Mike Freedman - Director of Business Development at HiFi Centre speaks with DDA Canada about how Audio elements can enhance your kitchen:
Look, I do not pretend to be a kitchen designer. I am colour blind and create cool theatres and sound systems but am as close to being a designer as you are to setting up sound systems. However, I do spend a lot of time ensuring that our portion of the contribution to your new kitchen enhances it and blends in with it. I don’t know the first thing about the visual element of using bold colours in a kitchen, even if I could tell you what those colours are. What I do know about is using non-visual elements to make sure that your kitchens are enhanced immeasurably.
I also know that this article is only supposed to be about using bold colours to design a kitchen. All good but what about when you take all of the time to create an amazing space and someone who does not know what they are doing, puts giant, ugly speakers in your ceiling or uses the wrong equipment so that the sound detracts from your space instead of enhancing it? It doesn’t matter what colours you use … if the auditory experience isn’t on par with the visual experience then the whole room is diminished.
Let’s break this down.
Music in the home makes people happy. Food tastes better, there is more laughter, love and togetherness. People spend more time together, eat more meals together and couples are even more intimate (might want to be careful how you position this one but I will add that a good music system is often cheaper than marriage counselling).
Music sets the mood. That’s a given. How that music sets the mood is a little more scientific.
We know certain types of music set a mood. Classical music relaxes us. Hard rock can agitate and stress out non-metalheads. Songs associated with memories can trigger extremely strong emotional reactions too.
But how we listen to that music also has a pretty significant impact on our enjoyment of a room and our subsequent mood. Immersive and engaging music is not notable but bad sound always is. If you have ever been to Las Vegas you have already experienced this. Casinos spend a small fortune on expensive speakers so that the music is crystal clear and enhances the space. You notice when the music is missing but when the music is on, it sounds natural to the space and as though it was organically part of the space itself.
It is the same at home. In the new kitchen you just designed, the sound really does matter.
If the bass is weak the music sounds flat, insipid and distracting. If the bass level is too high, the room sounds like a throbbing mess and listening becomes strenuous.
If the speakers are not of high enough quality they will sound harsh and muddy when listening to higher tones in music. They won’t hold up when you put on Bocelli while cooking Italian food. They emit a dreary, tedious sound which is taxing on your ears.
A simple test is to turn on the music in the kitchen. You can easily tell if a solution is engaging because good sounding music causes people to move their bodies … whether its tapping your foot to the beat, singing along or even getting up and starting to dance. Look around the room. Look at your own reaction. If music does not emit a response it’s probably because it doesn’t sound the way it is supposed to be heard, true to the artists intent.
One final (and very important) consideration is ease of use. Can you quickly pull up your favorite music and play it in your kitchen? Is it easy to access and can every member of the household work it? If these questions cannot be answered with a resounding yes, it is time to revisit your solution. Ease of use and fast time to music are essential must haves!
So how do you ensure that all of the elements of your new kitchen are on par with each other and at the same high level of quality? Easy, you plan your kitchen that way and in order to ensure that the non-visual elements do not detract from the work you have done, speak with a dedicated audio consultant. Find someone who can help you create an audio experience which sounds as good as the new kitchen looks. As long as you know what to ask for, the right professional can help you put it together.
The kitchen is not the cabinets. The kitchen is not the countertops, lighting, flooring, music or any other single element. The kitchen is the sum of all of these things and the experience in that kitchen is also the sum of all parts. Make sure that the music which your customers will listen to daily is not the weakest link and adds to the room you have worked so hard to create. Looking amazing is only part of the experience.