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Home Theater Showrooms: Homemation

After the Habitech showroom visit(Read more here), I was curious how our local facilities stacked up to international standards. I was in Johannesburg two weeks ago and decided to make an appointment at Homemation, Planetworld and Elan Systems. I also visited Sphere Custom here in Cape Town. The next few blog posts will explore my thoughts, starting with Homemation.

Founded in 2001, they are arguably the largest distributor in South Africa and responsible for a large chunk of the industry's biggest brands. To name a few: Bowers & Wilkins, Control4, Classe, Denon, Klipsch, Lutron, Marantz, Monitor Audio, Polk, Rotel, Steinway Lyngdorf, Stewart Filmscreen, SVS and Triad.

Please excuse my cellphone shots. Unfortunately, Homemation hasn't responded with their marketing shots since this article went live.

Control4 Room

The first room I'd like to cover is the excellent Control4 demo facilities. What's unique about their room is that it doesn't just show audio video control; it shows you how to integrate an automation solution as part of your daily routine. An example is a call button in the dining room, which flashes lights throughout the house and broadcasts a message over the audio distribution saying that dinner is ready. Not being a Control4 dealer ourselves (we're working on changing that in future), I'd happily take a client to Homemation to show them what Smart Home Automation is supposed to be.

Monitor Audio Home Theater

As I walked in, the first thing that struck me was how acoustically dead this room was. In my honest opinion, it was overly treated but well finished. When the demos started, I could tell the Monitor Audio Cinergy speakers were well-calibrated and set up, with the AMT tweeters highly resolving. A lot of thought had gone into designing and building the room, and I especially liked the feature back wall with triangle diffusers at different depths.

Klipsch Home Theater

Acoustically, this room was more lively, which suited my preference better. This room was quite minimalistic, with beautiful lightboxes integrated into the room. Sonically this room features the 'recently released' Klipsch Real Custom Cinema speakers. Again, they are well set up, calibrated, and balanced. I couldn't detect any sign of the typical horn sound or excessive harshness. It was a great experience.

Bowers & Wilkins Home Theater

My Home Theater journey began with a Bowers & Wilkins 5.1 kit, so they are close to my heart. This Home Theater features the latest generation of 800 series speakers, and once again, they are set up and calibrated exceptionally well. This room's construction was a bit dull, by comparison to the rest, but acoustically right where you'd want it. It was another great experience.

Steinway Lyngdorf Home Theater

They saved their best Home Theater for last! To my taste, this room had the best acoustics and didn't compromise on a beautiful design. The speakers are purposefully exposed to showcase the unique design. As soon as the demos started playing, you could again determine that the speakers were exceptionally well set up, positioned and calibrated. I liked the definition and clarity you get from AMT tweeters and active crossovers this room featured.

Conclusion

I purposely didn't mention the video quality in all the Home Theatres because the projector brand they used is new for Homemation: SIM2. I found setup, configuration and calibration issues in all the Home Theaters. Having said this, I spoke to their Technical Lead, and I'm confident they are on track to sort all the issues out and even offer calibration services!

All and all, I left feeling that all the demo rooms were well refined and articulate. Everything I believe a Home Theater should be, and they have it down to a science. Well done, Homemation!