Prestige Audio

In Profile: Prestige Audio

Prestige Audio have been shortlisted for Home Cinema Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2020. Read more about the Directors of Prestige Audio below:

Name: Wendy Hobson, Joe Carri & Barry CopelandPrestige Audio

Company: Prestige Audio

Position within company: Directors


Tell us a little about your background in Audio Video:
Prestige Audio has been in high end audio since the mid 1980’s. We were originally a specialist car audio installation company, and quickly became one of the best in Europe. Working on very luxurious cars, winning awards across the continent for the best installed and best sounding cars. We trained installation, sound quality judges and we trained many of the top UK car audio dealers to build Hi-Fi quality cars. Our clients then started to ask us if we could do the same in their homes. 20 years ago, we became so busy with home technology that we completely stopped installing car audio systems and focused on home cinema and smart home technology. Our experience rebuilding luxury car dashboards and door panels by hand, motorisation, skills in acoustics and psychoacoustics, as well as cabling and electrical noise reduction was the very best training to position us as an expert in our new field. Since then we have won countless awards for our work, from industry bodies, magazines, and manufacturers for our Bespoke home cinemas and smart home installations.

How would you describe your personal design style?
Bespoke!  Everything we do is bespoke tailored to our client’s requirements, whether it is a world class cinema, or a very high-tech smart home. We must remember every family live in a home differently, they have different requirements based on how they live in their home. Our job is to make their lives easier through technology. Our goal is to understand how they live in their home, take away repetitive actions and automate them. Our goal is also to de-clutter the home and hide as much tech away as possible. And provide an easy to use way of controlling everything.

Where we deliver a home cinema, we offer a turnkey solution, providing interior design, wall finishes and build outs of the floors, ceilings and walls, furniture, and the tech behind them. Not many of our peers offer this service. However when we come to design the performance of the cinema and the calibration of it, we are truly a global leader. We understand audio and have continued to learn over the 35 years of delivering complexed audio and video systems to deliver a true world class experience.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Prestige Audio team are made up of Hi-Fi enthusiasts, we all love music and know what a great audio system should sound like. We are sometimes…no!…. often accused of listening to the equipment far too much rather than the music/film because we are always looking to re-create the reality of the experience in a home. We just love what we do!

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
We see the look and design of home cinemas breaking into dedicated cinemas and media rooms.

A dedicated cinema is where you get the maximum impact. It creates a realism not available in most commercial cinemas. These are usually darker rooms so you do not get reflections of the picture on the walls floor, ceiling, and furniture, they can be truly immersive if done correctly. This requires a lot of skill by treating the room acoustically and then calibrating the video and audio correctly. This usually can take a few days to calibrate correctly.  The sound should be as good as you would get in a high-quality Hi-Fi system, even if you play 2 channel stereo audio the result should sound like the performers are in the room with you.

However, we are now seeing clients also want a high-performance media room, sometimes with some of the speakers on show, with a large screen tv in their living room. Or adjacent to their master bedroom.  These are generally brighter in finishes and instead of tiered seating they would have loungers/sofas. This space is used differently to a dedicated cinema room.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
The biggest consideration in our approach for 2020 and beyond is Data!  Music, video, lighting, control of all the smart systems all work on the network. The network in the home or building needs to be very robust. As important is the delivery of the internet into the home. We are streaming everything now, and the demands in a modern home for data is huge. When we are asked to help a developer or property owner to resolve issues in a property with systems delivered by others, one of the most common problems is a network that has been underspecified for the demands of the property. Video has the largest demand for the data. WE have gone from standard definition content to HD and now Ultra HD. We cannot transmit Ultra HD (4K) over copper uncompressed over 3mtrs. say a HDMI cable.  This is just to give your readers an idea on the amount of data. A home with 6 TVs and 6 CCTV cameras all use that network!

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Understand what the client wants! Most of the time, (including the project we have been recognised by The International Design & Architecture Awards) the clients did not know what they really wanted. We demonstrated, we asked questions, guiding them, using our experience to fully understand their needs. Only then can you deliver a solution that works for them.

We see, far too often requests for tender on a project where the client does not know what is available or has been asked how they would live in the property.  The best results we have had is where we are involved at the early stages with client and architect. We can influence window positioning, ceiling heights door positions, that can reduce the cost of projects and more importantly deliver a better home for that client.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
Prestige Audio have built its reputation by our client testimonials and by the awards we have gained over the years. The international Design & Architecture Awards are very important to us as it is a platform that exposes our skills and passion for our work to homeowners who want the very best.

What projects are you currently working on?
We currently have 2 projects with the same architect, one in St James London and another one in Kensington both are smart homes. One is in the early stages of installation and the other will be in several months. We then have 3 Luxury cinemas, one in Berkshire and the other in the Channel Isles and one in London.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Keep doing what we are doing! You will see from our testimonials on our website that we look after our clients. To do this, we will continue to focus on the higher end of the market and only work on 1 or 2 projects at the same time. This allows us to deliver the very best results. We are not seeking to increase the volume of work we do.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?
Our Children

Your favourite holiday destination?

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
The Fat Duck

Your favourite book, film & song?
Reservoir Dogs

Your favourite food and drink?
Anything with Truffles and a good Pino Noir

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Relaxing, by a pool with a Margarita in hand

If you weren’t Audio specialist, what would you be?
A test driver for a performance car manufacturer.

Anything else interesting?
We really do love what we do!

Prestige Audio have been shortlisted for Home Cinema Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2020.

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