Bronze Winner: Gramophone
Surround Crown
One cool and entertaining condo that merges A/V, Apple devices and clever controls.
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Bronze Winner: Whole Home Under $50,000
May 04, 2011 by Steven Castle

He already had the TV, and it’s a good one: a 60-inch Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma, with great blacks and contrast. This owner of a condo in a Baltimore industrial building just needed something more—like surround sound and a control system that could tie his A/V components together.

The ultimate goal wasn’t only to have a stunning and smart media room, the owner wanted a complete home automation system that could operate the condo’s thermostats, lights, and shades, and link with his Apple products using AirPort Express.

“He had a clear vision of what he wanted, and just didn’t know what products he needed,” says Andrew Davis of custom electronics installation firm Gramophone, located in Timonium, Md.
Gramophone examined the condo and looked for ways to run the wiring that would connect the various electronic components. Although the floor and ceiling are made of concrete, the installers were able to find a few avenues through which to fish the cabling.

The wall where the TV hangs had to be rebuilt to support the 60-inch plasma display, so there was some space there to pull cabling. Old phone plates were converted into Ethernet jacks, and existing Category 5 Ethernet cables were used as pulls to install data lines for a Control4 home control system. New higher-speed Category 6 cabling was added from the utility room, where a rack of A/V gear resides, to the home entertainment wall.

An existing Lutron shading system was updated, too. The buttons on the original Lutron wall-mounted keypad were swapped for blue LED-backlit buttons to match the hue of the condo’s new Control4 touchpads. In addition to the keypads and touchpads, the owner can use his iPad to operate the lights, shades and everything else in the condo.

System Design & Installation
Gramophone, Timonium, Md.
www.gramophone.com
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Gramophone matched the Pioneer plasma to B&W’s sleek XT8 front speakers, XTC center channel and XT2 surround speakers—with B&W’s circular PV1 subwoofer to round out a 5.1-channel system. “The XT series matched the sleek look he was going for,” says Davis, “and the sound quality is great for listening to music as well as home theater.”

The B&Ws are driven by a Rotel RMB-1575 five-channel power amp, delivering 250 watts per channel through an Integra receiver. The audio system is connected to an Apple TV and Apple AirPort Express to stream music via Wi-Fi. The pleasures of Blu-ray come from a Sony BDP-S1000ES player. In the bedroom is a simple but great-sounding B&W Zeppelin iPod dock.

At the front entrance to the condo, Gramophone went above and beyond. The condo owner wanted to know when the cleaning or building maintenance staff had entered his space when he isn’t there, so a ZigBee-enabled occupancy sensor at the front door signals the Control4 system to send him an email with the time of entry noted. Gramophone is working on a solution that will enable the sensor to recognize the Bluetooth on the owner’s iPhone, so if someone enters without that, he receives an email alert. EH

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

Products
DCAC6 Power Strip - 6 Outlet 1 ea
LV1 ECD #91328 1-Gang Retro Ring 4 ea
LVMB1 ECD #91717 1-Gang Plaster Ring 1 ea
HC300-E-B Control4 Processor w/Remote 1 ea
KPZ6B1-B Control4 6Button Keypad Black 2 ea
C4-IOX-E-B Control4 IO Extender 2 ea
KPZ6B1-B Control4 6Button Keypad Black 1 ea
KPZ6B1-B Control4 6Button Keypad Black 1 ea
C4-KPTK1-M-B Control4 Keypad TABLE KIT BLK 1 ea
C4-2URMK-B Control4 2U Rack KIT HC-300 1 ea
C4-3PNAV-IPAD Control4 MOB Navigator IPAD 1 ea
C4-3PANV Control4 Mobile Navigator LCNS 1 ea
C4-4Sight Control4 1YR 4 Sight Subscript 1 ea
C4-CHE-XXX Control4 Composer Home Edition 1 ea
CCZ-T1-W Control4 WireLESS Thermostat 1 ea
LDZ-102-B Control4 Dimmer - Black 11 ea
LSZ-102-B Control4 Switch - Black 7 ea
LSZ-3W1-B Control4 WireLESS 2BTN Keypad 3 ea
LOZ-5D1-W Control4 Outlet Dimmer 6 ea
LOZ-5S1-W Control4 Outlet Switch 1 ea
LDZ-102-B Control4 Dimmer - Black 6 ea
SRW2016 Cisco 16 Port Gigabit Switch 1 ea
F1000-UPS Furman 1000VA UPS 1 ea
AC-215A Furman Flat Panel Pwr Cond 15A 1 ea
Utility317 Mid Atlantic Shelf 3-SP 17" DP 1 ea
D2 Mid Atlantic 2-SP Drawer 1 ea
Custom Rack Mid Atlantic Slim-5 43-SP Rack 1 ea
5WL Mid Atlantic Slim5 Caster Set 1 ea
HP Mid Atlantic 100 SCREWS w/WASH 1 PK
LBP1A Mid Atlantic Lacing Bar (10PK) 1 PK
Utility2 Middle Atlantic Shelf 3 1/2"H 2 ea
Utility317 Mid Atlantic Shelf 3-SP 17" DP 1 ea
VTF1 Mid Atlantic Perf Vent PNL 1SP 8 ea
BR1 Mid Atlantic Brush Grommet 1U 1 ea
Utility2 Middle Atlantic Shelf 3 1/2"H 1 ea
Utility3 Middle Atlantic Shelf 5 1/4"H 1 ea
BDPS1000ES SONY ES Blu-ray Disc Player 1 ea
XT8B B&W Speaker - Black 2 ea
XT2B B&W XT2 Speaker - Black 2 ea
XTCB B&W XTC Speaker - Black 1 ea
FSXT B&W XT2 Speaker STAND ALUMINUM 1 PR
RMB1575 Rotel 5 Channel Power AMP 1 ea
PV1B B&W PV1 Subwoofer Black 1 ea
C5HDMI-R Niles CAT5 HDMI Receive Balun 1 ea
C5HDMI-T Niles CAT5 HDMI Transmit Balun 1 ea
PST-U Chief Fixed Universal Mount 1 ea
IRE3.0 Speakercraft IR Emitter w/LED 3 ea
IRE1.0 Speakercraft IR Emitter 2 ea
1296 DB9 M/F Straight Serial Cable 1 ea
136 3.5mm MINI Male/Male MONO 5' 1 ea
Cinnamon-0.6M AudioQuest HDMI Cable - 0.6M 2 ea
YIQXI-1M AudioQuest RGB Cable - 1M' 1 PR
M-22-F/FLX AudioQuest Y Adaptor 1M/2F 1 ea
XSNAKEI-2M AudioQuest Audio Cable - 2M' 1 PR
CAT6B AudioQuest CAT6 Cable - BLUE 20 FT
XSNAKEI-1M AudioQuest Audio Cable - 1M' 3 PR
FLXDB-14/2 AudioQuest 14/2 Speaker Wire 300 FT
SUBX-2M AudioQuest SUB Cable - 2M' 1 ea
PhonoLink2 Monster PL2 RCA Connector 2 PR
WCS10A-2-ZP Card Access Wireless Contact S 1 ea
HBL3 BLANK 3 Space Aluminum, Black 1 ea
184S600V Lighting Cable 4+1Drain 18GA 12 FT
CW3-BL Claro 3 Gang Wallplate - Black 1 ea
CW1-BL Claro 1 Gang Wallplate - Black 13 ea
CW2-BL Claro 2 Gang Wallplate - Black 4 ea
CW4-BL Claro 4 Gang Wallplate - Black 1 ea
CW3-BL Claro 3 Gang Wallplate - Black 1 ea
SVQ-CCI-8 Lutron Contact Closure Input 1 ea
SQD-3DI-BL-E01 Lutron 3 Button Dual Keypad 2 ea
SQD-3I-BL-E01 Lutron 3 Button Keypad 1 ea
C-0409 CAT 5E RJ45 Interconnect 3' 6 ea
SVQ-CBL-250 Vimco 7-Cond Motor Drive Cable 124 FT
SVQ-CBL-250 Vimco 7-Cond Motor Drive Cable 250 FT
Zeppelin B&W Zeppelin iPod System 1 ea

Installation Info
Systems Design & Installation:
Gramophone, Timonium, Md.
http://www.gramophone.com

Home Size: 1,700 square feet
Cost: $40,000 (includes installation and labor)
Project Duration: One month
Construction: Retrofit

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