It’s been said that dedicated home theater is on the decline. Rayva argues that this is because it has traditionally been inefficient, inaccessible, and unapproachable to homeowners, architects, interior designers, and even integrators themselves. The company has also made it its mission to fix that.
Nick DeClemente, a 20-year industry veteran and Founder & CEO of Elevated Integration (Westchester County, NYC, the Hamptons) experienced this philosophy in action when, about 12 months ago, he embarked on one of the first Rayva theater installs. As a member of Azione Unlimited, Rayva was referred to fellow Azione member Elevated Integration, known for being a sophisticated and “high service” integration company in the way it operates, with a bespoke approach that was a good fit for Rayva.
The homeowner had already worked with Rayva executive director Theo Kalomirakis to select the Origami theater design and map out the level of performance and options that he wanted. Rayva brought Elevated Integration into the project to provide last-minute equipment recommendations for the theater and do the actual installation.
“Rayva really set the client’s expectations to understand that we could not only do the theater and meet their high standards, but that we could also help with the rest of the client’s needs,” says Nick. “When I met the homeowner, we were then able to work under the assumption that we were doing the job of installing the rest of the technology in the home. Rayva created an opportunity not only to install the theater but to provide the technology solution for the rest of the house, which in this case was a totally new client!”
The home owner was excited about the potential for really high-performance audio and video throughout his home. “We installed three pairs of KEF Reference in-walls powered by Parasound Halo amplifiers, full 4K60 fiber distribution for video, and an INSANE 7.1 Coastal Source Elipsa Bollard 3’s with five additional 14.0 subs and something in the neighborhood of 7000 watts around the pool,” says Nick.
The system also included an extensive Lutron lighting system, plus automation and control by Savant. Sources including Savant Music 2.0, ROON, Kaleidescape, Tivo, and AppleTV, and a reference-level two-channel listening room. With the addition of the Rayva theater above the garage, Elevated Integration gave the homeowner a virtual technological playground with different areas to retreat for different purposes, whether it’s watching a movie, listening to a record, background music throughout the house, or enjoying his favorite content outside by the pool.
“Rayva is getting opportunities that we wouldn’t necessarily come across because it’s a different stream. So our partnership with Rayva is producing projects that are profitable, ones that we would not have had if we had not been working with them,” says Nick. “We in turn now put Rayva at the forefront of our pitch because they are supporting their dealers by bringing opportunities to us.”
The biggest upsides of installing a Rayva theater, according to Nick, is that it’s a packageable, predictable, profitable, and repeatable endeavor as compared to the dedicated home theater’s of the past.
“Rayva delivers truly high-end results from both a performance and aesthetic perspective. The complexity that typically comes with a dedicated theater finished to the the level of a Rayva theater has pushed people away. I can now easily predict how long the next one is going to take. The process is predictable and repeatable. Those two things allow you to budget more tightly and accurately predict completion, which leads to a better experience by the client and more profit for us.”
Acoustic and lighting panels are preconfigured and shipped onsite, then installed with ease. “Prefab lighting and acoustic panels come ready to go and are easy to hang. The complexity that it would take to build this stuff from scratch onsite is staggering, and what Rayva has done is spectacular. They have realized a level of sophistication and performance and made it attainable by guys that are not carpenters or builders . . . on a timeline that is unheard of.” Indeed, this particular theater took less than a week to construct, install, and finish. Nick says that if his team was not so meticulous, it could be completed in as little as three days!
The acoustic and lighting panels are just one example of how Rayva makes installation easy. Nick also references the theater’s starlight fiber optic ceiling. “I built one for my daughter’s room from scratch. It’s a cumbersome process to say the least, you have to deal with long fiber optic cables. Rayva’s was as simple as hanging acoustic panels on the ceiling and connecting a CAT6 wire to the panel, and we were done. It’s a total departure from how complicated they normally are.”
Because Rayva theaters are applied and don’t involve a lot of construction to the shell of the room itself, it makes them good options for historic homes or homes where the owners are reluctant to alter the structure of the room. While this particular theater was installed in a newer part of a historic home, Nick says that if he was “going to put this in the historic part of the home, it would be no problem because everything is applied. Sound panels are applied and no special construction is needed.”
In fact, that modular, applied approach allowed the homeowners to maintain the windows in the room. Rayva designed sound panels based on the window layout. The sound panels actually clip off the wall if access is needed to the windows and to ensure safe access to exits in the event of a fire. Traditional roller shades are installed on the other side of the panels, so it looks completely normal from the outside. One would never know what lies behind the shades—just what the homeowner had hoped for.
As one of Rayva’s first installs, Nick and Elevated Integration helped Rayva with streamlining some of its early processes. He says that unlike some manufacturers in the industry, Rayva was absolutely willing and comfortable adjusting their process to better facilitate a smoother process and better end result. “For example, there were things they did originally, like specifying equipment, that they have now given back to the integrator realizing that it’s a better business model for both them and the integrator. I give them huge credit for listening and responding to feedback.”
That fluidity has also allowed Rayva to develop, in conjunction with integrators like Elevated Integration, tools to help better suit the integrator. The Rayva Build Book, which is like a simplified instruction manual for installing the theater, “brings the level of the technician you have to have on-site down,” according to Nick.
Elevated Integration is currently participating in Rayva’s new Premiere Dealer program, which gives them access to special tools and marketing opportunities such as a co-branded version of Rayva’s new online Configurator tool, which makes it easy to design a Rayva theater with the proper room specifications. Elevated Integration will use this tool to specify a new Rayva theater that’s in the beginning stages.
Read more about this theater in the March 2019 issue of Residential Systems Magazine!