Ron Taylor, Allure High-End Design, Austin, TX
Andy Forrester, LMC Home Entertainment Ltd, Tempe, AZ
David Hutter, Hutter Home Theater, Tacoma, WA
In May of 2021, CEDIA offered a hybrid online/in-person education course called the “Home Cinema Audio Calibration School with HAA Certification Bundle.” The elements included a Level I Home Cinema Design Certification (online) and three days of face-to-face training at CEDIA HQ including a Level II Integrator Certification and Level III Advanced Integrator Certification, all with help of the Home Acoustics Alliance The HAA has been an industry leader in education on the topics of audio and acoustics for over 18 years. We had a chance to chat with a few of the attendees on the final day.
CEDIA: What brought you to this particular course?
Taylor: I'm expanding my business. I do a lot of network design and communications for corporations, as well as a few smart home installations. I wanted to expand into high-end sound systems and home theater design installation. I've known about Gerry (Lemay of the HAA) for a long time. I wanted to be able to learn from the best and get some certification and standing for my company from CEDIA, which is the baseline for the AV industry, as far as I'm concerned.
Forrester: When I started reading the HAA Level I course, I thought it was something that everyone that enters the industry should use, from the installers to the salesman.
Hutter: I've been a long-time CEDIA member and I've taken classes for the last 15 years. I bought new calibration equipment this year. And this is actually the third time that I've been through this class -- I needed to level-set a lot of things that I forgot and reacquaint myself with the newer tools that we're going through and using in this course.
CEDIA: Any big takeaways or revelations?
Taylor: The real-time analyzation of the room is something that I realized I was very weak in, and this class really gave me some skills in analyzing different frequencies and determining how to move them around. I wasn't aware that you could manipulate the frequencies in certain positions in the room as well as you could until I got through that portion of the class. That was pretty amazing.
Forrester: I came in to help me refine my techniques for setting up rooms, to make things faster, to know what was going on when I was seeing something in a measurement, how to interpret it differently or more effectively, to be able to create more advanced strategies to make things work.
CEDIA: If someone was considering availing themselves of CEDIA’s educational offerings, what would you say to them? And what are some of your experiences that draw you to come back?
Hutter: You can't afford not to get CEDIA education -- it’s going to show you the things that not only are currently happening, but what's coming out in the next few years. A great example: The courses that Michael Heiss has been teaching at Expo for years. That's always been one of my favorite classes because I can think about those new technologies and how I'm going to incorporate them into what I do as an integrator. And I believe that if you are being paid for a service, it's your responsibility to perform whatever that is to the highest degree possible. If I'm selling theater systems, I really should be adjusting the speakers for the best possible scenario for what they're willing to pay for.
CEDIA: And what about this course in particular?
Taylor: I’ve been in a thousand courses over my 21 years of networking, and it's usually sitting in a class just hearing the information all day -- death by PowerPoint. And then you've got to go home and figure out how to physically apply the skills, getting the equipment that they talked about in the class -- for us to get all the theory and all the mind-meld information online, and then come here and jump right into the workshops and start manipulating and learn how to use equipment? That was perfect. I was telling the instructors and the staff here that this was way more than I expected.