Ed Gilmore’s midtown Manhattan showroom offers a both thrilling and soothing escape for the senses.

Certain spaces are more memorable because of what they make you forget. Outside, there might be a jumble of noise and visual clutter. But once you step inside, it’s all soft lighting, curated playlists, and video imagery so subtly stunning, it can be a soothing backdrop or a foreground showstopper, depending on the intention.

That’s how it feels to walk into one of Manhattan’s unforgettable high-end residential-technology hideaways, Gilmore’s Sound Advice. As I stepped into the sensorially refined environment envisioned and built by Ed Gilmore and his team of designers and manufacturer partners, I forgot my crazy commute and instantly remembered why the showroom is the scene of so much great conversation and innovation.

I was there to see a truly exotic specimen in the landscape of residential tech—the finest grade of pixel-perfect Planar LED video wall installed anywhere outside the factory at that exact moment. But there will be more released into the wild soon, especially with the rapid evolution of the trend I was also there to discuss: Video walls and large-scale video surfaces of every kind are moving into homes.

And it quickly made sense why this is happening. Casually strolling into the home theater room with Gilmore, I immediately felt the mood boost that only the shiniest, most amazing technology can provide. Glowing at only 30% of its brightness capacity, and shyly only displaying a 4K content stream when it could of course handle 8K without drama, the video wall was everything that defines luxury. It’s extremely high-performance, but it’s also extremely rare.

“Digital artwork really is a thing now, and not just as a means of hiding the flat-panel display while it’s in ‘off’ mode.”

“It’s a unique type of experience,” Gilmore affirmed, and definitely one that is a generation ahead in terms of technology—and maybe if you want to be crass, also in terms of budget. Sure, it’s out of reach for most. “But for those who can, it’s here now.”

No motion artifacts to be detected, and “it’s completely impervious to ambient light,” Gilmore pointed out. “It’s non-reflective, unlike flat panels.” In short, you could put this anywhere. Which is what NFT collectors, gamers, sports fans, movie buffs, and even audiophiles (yes, if you like live music documentaries or you’re considering hosting livestreamed concerts in your home, potentially with a Steinway Spirio piano accompanying the scene, talk to Gilmore).

But this wasn’t a tech demo, this was a conversation in a beautiful room that happened to have a large direct-view LED wall in it, along with some cozy furniture and the perfect glow of carefully calibrated lighting. Also there was a LaserDisc of Pulp Fiction that caught my eye, and a copy of E.B. White’s Here Is New York on the table next to me, which I promptly picked up and obsessed over.

Clearly this was a room designed for people with taste. So we settled in for a fireside chat warmed by the glow of this new technology—which really did put out a little bit of heat if you got close to it, as Gilmore pointed out. Be sure to think about thermal management, he said, not to mention energy management: “There are three 20-amp circuits feeding this thing,” he noted with a wry grin.

At first, we did talk about all of the excitement around the display of massive and/or complex digital artworks on expansive architectural surfaces. Gilmore is installing a couple of those for a collector—one of the displays will be mounted on the ceiling, in fact. And just outside the room we were in, a couple of the other Planar displays in the space were rotating through artistic imagery in a variety of configurations. Digital artwork really is a thing now, and not just as a means of hiding the flat-panel display while it’s in “off” mode.

But then we got into the good stuff around all of that artwork. The home is now a digital canvas, expressing ideas and reflecting moods through curated blends of sound, video, and lighting—particularly human-centric lighting, which of course we had to talk about as the ultimate “wellness” option for homes. These are the emotional reasons people are looking for something new at home—to be comforted, uplifted, and also dazzled by the immersive possibilities of well-designed technology-enhanced spaces.

Gilmore talked about the delicate balance his designers and engineers have to strike in creating a home that not only looks good but makes you feel good. “We harness technology to its ultimate expression to provide great experiences for clients,” Gilmore noted. “You can’t commoditize that.” That’s because real human experience has always been the core of residential technology design. And specialists are starting to tap into new ways that the senses can be engaged (or soothed) by technology, to thrilling effect.

“I’ve never been more excited about our industry than right now—there’s so much potential,” Gilmore said. Because as he knows well, you have to be both an artist and an engineer to make a home resonate with real feeling.

by Kirsten Nelson
April 7, 2022

In their CEDIA Expo Virtual Design + Connection presentation, integrators Jamie Briesemeister and Ed Gilmore cite hidden AV, window treatments, lighting effects and much more.



The hosts and panelists spent an hour offering loads of design-friendly tech tips.

It wasn’t quite a David Letterman top 10 list, but as part of the CEDIA Expo Virtual Design + Connection education track, the Design UnCut session, “Home Tech Top 10: Products Designers Need to Know,” delivered some serious technology ideas for the designer channel.

Hosted by Veronika Miller, founder of Modenus Media, and Katye McGregor Bennett of PR agency KMB Communications, the presentation featured panelists Jamie Briesemeister, CEO and sales & marketing director at Integration Controls, Ed Gilmore, owner of Gilmore’s Sound Advice, as well as Brad Hintze, senior director of product marketing at Control4.

The session built upon momentum from the past two CEDIA Expos, in which Design + Connection booth tours gave invited interior designers a better understanding of products “to help make projects better” in a common goal, says Miller, one of those designers who had taken part.

For starters, Hintze addressed the need for a “smart home OS” just as we have an OS for familiar devices like smart phones.

“Many people assume a smart home is run by a mobile phone or voice control alone; the reality is you need a variety of interfaces,” Hintze notes of a common mainstream misconception. Call it a bonus to the top 10 – keypads, touchscreens, tabletop devices, in-wall devices, apps and voice control abilities.

Art & Mirror TVs, Invisible Speakers, Automated Window Treatments Play Well with Designers

Briesemeister and Gilmore then shared five products/applications apiece that speak to the blending of design and integration.

She began with Samsung’s Serif QLED, which like Samsung’s The Frame works as art. It goes to her subject of “purpose-built” displays, which also include mirror TVs from brands like Seura, and applications like pop-up lifts that can hide displays (and integrate with automation systems).

“It’s not just throwing a picture on the wall, it’s a television – there’s a box that needs to feed what we see on the TV and we’ll hide that,” Briesemeister says, noting the pro’s role. “It’s critical to be involved early so we have the carpentry in the right spot, the wiring in the right spot.”

Window treatments like shades and drapes is a category that Briesemeister says most designers and homeowners don’t realize they can automate. She mentions custom Roman shades from Hartmann & Forbes that her company pairs with Lutron.

Linear light LEDs, dimming drivers and controls represents another category that works well with careful coordination between integrators and designers for a great outcome, she says.

To help designers get rid of “wall acne,” Briesemeister points to remote thermostat sensors that will yield fewer wall devices and “timeless design options.” A system like Control4 will give owners an app to control heating/cooling from anywhere.

For audio, she enthused about invisible loudspeakers and presented designers a sense of the behind-the-scenes work integrators do to implement them. The end result being owners don’t see a thing, and it allows for painted, wallpapered, plastered or even leather finishes.

Jamie Briesemeister illustrated the behind-the-scenes work that goes into installing invisible speakers.

Hiding Home Networking, Creating Digital Art, Featuring Fabric

Gilmore followed and started by discussing the home network, which now might need to handle 100-150 devices in a large home. “It’s super important that we get our wiring to where we need it. You need wire to actually broadcast all that wireless activity in the home,” he asserts. Despite designers’ pushback on not wanting to see a wireless access point, he adds one answer is WhyReboot’s Paramount solution to hide WAPs.

To piggyback on invisible speakers and “hiding in plain sight” possibilities, Gilmore mentioned small-aperture loudspeakers in which small cutouts bely the larger speaker/subwoofer cabinets inside walls and ceilings. “You don’t even know it’s there,” he says, citing James Loudspeaker projects. “These give us a distinct advantage when a client is looking for a high-performance solution.”

For creating a customized, stunning, immersive art experience, Gilmore showed a direct-view LED solution to install “light walls” for customers, noting U.K. company Lightworks. He adds Barco Residential’s digital art canvases from projection too, in which the integrator can conceal the unit.

Ed Gilmore showcased this incredible “light wall” that enlisted Lightworks.

Gilmore’s Sound Advice showroom provided another illustration for hiding technology, he showed, via fabric to conceal high-performance audio. “We want designers to understand fabric can be your friend,” he says.

An exciting trend Gilmore points to is wellness, and in particular human-centric lighting for all our time spent indoors … but it all needs to be controlled and planned, he notes.

“Focus on lifestyle, not necessarily pieces of technology,” Hintze adds to advice for designers working with integrators.



Gilmore’s Sound Advice, a premium custom integrator based in New York City, was tasked by an Upstate New York owner of an expansive property on the Hudson River’s banks that houses, among other things, a llama farm, to transform a converted barn there which serves as both his home office and yoga studio into a haven for music listening.

“This barn is his retreat,” explains Ed Gilmore, the integration firm’s principal, about the finance executive who commissioned the project. “It’s where he can stay in touch when he needs to with his worldwide offices, or have a scotch while looking at the Hudson, or he can use the yoga room as a meditation area.” One future desire he expressed to Gilmore is to have his team create “what he calls ‘a proper cinema’ in the main house.” But for now, the priority was to morph this minimalist but elegant space into the client’s dream of exquisite audio.

One of the key stipulations was that he wanted superlative music playback that was invisible to the eye. Interruption of the open space due to bulky, unsightly loudspeakers was unthinkable. His expectations were for an engaging listening experience to enjoy TIDAL and other streaming content along with an array of favorite podcasts.

Photo by: John Frattasi

A daunting challenge was to ensure that the music reproduction would be top-notch, while keeping the entire installation as low key as possible. The solution: to hoist the equipment into the crawl space above the hallway area between the yoga area and the office. “It’s a really stealthy installation,” Gilmore said, adding that the unusual and not easily accessible positioning of the gear was one of the principal reasons he chose to use AudioControl – “because we know those amplifiers are really bullet-proof. We’re longtime dealers and have been using their multichannel amplifiers for years.”

Five sets of James Loudspeaker Small Aperture speakers, selected for the install, too, melded perfectly with the other gear, which included a Planar Touch 98-inch touch screen using T1V collaboration software, which runs off a Mac Pro computer. The speakers are behind the wooden slats. “James gave us a template for the woodworker, and he drilled all the apertures for the grilles…. It ended up being staggeringly good-sounding.

“And the system is all set up so that if he wants to add more video, he can,” said Gilmore. “He really wanted to keep the charm of the old barn intact…. It’s beautiful.”


There are three primary zones of entertainment within the renovated barn; the yoga room, the office and a sitting area. There is also music available in the steam room as well. In order to achieve the output levels, detail and balance that the client desired, the Gilmore team deployed James Loudspeaker 63SA-7HO Small Aperture architectural speakers (two pair in the office, two pair in the yoga studio and a single pair in the sitting room) and a 101SA-6 Small Aperture architectural subwoofer in each zone. The 63SA-7HO is a true full range, 3-way design with a 0.75-inch (19mm) aluminum dome tweeter, 2-inch (50mm) aluminum midrange driver and a 6.5-inch (165mm) aluminum woofer, all concentrically mounted within an aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure. Durable and designed for multi-zone audio installations, the 63SA-7HO is especially suited for critical listening while maintaining aesthetics. The point source mid/high module provides excellent off-axis response and the overload-protected hidden woofer generates bass down to 38Hz for a full-range music experience—and all from a 3-inch round or square Microperf grille.Because this client desired audiophile quality driving bass response in this environment, a single 101SA-6 subwoofer was integrated behind the wallboard in each zone. Each sub is driven by a James Loudspeaker M1000 amp nestled in a rack within the concealed, dedicated and air-cooled equipment space next to the yoga studio. The rack also contains the networking hardware, streaming music servers and multi-channel amplifiers for the entire system.TREADING ON SOGGY GROUNDGilmore recalled that his team had to load the equipment rack and the Planar TV into the barn before the driveway was poured. “We carried that gear through a meadow and across soggy turf, until a farm worker rescued us with his pickup truck, in order to reach the barn,” he remembered.The T1V collaboration software supports BYOD (bring your own device) to support the many devices, programs, and platforms of today’s meeting and learning environments. The high-tech multi-touch, multi-user screen enables the client to collaborate with teams all over the world. The Planar screen is not currently connected to the entertainment system per the client’s request; however the Gilmore team addressed such a possibility in their prewire.“James Loudspeaker has been such a vital partner to Gilmore’s Sound Advice, providing unique and often custom solutions that deliver amazing sound where other solutions simply won’t do,” Gilmore stated. “Initially, this client was skeptical about our ability to deliver great sound invisibly, and we have exceeded his expectations to the point where he wants us to upgrade the entertainment system in his city apartment. We were able to integrate truly high-performance audio into a quiet, serene space and really please the customer as a result.”EQUIPMENT LIST

  • Atlona Switchable Wall Plates
  • Juno 451 HDMI Switcher
  • AudioControl Bijou 600 Amplifier
  • AudioControl P800 Amplifier
  • Planar Touch 98-inch Screen Powered by T1V Thinkhub
  • Sonos Connect (4)
  • Parasound ZoneMaster 4 DAX
  • James Loudspeaker Speakers (throughout)
  • James Loudspeaker M-1000 Amplifiers


The Art of Building
Darren Davidowich


Shane O’Sullivan (Gilmore’s)



Gilmore’s Sound Advice was featured in this piece by Sonance


Gilmore’s Sound Advice installed Small Aperture architectural speakers and subwoofers to answer aesthetic and performance requirements in yoga and office sanctuary.

A customer called upon Gilmore’s Sound Advice, based in New York City, to visit a property on the banks of the Hudson River where he was planning an old barn conversion that would create a home office and yoga studio.

The property is a two-hour drive from Manhattan, and the finance executive client had a minimalist but elegant vision for the space, which was on a working farm where llamas are bred and raised.

Key to the minimalist environment, the client sought a high-performance music playback system but one that would be hidden from view. Primarily, he wanted to be able to hear his favorite music and podcasts from Tidal and other streaming services.

Integration firm principal Ed Gilmore worked on designing a system comprising three main zones of entertainment in the renovated barn – the yoga room, the office and a sitting area; plus music is available in the steam room.

Small Aperture Speakers Provide Slick Solution

To address the aesthetic demands and work well with the barn’s construction materials, Gilmore deployed loudspeakers from Sonance brand and custom specialist James Loudspeaker.

Gilmore’s various speaker choices included James 63SA-7HO Small Aperture architectural models and 101SA-6 Small Aperture architectural subwoofers.

The 4-inch grilles make the James Loudspeaker Small Aperture subwoofer unobtrusive.

Two pairs of Small Aperture speakers were used in the office, two pairs in the yoga studio and a single pair in the sitting room, while a subwoofer was installed in each zone.

In terms of makeup, the 63SA-7HO is a full-range, 3-way design with a 0.75-inch aluminum dome tweeter, 2-inch aluminum midrange driver and 6.5-inch aluminum woofer, concentrically mounted within an aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure, as James describes.

The company says the point source mid/high module delivers excellent off-axis response and generates bass down to 38Hz, concealed by a 3-inch square or round Microperf grille.

To augment the bass response and improve the audio quality, the Gilmore team took it a step further and integrated the 101SA-6 subs behind the wallboards. They offer all-aluminum bandpass enclosures housing a 10-inch woofer behind a compact 4-inch grille.

Gilmore’s placed the James M1000 amplifiers driving the subwoofers in a rack within the dedicated, air-cooled equipment space tucked next to the yoga studio and hidden. The rack also houses networking hardware, streaming music servers and multichannel amps for the barn’s audio system.

Local Woodworker Helps with Sound Aesthetics

A local woodworker helped Gilmore’s overcome the construction challenges of matching architectural speaker grilles.

While James is known for its custom-matching abilities and services for grilles, Gilmore’s enlisted the renovation’s onsite woodworker in this case to overcome the chief aesthetic challenge.

Throughout the barn’s interior, fruitwood composite of cherry and pear was used, and the woodworker managed to carefully perforate the boards in the right places to enable sound to flow through from a barely visible opening.

“James Loudspeaker has been such a vital partner to Gilmore’s Sound Advice, providing unique and often custom solutions that deliver amazing sound where other solutions simply won’t do,” Gilmore says.

“Initially, this client was skeptical about our ability to deliver great sound invisibly, and we have exceeded his expectations to the point where he wants us to upgrade the entertainment system in his city apartment. We were able to integrate truly high-performance audio into a quiet, serene space and really please the customer as a result.”

Home Office Capabilities Covered

Beyond the audio system, Gilmore’s also addressed the client’s home office capabilities with a 98-inch multitouch, multiuser Planar display and integrated T1V collaboration software that supports BYOD (bring your own device) to cover today’s popular meeting platforms and technologies.

The Planar screen isn’t part of the entertainment system but a standalone unit, though Gilmore’s accounted for the possibility of connecting it later on in the prewire.

The home office uses a multitouch 98-inch Planar screen.

Meanwhile, they had to trudge in the equipment rack and big Planar TV along less-than-ideal conditions, because the driveway hadn’t been poured yet, Gilmore says.

“We carried that gear through a meadow and across soggy turf, until a farm worker rescued us with his pickup truck, in order to reach the barn,” Gilmore recalls. “It wasn’t a typical load-in scenario for crates over 300 pounds.”




Ed Gilmore’s company, Gilmore’s Sound Advice, is known as one of the premier luxury integration firms in the intensely competitive New York City market. In business since 1991, it has seen high-end integration evolve dramatically, moving well beyond AV, as things like automated lights and shades and whole-house automation have come to the fore.

Given the notorious space constraints on even the most luxurious Big Apple spaces, Ed has had to be inventive when creating high-performance entertainment rooms, adapting the standards of reference-quality home theaters to limited, non-traditional areas—a resourcefulness amply on display in the innovative Tribeca loft profiled here.

Clients can get a taste of that same inventiveness at the Sound Advice showroom, located near the Hudson River in Manhattan’s midtown. A former art storage vault that mimics the layout of a typical upscale loft, the space displays cutting-edge solutions to typical urbanite living issues, including a large open-plan living area featuring a massive Planar video wall.

In the interview above, Ed talks about the emerging trends of voice control and “tunable” lighting, the misguided reliance on apps to control complex home systems, the importance of digital room correction, the premature launch of 8K, and the promise of video walls.

How does one go from a working classical musician to an A/V integrator who now approaches projects by talking about lighting first? Very smoothly, if that person is the multi-talented Ed Gilmore, founder of Gilmore’s Sound Advice.

Ed recently spoke with Ketra about his unusual career path, the impressive evolution of the integrator business, and how a dyed-in-the-wool audiophile became equally captivated by light.

1.  Is it really true that you started out in New York as a classical musician?

Believe it or not, it is possible to be gainfully employed as a freelance musician here! I did my graduate work at Juilliard, and then spent several years living the musician’s life performing, touring and releasing recordings. However, my former spouse was getting tired of being a musician’s wife, so she was trying to get me out of touring and into something else.

2So, is that how you ended up in the integrator business?

In a way, yes. I’d always aspired to be an audiophile — having a great sound system was always a priority for me. When I was studying at Juilliard, I really got into reading high end audio magazines. Mostly I was reading the reviews of the latest classical CDs in the back, but there were obviously plenty of articles about the latest audio gear and I was hooked. I remember in between classes going into all these high-end audio salons and listening to the equipment I was reading about, then leaving and feeling just a little guilty about the sales guys!

Fast forward 5 years and a general contractor client of my wife mentioned he was looking for an alternate audio system proposal for a project he was working on with an architect and his interior designer partner— who designed Andy Warhol’s townhouse. Initially, I was going to recommend a recording engineer I knew who did this on the side, but decided to take a leap and design a system myself. So I put together a proposal and it was lucky enough to be accepted. Funnily enough, that first job was actually designing the distributed audio system for Richard Gere and his girlfriend at the time, Cindy Crawford!

Early on, I was just doing system design and bid. But after a while and observation, I decided to handle installations myself and started doing that too. As the business grew, I started cutting back on my music and eventually, around 1993, the demand grew to the point where I had to hire additional people. The rest is history— we’ve been evolving and expanding ever since.

Bottom line, Ketra outperforms anything we’ve seen, every step of the way. Our company’s ethos is providing best in class experiences and in lighting, Ketra is that product.
Ed Gilmore
Founder, Ed Gilmore’s Sound Advice

3.   You’ve been doing integration for over two decades — what changes have you seen in the industry over time?

That’s a good question. When I first started, I was working with turntables and cassettes, along with clunky CRT TVs and VCRs, purely A/V. But as the industry grew and technology advanced, we started to take on other aspects in order to become a one stop shop for luxury home systems. We added whole house A/V distribution and control, home cinema, telephony, networking, automated lighting and window shade controls, outdoor A/V and lighting to our service offerings. Overall though, I think 2007 stands out as a watershed moment for our industry. Advanced Networking and WiFi for the home, IP control and the advent of app-based control systems opened up the pathway to true smart-home systems. For my company, 2007 was also the year we started offering lighting and shade control systems. Now we are part of the emerging trend of integrators providing lighting fixtures — that’s likely one of the biggest changes in the last 2 years.


4. What made you decide to include Ketra lighting on your projects?

As an integrator, 3 things matter: providing systems that are reliable and user friendly, providing great audio video experiences, and providing a great lighting experience. Ketra completely changed the way we worked with lighting. Anytime you can emulate what’s happening outside, inside the space — that’s pretty powerful. Whether we’re talking about wellness, switching up the mood of a room using tunable light, or using color to highlight prominent architectural features and artwork throughout a home, Ketra is the first to enter the conversation. We signed up well before the Lutron merger because Ketra was the one, singular lighting product line that could do it all!


5. What do you see as trends or upcoming opportunities in the area of lighting?

Lighting is the most exciting category right now, and everything else follows behind it. The concept of integrators partnering with lighting designers to specify and supply lighting fixtures is still in its infancy, but could potentially be the largest opportunity in the future. The growing awareness of wellness and how lighting may impact health within the home can’t be understated. The emergence of voice to control full spectrum color and color tuning opens up fascinating control options, and outdoor lighting is another big opportunity.  We’ve also seen a convergence between residential and commercial or high end retail concepts. For example lighting in fitting rooms and make-up mirrors that can match the time of day. Take that idea, expand on it to create a unique experience for the homeowner. It’s really about leveraging these opportunities, and adding value to enhance our clients’ lives and daily routines.


6. Where can people see some examples of your work?

We’ve done some cool work in partnership with Steinway & Sons recently. While the Vault project is an experience reserved for their top clients, we also used Ketra in their Hall of Fame area of the Steinway factory tour. They wanted to be able to control the lighting through a tunable system that would highlight the artwork on the walls, so Ketra was the logical choice. And I’m actually in the planning stages of installing Ketra lighting at our own showroom space, 599 West, as well.


Gilmore’s Sound Advice created a fully immersive luxury experience for the Steinway Vault in New York with Ketra lighting.


About the author:
Monica Pereira is the Digital Director at Ketra in Austin, Texas.


Coopersburg, PA (September 13, 2019) – Lighting and shading control leader Lutron Electronics has announced the winners of its annual Excellence Award competition as well as the newest Lutron Hall of Fame inductees. The announcements were made Thursday, Sept. 12th, in Denver, CO.

Established in 2003, the Lutron Excellence Awards competition recognizes the world’s best projects that use Lutron light, shade, and temperature controls, Lutron Ivalo fixtures, plus third-party equipment, voice control, and more. More than 100 of Lutron’s residential system providers have won a total of 160 Excellence Awards since the competition’s beginnings.

The 2019 Excellence Award winners are:

  1. Best Use of Lutron Shading Solutions – Echo Systems
  2. Best Lutron System Integration – Powerfull Systems
  3. Best System Upgrade- RC Automations
  4. Best Use of Lutron Lighting and Shading Controls in a Specialty Room – C&T Electric
  5. Best RadioRA 2 or RA 2 Select Project – Northwest Custom Electric
  6. Best HomeWorks QS Project- Powerfull Systems
  7. Best Application of Lutron Ketra or Ivalo Lighting – Gilmore’s Sound Advice
  8. Best Collaboration with an Architect, Interior Designer, or Lighting Designer- OneButton
  9. Best Project Using Multiple Lutron Product Categories- TwentyTwo Integration
  10. The Essence of Pleasance- OneButton
  11. Judges’ Choice- Clearly Automated

The Lutron Hall of Fame
In 2009, the Lutron Hall of Fame was created to recognize excellence and dedication in the marketplace. Potential inductees are evaluated on several components: years of doing business with Lutron, loyalty, reputation, dedication to their business, market expansion efforts, execution of initiatives, project innovations using Lutron products and revenue growth.

Joining the 24 existing member companies, the 2019 Lutron Hall of Fame inductees are:
Echo Systems
Premier Systems

About Lutron Electronics (www.lutron.com)
Founded in 1961, Lutron Electronics is headquartered in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. From dimmers for the home, to lighting management systems for entire buildings, the company offers more than 15,000 energy-saving products, sold in more than 100 countries. In the US alone, Lutron products save an estimated 10 billion kWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion in utility costs per year. The company’s early inventions— including the first solid-state dimmer invented by Lutron’s founder, Joel Spira—are now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.


Ed Gilmore casually bringing some shots of an install he’d done in Tribeca up on his computer monitor was a major “a-ha” moment for me. The first shot showed a stylish, obviously comfortable living area that also served as a billiards room, dining area, and kitchen. The second showed the same room transformed into a home entertainment space a lot of people would kill for. That, a completely intuitive part of me screamed, perfectly represents the new paradigm.

Others must agree with that conclusion because people just won’t leave Ed alone about that space. Ironically, even he admits it’s not perfect—but it’s getting there, as the client invests more and more in turning what was initially a whim into a room that can blow most movie theaters out of the water.

Having since visited the apartment, and shot some video there, I recently circled back around with Ed to talk about all things Tribeca.

—Michael Gaughn

People seem to love that installation because it says that almost any room can now be transformed into a legitimate entertainment space.

I think what we did was to, in a minimally invasive way, create a home theater experience in a room that, if you looked at it from any angle, you would immediately say it couldn’t be done there. There was just no way.

Aesthetically, the room had already been designed before you came into the picture. How were you able to navigate those waters?

We just needed to be open and try to find really unique solutions that would both satisfy a high-end level of performance as well as maintain a certain aesthetic value the client wanted us to maintain, and be true to the bones of that room. I don’t think that’s any rare talent. The issue was that he had interviewed a lot of other AV guys who told him right off the bat, “No, we won’t do that.” And that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. So we were lucky enough to be able to convince him that we could do it, and it could be compelling.

That communal area wasn’t supposed to be the main entertainment space, right?

Right. The den [shown at right] is the room where he really sits and watches most of his TV. That was the room he wanted to spend some money on. This other room was kind of an experiment for him.

But as he saw it implemented, immediately he thought, “I’m going to sink some more money into this room.” And that’s exactly what he did. That’s what he did with the Kaleidescape Strato, that’s what he did with the Steinway Lyngdorf speaker system, and what he’s about to do with projection, by upgrading the projector there as well.

Are people fascinated by that room because it’s a kind of outlier or because it represents a trend?

I think it’s a little bit of both. It’s tapping into a trend, that trend being that people aren’t interested in having dedicated rooms for specific purposes like a theater, or even a dedicated music room.

The promotional media-room tour I produced of the Tribeca space.

There’s an aspirational aspect to it as well. It resonates with people because it’s well done. I mean, it’s a really beautiful space. And it’s well thought out. And that goes back to the developer, who did a really nice job on that building. The dimensions of the room are great, and it has this wonderful warm feeling to it without really needing much in terms of other types of interior design.

But these particular clients do have taste, and they’ve been around the block a few times in terms of renovations. He is a serial renovator. And so their choice of artwork, their choice of furnishings—those little details that they have there are great. And I think that resonates with a lot of people too.

If luxury is really about details—about somebody caring enough to make sure every last thing is done right—Tribeca would seem to qualify.

I think you and I agree on this, right? Attention to detail is really what matters in a luxury space. People have asked me about what luxury is, and I typically say that it needs to be inspirational. But that doesn’t mean it really needs to be noticeable. It’s something that kind of unfolds. And by the time you realize what’s happening, you’re kind of taken by surprise by it. And it’s organic—it feels like it was always part of what was meant to be there.

In a followup post, Ed will talk more about turning problem rooms into great theaters and about the increasing importance of interior designers in home entertainment spaces.

Michael Gaughn—The Absolute Sound, The Perfect Vision, Wideband, Stereo Review,
Sound & Vision, The Rayva Roundtable, marketing, product design, some theater designs,
a couple TV shows, some commercials, and now this.


This is the first in a series of interviews where Kaleidescape dealers share their thoughts about their markets, their projects, and the role Kaleidescape plays in their success.

Located in New York City, Sound Advice has been a Kaleidescape dealer since 2004. Founded in 1991, the company’s installation market includes Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons. They have 12 employees and do approximately $3 to $4 million in annual sales.

Their 8,000-square-foot showroom features both residential and commercial spaces. It is often used by manufacturers for training, certification, and product demonstrations, as well as by other local integrators and specifiers who want to show their clients a luxury experience.

“We feature a full Steinway Lyngdorf Dolby Atmos theater with a Sony 4K projector in a room that looks like a family room but transforms into an amazing theater experience,” owner Ed Gilmore said. “We’re trying to sell the experience, not necessarily the specific system. We also have a Planar 98-inch video wall to show how a large flat-panel experience compares to front projection.”

Besides Kaleidescape, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Sony, Gilmore’s Sound Advice also carries products from Savant, Meridian, Wisdom, Roon, Totem, NAD Masters, Millson, Leon, ColorBeam, and Lutron.

Which features define a typical high-end installation?

We are really trying to focus on the overall luxury experience, and part of that experience is having designed solutions. When something is truly luxurious, I don’t notice that it’s there. It reveals itself in a way that is surprising and always inspiring. It speaks to the collaboration between the interior design, the architecture, and the audio/video system. We try to leave our clients with a truly emotional and visceral experience when they’re watching or listening to something—and we want that to be a repeatable event. Reliability is a critical part of that experience.

What budget is necessary for a true luxury cinema experience? And how do you handle projects that have a significantly lower budget?

For us, an all-in starting point that includes the hardware, installation, and programming is around $75,000. At those budgets, there is no reason to not include a Kaleidescape player as a $5,000 flagship source component.

We still have conversations about Kaleidescape with people who are doing smaller systems—say a 75-inch Sony Z-series TV in a media room. They are so used to having really crappy devices—they have a cable box with an Apple TV or a Roku, and they think that’s all there is. Watching an Apple TV on a small screen is OK, but if you’re going to spend the money for a large-screen experience with any kind of immersive audio, I can’t imagine doing it without Kaleidescape.

I specify a Strato in nearly every system. My pitch is, “We’ll do all that other mundane stuff in the rest of the house, but give me one room where quality matters.” In that room we’ll be talking about a sizable investment, and we want the experience to be something remarkable. It’s gratifying when the client walks into the room and says, “Wow! This is worth every penny I put into it!” Kaleidescape is the only system I know that will match and exceed that expectation every time.

What ultimately sells your clients on the value of a Kaleidescape system?

It’s currently the only thing that can give them the highest quality picture and sound—and improved sound performance is easy to prove. Just have them watch a concert on Apple TV and then on Kaleidescape, and even people who say they don’t care about audio quality will experience the difference.

What is your preferred demo material? 

I actually prefer using concerts instead of movie clips. For whatever reason, I find that concert material really engages clients. People are just staggered by the opening of Roger Waters: The Wall, which features a Dolby Atmos sound mix. They’ve never seen or heard anything like that before, and it hits them on all levels.

I also like to use Santana’s 2015 concert Corazon: Live from Mexico, which features a ridiculously good mix that makes the viewer really feel like they’re in the middle of a large concert hall. People have a very enthusiastic response to that. I’ll go back and forth between the Kaleidescape and an Apple TV, and they hear the difference, with the Apple experience very disappointing by comparison.

What tips would you share with other dealers as keys to successfully selling Kaleidescape systems?

The people who aren’t successful with Kaleidescape right now are likely the ones who haven’t bought back into it again. I’m all in on it. I would tell dealers to dip their toe back into Kaleidescape and see what they’re about now.

The positioning and price points of Strato and Strato S make it a really exciting time to be selling Kaleidescape. Also, the Movie Store is a totally different animal from the Kaleidescape of old, and I don’t think many integrators realize that. The Kaleidescape UI has always been best in class, and it’s even better now that clients can access the Movie Store directly through the Strato.

Our clients understand quality. They see it; they hear it. And Strato isn’t even at a price point they have to deliberate over. If you’re installing a higher-end theater experience and you’re not providing your customer with a $5,000 source component that gives them true bit-for-bit audio and video reproduction—and that isn’t dependent on Internet speeds—then, frankly, you’re doing them a disservice.