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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

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About Me...

I grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California. After high school, I took a job at a Big Box audio/video retailer called The Goodguys! This was my first brush with total electronics immersion, and it clearly left its mark. I moved to North Carolina for a few years where I began a career as a club golf professional. Missing the city life, I moved back to California where I continued in the golf business at a private club called Orinda Country Club. During this time, my first story was published; a piece on working with the Secret Service to host the President (Bill Clinton) for a round of golf.

Shortly after this, I had my first encounter with a home theater system, a relatively inexpensive JBL Movies & Music system. I watched Speed on Laser Disc at a friend's house, and from the opening credits, I was hooked. I remember being totally entranced by the rattle and clang of elevator cables happening behind me, and the swirl of sounds that put you right into the action. Following the movie, I knew that I had to have a surround system of my own. This led down a path of much study and research, which eventually convinced me that audio/video was an industry I wanted to be in.

This all happened when Dolby Digital (then known as AC-3) was just being introduced. A member of the Country Club gave me an old laser disc player which I modded to output the AC-3 bitstream to a Yamaha Dolby Digital decoder that I purchased. I then rented every Dolby Digital Laser Disc that I could get my hands on, and knew that discrete 5.1 surround was the future of home entertainment. 

Since no one was really talking about the technology, I pitched 5.1 Laser Disc reviews to an editor at Home Theater Magazine, Rob Sabin. Rob liked my writing sample -- a review of the best audio scenes from Heat -- and he let me do a couple of feature stories for a short lived publication called Audio/Video Shopper.

After being married for 3 years, my wife and I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1998 where I started working for Custom Theater and Audio, a custom installation firm I located on CEDIA's Website. I'm still at CTA where I design and install A/V and automation systems. Around the same time, Rob Sabin moved over to Sound & Vision Magazine, where he recommended me to editor, Bob Ankosko. Bob liked that I was "in the industry" and thought that a series of articles from an installer's point of view would be unique. That led to my monthly "The Custom Installer" column which is still running. Since then I have branched out and now do a considerable amount of reviewing and blogging for Residential Systems.

You can learn even more about me -- Get to know me! -- by checking out some industry bios that have been written. One is from URC's monthly "Know your journalist" Web blast, and the second is a "Candid Chat" with PR powerhouse, Caster Communications. 

My Family - Watching a movie with wife, Dana, and daughter, Lauryn