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The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Scott Residence, Sedona, Ariz.

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

Intelligent AV in the Desert

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“But like any speaker, those are ideal-world curves,” Hatala says. “In the real world, that response is compromised by furniture, carpeting, room shape, construction materials — you name it. What Synthesis allows us to do is to recreate that ideal response in the real world.”

This involves a tuning process that takes place after the room is constructed and furnished. Five mics are placed in the listening positions, and pink noise is played through the loudspeakers. The sound picked up is analyzed and adjusted, using JBL's proprietary SDEC-3000 digital equalizer.

The Synthesis SDEC-3000 packs an enormous amount of processing power into one rackmount box. Far more than a standard EQ, the SDEC-3000 is a digital, Ethernet-controlled 112-band parametric equalizer with DSP functions that include independent distance-time correction for each of its eight outputs. Each loudspeaker's output is adjusted individually and locked in, which is a process that takes 4 hours to 5 hours.

“It's all done on the initial setup, and we only do it after everything else is done,” Hatala says. “The furniture's got to be in place, the curtains have got to be hung, so you have a true representation of what the room is going to be like when they move into it.”

The Scott house offered the system a definite challenge when it turned out that the blackout curtain over the picture window also covered one of the side surround loudspeakers.

“It was for ambient-light control, so there was a good purpose behind it,” Hatala says. “But it ran the entire length of the wall and had a plastic backing that muffled everything above 85Hz. With the Synthesis system, we were able to get that speaker to sound as good as the rest of the system. It was the best demo I could ever imagine. Even our JBL support engineer was surprised.”

“I've got to hand it to JBL, because they really want this system to sound as good as it did in the recording studio where they made the DVD or CD,” Hanson says. “They believe if you're going to spend $40,000 or more on a sound system, it should sound amazing and it should always be working. And they really do support it to that level.”

A factory tech is available to help with system calibration on request, and customers receive 24-hour advance replacement on any component that fails.

The system is controlled by one of the house's 12 Remote Technologies (RTI) T2-C universal remotes, which combine familiar buttons with a detailed TFT touchscreen for full control of the home theater as well as a direct wirelesss interface to the Crestron-controlled systems in the home.

As one would expect, the video sources available are many, including a Sharp Blu-ray Disc player. A DirecTV H21-200 HD satellite receiver/DVR delivers broadcast signals. A Kaleidescape KSERVER-1500 media server system, networked throughout the house, offers up to 300 DVD and 400 CD selections for two movie zones and four music zones.

“The Kaleidescape is the Ferrari of media servers,” Hanson says. “It's really fast, it's easy to add new content, and you can even burn commercial DVDs directly to its hard drive.”

Significantly, the Kaleidescape system legally rips DVDs and CDs for home use. Direct hard-drive access makes the Kaleidescape system fast and user-friendly. An onscreen interface allows users to search by different criteria, and it displays cover art and information about each title.

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