I am the John that writes for Sound & Vision and Residential Systems magazines. I am also the John of www.johnsciacca.com blogging and @SciaccaTweets tweeting. I live in South Carolina with my wife and two daughters. I used to be a golf professional. Now I drink craftbeer and write about it when I'm not working at Custom Theater and Audio or doing all the other stuff I do.
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.