THX recently interviewed Nick Foulds, owner at Soundtrap & Intanium Theaters . Nick discusses the business of custom installations and the importance of being a THX Certified Professional.
Q: How long have you been in the custom install business? What got you interested?
A: Indirectly, I have been in the custom install business my entire life. My background and interest in the industry comes primarily from my father, Roger, an architectural noise control and acoustics specialist. In the late 80s, my father started to help local music and home theater enthusiasts fix problems associated with sound control and audio system performance. His work was commended by architects and engineers, and he was honored with a prestigious Canadian innovative new products and technology award at Construct Canada in 1995 as a result.
Q: What does your company specialize in?
A: Our companies, Soundtrap and Intainium, work hand-in-hand to build state-of-the-art home cinema rooms with uncompromised best-in-class sound control and room designs. We truly believe that we are the best in the business.
Q: Why did you decide to attend THX Certified Professional Training and what class(es) did you take?
We are often involved in high-end residential developments. With these types of projects, there is a team assembled by the builder, architect or client, which typically consists of an interior designer, A/V and automation integrator, and other trade consultants. If one member of the team makes a mistake, it reflects poorly on everyone else and the client’s experience and enjoyment can be jeopardized, or become jaded.
I decided to take THX Certified Professional Training to get the knowledge and expertise required for our company to provide our clients and the associates that we work with the best possible products and services. I graduated THX Certified Home Theater Professional Levels 1 and 2, in addition to the THX Video Calibration course. Even my wife, an interior designer, enrolled in the THX Certified Home Theater Professional Level 1 course to gain a better understanding of what goes into building an optimal home cinema.
Q: What was your favorite or most enjoyable part of the training? What was the most valuable?
A: I am a “people person” and it was a pure pleasure being trained by THX Professionals John Dahl, Michael Chen and Gregg Loewen. Also, meeting people from all over the world, people who share the same interest and passion, was a fantastic experience. The course content was well structured, extensive and informative. I was also very pleased with the amount of content that focused on room acoustics and sound control – and to find out that Soundtrap acoustics and sound control met THX standards. The reassurance that we were doing it right was great for our organizational confidence.
Q: How has the knowledge you gained through THX certification and training helped your business?
A: It ensures our clients that we will deliver the best possible home cinema experience. When we apply the knowledge and best practices learned through the THX trainings, we help create a memorable client experience. We follow up with our clients for annual service and maintenance (as the dynamics of electronics change over time) and we always receive positive feedback. Our clients not only use their home cinemas, they love them!
Q: What latest THX Certified products do you recommend and why?
A: I am an advocate of any product that meets THX standards and becomes THX Certified. I recommend THX Certified ‘systems’ comprising of appropriate products selected by a THX Certified Professional. For example, the Klipsch THX Ultra2 7.2 home theater surround sound system is very impressive.
Q: Which custom install projects are you particularly proud of?
A: I can say without any doubt that I am very proud of all of our projects. Whether large or small, ultra luxury or on a budget – we make our clients happy, which makes me proud. That’s my passion.
Q: How does your company differ from competitors?
A: With our extensive background and experience, our company differs in that while others are playing catch-up, we are already researching and developing new technologies, products and systems for tomorrow. We have our own R & D laboratory that is restricted to the general public—even to our employees.
In addition, where many competitors focus on Hollywood themes to give their clients the appearance of a cinema room, our rooms are engineered and designed to perform and perfectly marry form with function.
Q: Where do you see the custom install industry headed in the next 12 months? What trends do you foresee?
A: Over the years I have noticed that many profit centers associated with A/V and automation equipment and installations have become more competitive, driving the price down. This is great for the consumer because now there is more room in their budget for other items, such as acoustical treatments and sound control. I see the custom install industry becoming more versatile, better educated and ultimately offering their clients attainable, value-added packages that maximize the client’s overall budget and experience.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Our involvement with THX is very important to us. In my opinion, THX is the industry standard and it is crucial for these standards to be maintained and passed on to the most important people in the entire equation—our clients.
There needs to be more client awareness of the importance of the listening and viewing environment to truly deliver a cinematic or moving musical experience. Much focus has been placed on equipment specs over the years. Better equipment can certainly enhance the consumer’s experience. However, even if top quality speakers and electronics are purchased and placed in a sonically or visually terrible room, the consumer will likely have an unpleasant experience. As the industry grows and continues to come out with new technologies, it is critical that our projects continue to exceed our client’s highest expectations.
Interested in becoming a THX Certified Professional? Click here to learn more about the next available courses being held at CES 2012.