “Night,” your home can automatically adjust the temperature, blinds, indoor and exterior lights at just the press of a button. On your way home late at night? Right from your smartphone, you can turn on the first-floor lights before the car is in the driveway. Control4 is a smart way to save energy, time, and peace of mind.

The New Features

Control4’s new OS 3 offers an evolved and smooth interface with larger icons that are easier to see from far away. With the “Favorites” feature, you can put the most frequently used icons on the main dashboard screen and save favorite rooms to the top of the list. Screens are now customizable with wallpapers, and new OS 3 icons represent the active state of your devices. That way, you can instantly see if the garage door is open, fans are on, or if the front door is locked – simply based on the status of the icons on your Control4 interface.

For whole home audio users, the new “Sessions” screens show what’s playing throughout the entire house. Sliders make it easier to change the volume in one room, multiple rooms, or the whole house at once. The new “Now Playing” screen enables you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and even evaluate the audio quality.

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8 Common Misconceptions About High-End Audio Systems

All music fans would love to listen to their favorite artists and albums just as they first sounded in the recording studio. Great sound is the ultimate goal for anyone that calls themselves a music lover, which is why high-end audio systems have exploded in popularity over the past fifty years. However, some common myths have persisted that have kept people from actually taking advantage of the power of high-performance sound. In this blog, we highlight some of the most persistent ones to make sure you don’t make any common mistakes when investing in a high-end audio system.

SEE MORE: Creating the Perfect Atmosphere for Enjoying High-End Audio

  1. It’s Only for Audiophiles: There's the misconception that these systems are only meant for gearheads that spend their days studying the specs behind amplifiers, cables, and speakers. High-end systems are not limited to a small club; they're meant for anyone who loves music.
  2. Price Equals Quality: This common myth has had two negative results. In some circles, it's kept people from dipping their feet into high-end systems because they don't want to invest in $10,000 amplifiers or $50,000 speakers. It's also resulted in disjointed systems that just combine the most expensive products on the market.The right equipment will depend on a lot of factors. Choices for your system should never be based on price point. Instead, work with an AV professional to test-drive various components before finding out which one would work best.
  3. Newer is Always Better: If you're building a new system, you likely want to make sure you buy the latest models for optimal compatibility. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of things that have worked in the past—especially when it comes to source components. If you have a vintage turntable that you've been using for decades, then you should add it your new system! You’ve already grown used to its sound, so why not enhance it by hooking it up to new amplifiers and speakers?
  4. Ignoring the Bass: The staunchest of audiophiles like to stick to the traditional 2-channel system, relegating the subwoofer to home theater applications. But your listening experience could definitely benefit from having better bass. Part of the problem is that most 2-channel amps and preamps don't have subwoofer crossover capabilities, but the right AV technician can easily incorporate one into your system to make sure you’re getting the fullest sound possible.
  5. Power is Everything: If there's one thing everyone knows about speakers, it’s firepower. While you certainly want to make sure your speaker can fill the room with sound, power should never be the number one priority. Specs can also be a bit misleading in this regard, so you shouldn’t be counting on them when choosing a system. Instead, listen to a few speakers to see which offer the sound best suited for the room and the kind of music you like to listen to.
  6. It’s All About the Gear: While the focus should certainly be on finding the best equipment, you can't ignore your surroundings. Make sure that you give your high-end system the right space to shine. From finding the right size and layout to installing acoustic treatments, you want to create the ideal audio environment.
  7. Leading With the Speakers: Your speakers are going to be your system’s biggest stars. That doesn’t mean they’re the most important part. Don’t splurge on speakers then settle for mid-level equipment for your amplifiers, pre-amps, or sources. Try and balance out your budget as much as possible, with the majority of your attention going to your amps and preamps.
  8. There’s a ‘Correct’ Sound: Be wary of any dealer or AV technician that tries to tell you one particular speaker offers the ‘correct' sound. Everyone has different preferences and ultimately you need to choose what you think sounds best, not what someone tells you sounds ‘right'.

The experts at Avidia can introduce you to some of the best equipment in the industry, just fill out our online contact form to schedule a visit. Once you’ve tested it out and found the right fit, we optimize your room acoustics and calibrate your equipment to make sure you’re getting the best audio possible.

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How to Enhance Your Home Theater with Smart Lighting

Home theater design is all about adapting your room to enhance your new speakers, projector, and screen. Every aspect of the space can be adjusted to give you the best audio and video quality possible. For the latter, much of the focus is on creating the right lighting environment. Through blackout shades, stylistic adjustments, and smart control, we help you design a movie-watching experience in your Wilmette, IL home that mimics the one in a commercial theater.

SEE MORE: 4 Steps to Designing the Ultimate Home Theater System

Eliminate Ambient Lighting

A big part of your home theater design is making the room as dark as possible. We recommend installing your system in a room with no windows, but if that's not feasible you can install blackout shades to reduce light coming in from the outside. You can also modify your décor to keep light from bouncing around the room. Use darker colors for your walls, ceilings, and carpeting and avoid using decorations that include glass enclosures.

Centralize Control of Lights

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How to Find the Right Sources for Your Home Audio System

You've invested in brand new high-end speakers and the best-rated AV receiver on the market. You've installed a whole house audio system that makes it easy for you to pull up your favorite music in any room of your Lake Forest, IL home. Once you hit play, though, you're disappointed to find there's static coming through your state-of-the-art system.

It’s easy to blame your brand new equipment or the people that installed it. Often, though, it's not an entire revamp that you need, simply a change in music. When you upgrade your stereo system, you're going to get much crisper, powerful sound. But if you're listening to poor sources—say an overused CD player or MP3 file—the system is simply going to magnify their flaws. For this reason, it's critical that you connect the right source components when installing your whole house audio system. 

SEE MORE: Best Speaker Options for Your Whole House Audio

CD vs. Turntable

Physical music sources like CD players or turntables are the least popular when it comes to whole house music systems for a simple reason. You need to manually access your source component if you want to change the album, taking away from the benefit of having centralized access. That being said, we're not saying you have to throw away your CD or vinyl collections.

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How Home Automation Helps You Care for Your Pets

According to a study by ECN Magazine, 70 percent of pet parents feel guilty when they have to leave their pets alone to go to work or on vacation. Home automation systems have become a way for owners to take care of their pets’ wellbeing without having to be in their Kenilworth, IL home. Whether it’s making sure fish aquariums have the right environment or the cat isn’t getting into the pantry again, owners can get peace of mind with these smart home features.

SEE MORE: How to Give Your Smart Home a Personal Feel

Your Personal Animal Channel

Why scour the internet for cute dog and cat videos when you can look in on your personal favorites? With a home automation solution, you can watch live surveillance footage from your smartphone at any time. See if your dog is still by the door waiting for you to return or check if the cat left you any gifts in the litter box. You can search from room to room and zoom in to get a good look at what your pets are doing.

Upgrade to a Smart Doggy Door

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Office:
655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200

Office:
655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200