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Creating Inviting Theater Design

Oct 15, 2007 8:00 PM


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The following information is courtesy of the 2006 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designers' Choice Awards. For more information on how to become a member of CEDIA, or information on its awards program please visit www.cedia.org or call (800) 669-5329.

2006 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Entry
Best Large Home Theater

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In their vibrant and comfortable home, this client had a finished lower-level basement that was not up to par with the rest of the house’s décor. The space was rarely used by the family because it was not attractive or relaxing. A plan was developed with the client’s wish list in mind: create a warm and inviting theater environment that would allow dedicated viewing, as well as accommodate an entertainment center for sports events and parties.

Our client wanted an open view of the screen from the rest of the lower level. For this, a design incorporating large plate-glass windows at knee-level wall partitions was developed. Then, for an enclosed theater room experience, we installed motorized shades to cover the glass and windows, and motorized draperies at the openings to the rest of the basement, thus delineating the theater space.

As we had a partially constructed room, integration challenges were limited. Everything fell nicely into place when developing the room and its relationship to the rest of the lower level. The control system is an AMX system with a Viewpoint color wireless touchpanel. Operation is intuitive and elegant for all sources, which includes management of HVAC and lights. The Krell surround processor and amplifiers, a Rotel DVD player, and high-definition video sources deliver outstanding clarity and dimension, with Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Nautilus series speakers for the entire surround array. A Runco VX-1000d projector with Vivix video processing displays exceptional video on a Stewart Filmscreen Firehawk 100in. horizontal masking screen. All of the AV equipment is arranged in a distinguished silver-faced Middle Atlantic rack.

Equipment and speaker placement drove the design of the room. As the client wanted the best performance video, we did not use a perforated screen. He wanted outstanding audio, so floorstanding and wall-mounted speakers were designed into the room. The center channel was placed below the screen, with an angle down toward the seats. The left, right, side, and rear channels are all exposed. The room was modeled by Kinetics, with more absorptive properties at the front of the room, and enhanced reflection for surround at the rear of the room. Audio is calibrated to 85dB, with a maximum of 103dB. HVAC was designed to minimize distracting noise in the room, and a remotely located radon fan has a register located right over the projector’s exhaust, pulling the heat from the unit. When shutting the system off, the remote fan is timed to run for as long as the projector’s cooling fan operates.

Calibration of the theater was completed by an ISF- and HAA-certified technician, bringing the system to industry standards and presenting a great film-like image. We did not experience any issues in performing the calibration, as we had complete and discrete control of lights. Audio calibration gave great results as the surround processor has a built-in 8-channel equalizer, and we were able to trim the subwoofer to the proper level.

Equipment List

  • AMX Axcent3 integrated control processor
  • AMX VSS2 dual video sync sensor
  • AMX PSN2.8 regulated power supply
  • AMX VPT-CP418 Viewponit color wireless touchpanel
  • AMX VPT-DS docking station
  • AMX AXR-RF418 RF receiver
  • Krell Showcase 7.1 surround processor with 8-channel equalizer
  • Krell Showcase 7 amplifier w/7x 125W/channel
  • Rotel RDV1060 progressive scan DVD player w/DVD-Audio
  • Hughes HIRDE86 HDTV satellite receiver
  • Runco VX1000D HDTV DLP projector w/Vivix processor
  • Runco RUHK-004000 hanging kit
  • Stewart EMSN100HFHWX vertical screen wall Electrimask Firehawk
  • B&W Nautilus HTM1 Matrix center-channel loudspeaker
  • B&W Nautilus center-channel loudspeaker stand
  • B&W Nautilus 802 Matrix floorstanding loudspeakers
  • B&W Nautilus SCM1 Matrix wall-mount loudspeakers
  • B&W ASW850 1000W powered subwoofer w/15in. Kevlar driver
  • Richard Gray 1200S custom power conditioner
  • Tara Labs 14/4 speaker cable
  • CSC 18/2-pair shielded cable
  • CSC 22/4-pair shielded cable
  • Crestron Cresnet cable
  • CSC RG6Quad coaxial cable
  • CSC RGB6 six-conductor RBGHV
  • Middle Atlantic ERK rack system-silver
  • Active Thermal Management Coolstack rack fan kit
  • Tara Labs complete high-end cable package – audio, video, digital
  • Vantage lighting interface (part of whole-house light control system)
  • Lutron Sivoia QED left-pull pinch-pleat drapery track
  • Lutron Sivoia QED roller shades and controllers (at large windows and partition)
  • Somfy LoVolt motorized shades (at small windows)
  • Kinetics theater acoustic panel system (includes fabric and acoustical panels)
  • La-Z-Boy motorized theater seats
  • Double 5/8in. sheetrock w/resilient channel (ceiling)
  • Isonene Sound Proofing Insulation (ceilings and walls)
Time and Expertise Worksheet
Task Hours
Client Interviews 6
Electronic Design and Engineering: 12
Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 6
Project Management: 16
Pre-wire/Rough-in: 16
Trim-out: 8
Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 12
Programming: 12
Final Installation and Calibration: 88
Client Instruction: 4
Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 16
Project Management by Others: 12
Other Time: Coordinating Acoustical Room Treatments: 4
Total Hours to Complete: 212



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