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Focus On Residential AV: Smart Choices for a Smart Home

May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jack Kontney


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Control for this smart house comes primarily from Elan Home Systems, with two System12 AV controllers and two D-1651 16-channel power amps (lower left) providing both brains and brawn.

Control for this smart house comes primarily from Elan Home Systems, with two System12 AV controllers and two D-1651 16-channel power amps (lower left) providing both brains and brawn.

The room contains two loudspeaker systems — one for video surround sound and another for stereo listening. Anchoring the audio is a Sunfire Theater Grand Receiver 3 (TGR3) AV receiver, flagship of the XT Series.

“Sunfire is Bob Carver's company, so you know you're getting cutting-edge quality,” Wood says. “The customer left it to us to select the best for this system, and the Theater Grand Receiver is a great piece of technology.”

The room's open layout called for a 5.1-surround deployment. The center, left, and right front channels run through an Atlantic Technology FS-5000 Front Stage loudspeaker system mounted beneath the Aquos. The FS-5000 sports three separate compartments, each with twin 4.5in. woofers and a 1in. tweeter for full-range response down to 70Hz. The rear surround is from Atlantic's IWTS-20e SR in-wall loudspeakers, hidden in a sweeping wine bar located in the back of the room that offers ideal positioning for the surround field.

Powerful lows are provided by dual Sunfire D-10 subwoofers hidden below the fireplace. For audio-only listening, a combination of IWTS-10 and ICTS-6.2e loudspeakers by Atlantic Technology are hidden in the ceiling.

In the master bedroom, a custom cabinet hides a 32in. Samsung LN-R3228W HD LCD television and a Yamaha YSP-4000 digital sound projector, mounted on a Chief CM2L40 automated pop-up lift.

In the master bedroom, a custom cabinet hides a 32in. Samsung LN-R3228W HD LCD television and a Yamaha YSP-4000 digital sound projector, mounted on a Chief CM2L40 automated pop-up lift.

A second theater system occupies the downstairs family room. For this room, Wood selected a plasma HD television, the Pioneer PDP-6010FD, secured on an OmniMount U3 Tilt wall mount.

“With less glare and the need to provide a gaming platform for the kids, this room lent itself to a plasma,” Wood says. “The Pioneers have very vivid lighting and graphics, so it was a perfect fit.”

Surround sound is done in 7.1, with a Yamaha RX-V1700 AV receiver providing the audio. LCR signals are run through an Atlantic Technology FS-4000, while the room's lower ceiling allows the side- and rear-channel surround signals to be directed through ceiling-mounted Polk Audio SC60 two-way loudspeakers. The in-wall subwoofer is by Atlantic Technology, powered by an SA-350 amplifier that lives in the equipment room.

The next design challenge was the master suite, including both the bedroom and bath area. At the foot of the bed, a custom cabinet hides a Chief CM2L40 automated pop-up lift that exposes a 32in. Samsung LN-R3228W HD LCD television on command. Mounted beneath the TV is a Yamaha YSP-4000 digital sound projector. The YSP-4000 houses 42 individual loudspeaker elements and uses digital signal processing to project five discrete sound waves, both directly and off the walls, to create a distinct surround-sound experience from a single component.

Another sophisticated element of the suite is a custom-designed Séura Television Mirror, with a Sharp LC-26D43U embedded behind a mirrored door to allow viewing from the sunken tub or the sauna/shower. When the TV is off, all that's visible is the mirror. The master bath area is also an independent audio zone, using a combination of Atlantic Technology System 10s and Terra CA Series ceiling-mount, weather-proof loudspeakers by Custom Audio Manufacturing of Maine (CAMM).

CAMM loudspeakers are used in several other listening zones as well. The roof over multiple patio/lanai areas holds several 6.5in Terra all-climate models, while the yard area boasts three AC.WF16 single-point stereo loudspeakers, augmented by an AC.SUB in-ground subwoofer in the pool area.

“Even with all the corrosion we get on the California coast, the CAMM Terras just last and last,” Wood says. “We've been working with them for about three years. The elements don't corrode, the cabinets are — to all intents and purposes — bomb-proof, and they fill the yard with a very pleasant sound.”

CONTROL SYSTEM

Back inside, the Elan S12 system keeps everything running smoothly. Both HD theater rooms are controlled through Elan Via! touchpanels. The great room features a Via!2 wireless unit with 8.4in. screen. In addition to audio and video, the touchpad can access and control all other systems — including the fireplace, swimming pool, lighting, and drapery. A one-push “Entertain” command sets appropriate lighting scenes both indoors and out, sets up the music system, and turns on the waterfall feature in the spa.

Via!6.4 wall panels are mounted in the kitchen and master bedroom, while Elan Olé touchpads are distributed throughout the house to provide source and volume control. In addition, every zone has a localsource wallplate to allow MP3 or CD players to be plugged in and played either within that specific zone. Virtually every room in the house sports a pair of Polk Audio SC60 two-way loudspeakers in the ceiling.

Three cable boxes allow live programming to be routed at will to any video system in the house, including the two kids' bedrooms and guest bedroom, and all the home's PCs are networked through a D-Link wireless router and VPN hub. An Escient FireBall MP-200 remote media player, teamed with an AVX-552 media server, offers a huge cache of CDs and DVDs for viewing or listening on command, and can also access media from any computer on the home network. An Elan XM-R3 satellite receiver adds three independent XM Radio signals to the listening options. Audio can be called up from any source and sent to any location — including the laundry room, either of two garages, the west patios or east-facing pool area.

In order to interface with non-AV systems, Greenstein had to do his homework. For the Vantage light-control and Jandy pool-control system, San Diego Sound and Video worked directly with the other sub-contractors to ensure that the proper control systems were included with the systems, then programmed them into the Elan System12.

“The real key is being involved from the start and designing for the future,” Greenstein says. “When we get a project and map how many lines it takes, we'll generally pull two extra pieces of Cat-5. As someone once said, Cat-5 is the magical wire; you can push almost anything through it. That lets us handle the change requests — which are inevitable — without much problem. That creates a lot of good will, both with the other subcontractors and the customer. You just have to know what you're doing and think ahead.”


Jack Kontney is contributing editor, audio for Sound & Video Contractor and president of Kontney Communications, a content-creation and marketing firm specializing in professional audio, video, and electronics. Contact him at www.kontneycomm.com.



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