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A Home Theater with Ample Ambiance

Aug 20, 2007 12:00 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 or call (800) 669-5329.

2006 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Winner
Designers' Awards: Large Home Theater
Bronze Technical Design, Level II ($80,000-120,000)

Silver Screen & Sound

Ambiance during movie viewing was one of the key requests for this client. In most home theaters, the room is completely dark during movie viewing. To address this, the Silver Screen & Sound team used some unique lighting techniques. Backlit pilasters give the room a warm atmosphere without inducing unwanted light contamination. Custom step lighting was also used for both ambiance and safety.

Placement of the equipment rack was a bit tricky since the client wanted access to the equipment from inside the room, but did not want to detract from the design of the room. An equipment rack was installed in the rear corner of the theater, accessible from the bar area. Access to the wiring is via a hidden door in the concessions stand (currently used as a DVD storage space).

Since Silver Screen & Sound was involved from the start, the design team was able to incorporate a moderate amount of acoustic treatments without affecting the aesthetics of the room. Varying surfaces such as the alcoves, tray ceiling, risers, and seating help to diffuse seating in the room. The carpet and drapery treatments absorb excess reverberance without making the room too dead. Drywall was hung on sound channel with additional insulation behind to help isolate explosive movie scenes from the rest of the house. To ensure the best sound, the front stage speakers are framed in acoustic foam to assimilate a free space condition and reduce unwanted reflections from the proscenium.

Of course no theater is complete without calibration. To verify the frequency response of the front stage speakers, the LMS system was used to make quasi-anechoic measurements. Treatments around the speakers were fine-tuned in this manner. Pink noise measurements were then taken from several locations and averaged for the most uniform response. Video calibration was performed with a Marantz calibrator, which comes standard with the VP-12S3. Fine-tuning was done to the client's taste.

Equipment list

  • 1 Da-Lite Screen 90257V High Contrast Cinema Vision 119in. screen
  • 1 Elan Home Systems IR system
  • 1 JVC HR-S3902U Super VHS VCR
  • 1 Lexicon MC-8 music and cinema processor
  • 1 Lexicon LX-7 seven-channel power amplifier
  • 1 Lutron GRXMR6 MAX Light surge protector
  • 1 Marantz VP-12S3 digital light projector
  • 1 Marantz DV8400 SACD/DVD player
  • 1 Marantz RC9500 universal learning remote
  • 1 Middle Atlantic Slim 5 rack
  • 1 Monster Cable HTS 2500 MKII PowerCenter
  • 1 NHT A1 amplifier
  • 2 NHT W2 subwoofers
  • 1 Panamax ML4200 surge protector
  • 1 NHT X1 Active Crossover
  • 3 Snell Acoustics AMC 800 in-wall speakers
  • 6 Snell Acoustics SR.5 surround speakers

    Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 6
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 4
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 2
    Project Management: 24
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 4
    Trim-out: 4
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 20
    Programming: 6
    Final Installation and Calibration: 8
    Client Instruction: 2
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 20
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 0
    Project Management by Others: 0
    Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 100

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