Smart design help

Let us show you how to easy it is to control any of your home or office smart systems. With seamless installation of display pads and discreet placement of central controllers we fit right in with your beautiful designs. For over thirty years Ultimate has worked with leading Architects, Interior Designers, Builders & Homeowners. Contact us today for your complimentary project assessment.

Lighting Management

Daylight Harvesting, Occupancy Sensors, Site Lighting Reduction and Task Lighting are all part of an environmentally conscious smart home design. Newly released Crestron Systems (residential & commercial) work with photo-sensors that measure natural light and only add artificial light according to preprogrammed light levels. Add in motion sensors & auto-shade controllers and achieve maximum efficiency in any room. For more on design options, full installation services & ongoing technical support contact us at Ultimate.

Just released & shipping now

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In our last update we focused on the importance of selecting a professional integrator. In this issue, we spotlight new hardware and software releases. First, designed for both mobile devices and TSW Touch Screens, Crestron's new Home OS3 System includes new dynamic page designs, updated room control functions and creative display icons. The Crestron Home System is both intuitive and cost effective for any SmartHome System Deployment. In tandem to the new OS3, Crestron is now shipping the CP4-R - it's latest central controller unit that provides double the RAM and 4x the speed of the CP3. If your interested in new Crestron Home System Solutions just contact us anytime at Ultimate. We provide planning, design services, full installation and ongoing support.

Before You Begin Installation

Install scalable Smart Building Environments and leave room for growth. Here are some basic considerations:

  • How many rooms will be covered and what's the best method to connect the rooms?

  • What specific system functionality do you want for each room?

  • Where will the source components be located and what type of device(s) do you want to control all of the systems functions?

Lastly, don't forget the motorized shades! It's one of the most impressive and costeffective feature that you can provide for a client. Our complimentary project assessment is just a click away.

Select a partner that provides expertise & experience

For 33 years Jack Borenstein has led Ultimate Sound & Installations, Inc. Well known to Architects, Designers and Property Owners, Jack has built a solid reputation as a leader in designing and installing customized sound, video, building infrastructure systems, access control, motorized shade systems and much more. Selecting the right smart-tech partner for your project eliminates potential mishaps.

Contact Jack directly at: designteam@ultisound.com

“Many thanks once again for all of your efforts with the Park Slope project. Our clients are delighted with apartment in general- and especially with all of the magic you provided – touch screen, electric shades. lighting controls, television, etc.” Joan Craig, AIA Litchen Craig Architects

Pick Powerful Baseline Systems

Did you know that sophisticated baseline packages for smart-home and office technology can operate all lighting, audiovideo, security, shades, thermostats, tele-vid-conferencing and much more. Portable or wall mounted, one-touch or voice activated pads provide full intelligence to any system function within the building. We provide a wide range of smart building solutions to fit any budget. We have the experience and expertise to provide your clients with excellent performance and ongoing tech-support. Contact us at Ultimate for a complimentary project assessment. We service Architects, Designers, Builders, Property Managers and Owners throughout the tri-state.

Private Residences

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The resurgence of owning private residences in luxury hotels has led to some creative SMART technology for our clients. At minimum, our clients want automated control for lighting, temperature & entertainment. We also provide motorized shade control, unit access control and video conferencing technology. Not only do we help design the systems, we also provide hands-on installation and all maintenance. Contact us to learn more about our residence installations at Ultimate Sound & Installations, Inc.

Closer to Home

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Formerly known as the New York Palace, the Lotte New York Palace has undergone extensive enhancements to it's integrated building technology systems.

The energy savings component became the driving force behind upgrading the hotel's existing building's system infrastructure. In winter, automated systems can lower room temperatures in any unoccupied guest room. In summer, the hotel can control window shade positions to achieve lower room temps. As a result, the hotel saves thousands of dollars per year on energy costs while at the same time providing guests with state-of-the art touch control automation convenience.

By the Numbers

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By 2020, 49 million US households will have some form of Smart Home Technology. Same period Smart Home Revenues are expected to exceed $22 billion.

Here's a List of Smart Home Technology provided by the Ultimate Design Team:

  • Access control

  • CCTV

  • Data networks

  • Distributed audio

  • Energy management

  • Home cinema

  • HVAC controls

  • Lighting control

  • Pool and garden

  • Security systems

  • Telephones and communications

  • Window shade controls

Wall Pad Design & Layout

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Working with a Home Automation Designer is essential to ensure that your clients are receiving the best in service and performance. Delegating integration of home automation systems to a professional integrator is your best way to go. Planning, layout, design, site preparation, installation, testing and supporting whole home or office automation is what Ultimate provides. Please contact us today for a Complimentary Project Review.

Crestron Commercial Solutions

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More and more upscale properties are installing complete controller solutions. From guest rooms to dining areas to the spa, completely integrated controllers manage temperature, lighting, entertainment and shade control. Even conference rooms are now equipped with state- of-the art audio-video control technology. Consider sophisticated Crestron Controller Systems to enhance your client's next project. Contact us at Ultimate to learn more about how we work with you to design and install the very best in Integrated Smart-Control Systems.

Create An Unforgettable Guest Experience

While travelers and patrons have come to expect a solid WI-FI experience, hoteliers and restaurant owners are stepping up their games when it comes to providing guests with engaging media viewing and soothing acoustics. You can install spectacular light-shows, create a live-music experience and make your guests feel like they are at the cinema.

Start your New Year off with a complimentary AV Integration Project Assessment. Please contact us now at designteam@ultisound.com

2019 Best In Lobby Designs

Did you know that according to one of the world’s leading integrated design firms, hospitality design demand is up over 10% for the past two years. While Guest Rooms are getting smaller, Common Rooms are growing both in size and techno- concentric design. More owners are seeking sleek media viewing options, customized sound control features, all-in-one smart-touch controls that provide command options for lighting, air control, guest notice displays, menus and even motorized window shading. Contact us at Ultimate to learn more about how we work with you to design and install the very best in Integrated Smart-Control Systems.

How to Get a Great Deal on Your AV System

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Never pay retail!

That's the battle cry of the consumer, right? The golden rule of shopping.

Sy Syms took that sacred commandment one step further. If you don't know that name, he built a once legendary discount clothing dynasty, Syms Department Stores on the tagline, "An educated consumer is our best customer."

Sound advice indeed. And in retail, we know how to educate ourselves when it comes to finding the best stuff and paying the least for it. It's in our DNA. Goes back thousands of years. You can picture the scene at the bazarre somewhere in Bahgdad many moons ago. The internet has only magnified our innate behavior to find the ultimate deal. And what do you do when you find that special something you just have to have?

You haggle for the best deal, of course, right?

But when it comes to shopping for a custom AV system and the right company to design and install it for you, the same rules of retail don't necessarily apply.

Here's why.

In retail, you don't question why that Armani suit costs $5000 and the one at Men's Wearhouse costs $250. The salesman of the latter suit might give you a well worn song and dance about how you're getting very similar quality and tell you you're just paying all that extra money for the Armani name.

But the Armani salesman would simply find your size and help you try it on and ask you to have a look in the mirror. No more words necessary. The suit tells the whole story. The quality of the workmanship speaks for itself. Now maybe you don't want to simply drop your credit card down and pay full boat. You might even find it elsewhere on sale for $3800. But you would never, in your right mind, insult that Armani salesperson and ask him if you could have the suit for $500, would you?

But when it comes to deciding about AV systems and a good company to install it, it becomes much harder to educate yourself about this ever changing world of technology. A world that reinvents itself seemingly weekly. With all the AV gadgets out there and even more information to sift through about them, how are you supposed to make sound, informed decisions about the AV system you're looking forth? We simply don't have that innate price/quality/value chart readily at hand when trying to figure out how to make sense of this vast, mysterious world.

Q: How do you even figure out what you're looking for in an AV system, let alone what you should pay?

A: You find a good AV company who can guide through the myriad technology choices out there and steer you in the right direction to create a system that meets your needs and budget.

So we'll assume that, like the well educated consumer you are, you've already done your diligence and narrowed down your search to a few good AV companies. You've asked trusted friends and associates for referrals, researched them online. Now you begin the selection process by reaching out and setting up meetings to discuss your project.

After asking all the important questions that will help them to define the size and scope of your project so they can provide you an accurate quote, your AV company, if they're worth their salt, will then ask you another important question. What's your budget?

Why?

Because it's pointless for them to waste their time writing up a $100K proposal for all the bells and whistles in a top shelf system, if you were only thinking of spending $10K. Now maybe you do have a budget in mind or maybe you're not sure yet. Maybe you have the means to buy whatever you want. Maybe you're on a very tight budget and can only spend X no matter what. Maybe you don't want to disclose that information in the hopes that you can extract the best deal from your AV company.

But what does a good deal even look like?

The quotes come back and the numbers are all over the place right on up to figures that might even shock you. (How could THAT system cost $100K??) But still, you're not quite sure what you're getting for all these different numbers because each company might be quoting different AV equipment. So you go back to your prospects and ask them to clarify the proposal.

After this process, you feel you have a pretty good grasp of what each company is offering. At this point, you've probably started formulating opinions and maybe now you're leaning towards one particular vendor. So you vette them further and now, after multiple interactions you feel comfortable that this company would be a great fit because they really "get you".

Now the dance begins.

That retail autopilot takes over and now you begin the haggling part. You're not even sure what exactly you're haggling for but you do it anyway. It's in your DNA. Never pay retail, right?

You go online with your proposal close at hand and find a bunch of these products and maybe you see lower prices. You ask the AV guy why their pricing is so much higher than online and ask for similar pricing. Then you go deeper and deeper into the smaller bits and pieces of their proposal and keep coming back to them, sighting all these examples you've found of lower pricing. (Isn't the internet great?)

You want them to know that while you really like them a lot and would really love to use them on your project, what are they going to for you do to win your business? Now your AV company knows all too well that this is all part of the sales process. And they're prepared to deal with you (to a point).

At some point in the negotiation, you're going to get push back. They will likely come back to you and explain that you're not just buying a box of parts for the best price you can get. You're buying a system. Like a car. You're buying all their experience and expertise to put all these various parts together so you can just turn the key and off it goes. Just press play.

Now you've certainly heard this concept before and can see some value there but still you want a deal. But there comes a point in the negotiation where maybe there's more room and maybe there's not.

So what happens when you reach that point where it's obvious this company has shown you they're working hard for your business, they've met you part of the way with your price but maybe haven't hit your magic number yet? What's the move?

Do you play the card where you threaten to walk out of the store and go with the next guy who will match your price? Do you really want that outcome? Or do you realize that this AV company, the one you really like the most, can deliver you a premium service that maybe those other guys can't?

Now you have to decide what is driving your decision. 

Is it based purely on price? Or can you see the greater value in a premium service? What price your peace of mind? Knowing you'll be getting exactly what you paid for and save yourself a major headache constantly having to look over the shoulder of the lesser guy with the better price? And that yes, this sometimes comes at a premium.

To bring it full circle back to the suit scenario, we're not just talking about purchasing an AV system at the quality level of the Armani suit and trying to get it at the Men's Wearhouse price.

Think of your choice for a quality AV company the way a celebrity might consider their choice for a wardrobe consultant who's responsible for their total image. The one who creates their vibe that the public will see on a daily basis. That person has a lot of responsibility. They have to put together not only the suit but the shirt, the cuff links, the shoes, the watch, the hairstyle, etc. It all has to work together as a cohesive whole. You also know that they will happily pay a premium for that service. Your AV system works the same way.

So if you find yourself in the position of searching for an AV system and the right company to install it, by all means haggle. Get the best deal you possibly can. It's the American way, after all. But do yourself a favor and understand what that company is doing for you. Know when it's time to stop the negotiations and shake hands.

The headache you save may be your own.

3 Signs That it is Time to Upgrade Your AV System

Is Your Current AV System an Embarrassment? Maybe It's Time for an AV Makeover

Let's face it, relationships are hard.

You fall in love and there's that sugary sweet honeymoon period where everything is just pure bliss. The relationship is all shiny and new. You can simply spend time in the presence of your beloved and all is right with the universe. Oh sure, there are the bumpy beginnings where you have to figure out each other's quirky habits but it's all part of the joy of getting to know one another, right?

It's the same with your AV system.

Huh?

C'mon, admit it. Somewhere back there you decided to take the plunge and get into the world of home theater and/or smart home technology.

[Love at First Sight]

It might have been as simple as hanging a flat screen TV on the wall back when they first came out. You probably sat there staring at it in amazement without even turning it on wondering, 'How on earth is this thing actually going to work when it's only FOUR INCHES THICK (plus another five inches or so with those original wall mount brackets when 42" TVs weighed in at over 75 pounds) But still...

Then you turned it on and it was like, 'OMG!! This thing actually works and look at that picture!! High definition TV. Holy cow!! The future is here!'

Or maybe you built a whole house system with multiple TV's, speakers in all the various rooms, lighting control and motorized shades and a fancy control system to control all of it from the touch of one button. No more humongous "media armoirs" to hide thoose giant TVs and all that bulky equipment and tangled wiring.

[Getting to Know You]

Oh sure, there may have been those bumps in the road where things didn't quite work when you pushed that button the first time and you needed the AV guy to come back a few times to fix it. Or maybe the technology was a bit overwhelming at first and it took a minute to get used to and figure out how to "drive" this shiny new car that was your new smart home system. But that's to be expected in any relationship, right?

But eventually, you got the kinks worked out and you and your new smart home were getting along just fine. And thank God, considering the possibly substantial investment you made for all those modern conveniences, right?

Controlling the system ultimately became second nature. Like turning on the coffee machine. Your hi tech AV system simply became part of your life and for several years life was pretty good. It all worked just fine. No major hiccups. The occsasional power failure and something got out of whack. But the AV guy was usually there to set you straight if you couldn't figure it out yourself so you could get on with your life.

[When the Honeymoon Ends]

But as the years unfurled, things started getting a bit...well, tired. You wake up one day and realize that the honeymoon has ended. That sexy flat screen TV that was once the hottest thing out there back in the day doesn't look so sexy anymore. The picture doesn't wow you. In fact, it looks a little dull and uncrisp. After seeing all those fancy new razor thin Smart TVs in the newspaper ads or maybe at a friend's house, you look at yours and now it's looking...a little bloated around the edges?

And that really expensive control touch panel in the wall with the clunky graphics looks kind of dated and nowhere near as sexy as your flashy new iPad, which you were told could now control all this stuff and it only costs $399. You keep hearing about all the latest bells and whistles like 3D, 4KTV, Airplay and Smart TVs with their Smart apps and the like. But your stuff doesn't do any of that.

To add insult to injury, you go over to a friend's for dinner and they're changing the music playlist with their iPhone while tossing the salad! How did they do that? And you? Well, you're still staring at that monsterous 400 disc CD changer in the closet you haven't touched in ages.

Hmmm, looks like your "technology of the future" system is looking more and more "past tense". What to do?

[You Don't Have to Throw it All Away]

Well, the first thing to know is if you're thinking about upgrading your AV system, you're on the right path. Oh sure, be prepared to go through the whole anger, denial, acceptance curve when you start running the numbers through your head about how much you spent already when it's only been (fill in the unreasonably short amount of time) years since you made this big investment. And OMG! how much will it cost now for the upgrade!? Go ahead, get it all out. You're only human after all.

But you know what? Hopefully, you got some good years out of your system. Hopefully, you used it often and got some real joy, convenience and entertainment value out of it, not to mention making all those gizmos that would have been cluttering up your home disappear. That should help you work through the curve faster, no?

The good news here is that often times, when considering an upgrade to your existing AV system, many of your existing components can be reused. Like amplifiers, speakers, radio tuners, lighting control dimmers and control keypads, as well as your motorized shades too. Those are workhorse items that, unless you don't like your shade fabrics anymore, or you are just looking for some improved quality with your speakers, you can continue using or even repurpose, while upgrading certain components of the system. And btw, even if you don't like your shade fabrics, you could simply replace the fabric down the road and keep all the motors in place. That was easy :-)

[Consider Some of the Hot New Features for Your Makeover]

So what SHOULD you think about upgrading?

Well, first thing would be those bulky old (and really thick now) TVs. You just can't compete with the sleek new models. Further, the increased image resolution and added Smart app features are just too cool to ignore, especially if someone shows you all that you've been missing. Kind of cool that you can Skype your friends, family and even work associates right from your TV now.

Then you need to think about upgrading some of the front end components. If you have an AV receiver or video matrix switcher switching all your video sources, you'll likely need to upgrade it, depending on when it was purchased, in order to take advantage of the latest HDMI standards, 3D content and even 4K content that's on the way now.

If you have a control system in place like Crestron, AMX or Control 4, it's quite possible that the overall system is still functional but may need an upgrade on the processor (the brain that communicates with all the other AV equipment) so that you can take advantage of things like new graphics and metadata, as well as video and audio communication that you can utilize between the control devices, your equipment and the outside world.

You may want to consider looking into some of the new streaming media players to integrate into your system. Like Apple TV or Roku for movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, etc and audio streaming players like Sonos, Audio Request or Autonomic Mirage, all of which can stream music from your existing digital music library as well as stream all the various internet radio stations and streaming services out there like Pandora, Spotify or Rhapsody, among so many others, all controlled from your iPhone or Droid device.

[Can We Rebuild You? Yes We Can]

The once not so good news was that if you were considering an upgrade, you would have been limited by the type of wires that had been originally run in your home, connecting all the devices. You need certain wire types in place in order to take advantage of these new features. And while that used to signal massive headache when you are informed of this, like the expense of opening walls, running wires and the like, now there's good news.

The AV industry has come around to realize that people simply aren't going to incur the expense of ripping open their walls to run new wire and then all the patching and repainting that goes along with it. So they had to come up with solutions to make all this modern technology work with most typical existing wiring scenarios.

And while the dream of wireless everything hasn't quite arrived yet, the technology has come far enough that there are some really cool wireless solutions that could allow you in many instances to implement that upgrade even if you don't have the right wires in place. Pretty cool, right?

The best way to consider if it's time for an AV makeover is to speak with a qualified AV company that can assess your current situation and see what you have, where you are now with your needs and where you want to go. They can show you all the options available today and give you a sense of the expense it will cost you to implement an upgrade.

In this way, together you can come up with an upgrade path for your system that provides you all the great new features you're looking for while staying within your budget.

At Ultimate Sound & Installations, we've been helping our customers keep up with the latest and greatest AV technology for more than 29 years. And today there are so many cool and exciting new features to talk about in AV that only a few years ago, we would have thought impossible. So give us a call.

Have we got a makeover for you!