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Flamboyant Home Theater Ambience

Apr 18, 2008 12:00 PM


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The following information is courtesy of the 2007 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.

2007 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Awards
Entry: Best Large Home Theater
Level II ($98,500-$115,000)

The scope of design and installation was fairly typical with a new home of this caliber and included structured cabling, phone system, whole-house audio system, flatscreen installations, and security system. However, the home theater part of the project—despite our experience with large home theaters—would require special attention because our client is a very successful movie cineplex owner/operator in the Midwest. This created a little anticipation amongst our excitement. Our client requested that we work with his audio/video engineers and architect that he uses commercially because he wanted the theme of his theater room to reflect the flamboyant ambience of his commercial theaters. Our client’s AV engineers are very experienced in the commercial AV arena, whereas we are very experienced in the home theater environment. There were several meetings to discuss the AV options and the outcome was always a mutual agreement on the decisions. Our client was very receptive and allowed our ideas to reflect the outcome of the theater room by the consideration of requirements for proper screen and projector placement along with regards to speaker placement. The result was a theater room to equal the grandness of our client’s cineplex and a user interface that allows one touch control for starting the movie.

One of the bigger challenges was to determine screen size and aspect ratio, or screen masking. Our client’s idea of the big widescreen was bigger than what we would normally recommend, but our clients’ expectations were always met. The architect included into the room design neon lights, a metal ceiling and a lot of red that would offer additional challenges to us when dealing with lighting control, acoustic treatments, and RF interference. The room design included a three-level concrete floor and four solid concrete walls enclosing the room to reduce the sound transmission throughout the rest of the home. Because of the surrounding concrete enclosed walls, there were no options for rear access to AV equipment, so we installed a pullout rack for ease of interconnect and service. AV equipment stack ventilation, from bottom to top, and projector hush-box ventilation is provided by ventilation fans located in the neighboring mechanical room. Fans automatically trigger on when any component in the rack is turned on, including the whole-house audio controllers which reside in the same rack.

The 9.1 channel speaker locations were considered when placing wall columns, light fixtures, theater seating, and stage arrangement. These were all planned in advance because of the three-level theater room floor and walls which were formed and poured during the foundation stage of the home construction. Theater chairs were upholstered with a choice of our client’s personal selection of fabrics from the chairs used in his cineplex. Sidewall acoustic panels treated wall reflections very well and improved the room’s sonic performance. Room audio balancing and setup was achieved using an audio-test disk while evaluating multiple location audio-analyzer readings and SPL meter readings. Frequency-band testing was performed to optimize room balance and low-frequency sweeps were used to resolve any low-frequency vibration issues.

Calibration of screen image, both grayscale and color, was achieved using video calibration disks and done to ISF guidelines. The resulting big screen image provides a movie experience our client desired in the privacy of his own home.

Equipment list

  • 1 Runco VX-1000ci DLP Projector Outbound Processor
  • 1 Stewart Filmscreen Luxus Deluxe - 144" Firehawk
  • 1 Marantz SR8500 Amplifier/Receiver
  • 1 Marantz DV6600 DVD SCAD
  • 2 Monster HTS 5100 Power Conditioner
  • 1 Motorola High Def Cable Receiver
  • 9 JBL HT Series Speakers - 9.2CH
  • 1 Middle Atlantic Pull Out Sliding Rack System AX-SXR
  • 1 Universal Remote MX3000 Remote Control
  • 1 Electric Shade Company Bijou
  • 8 Premiere Home Theatre Surroundings Silent Gliss 5100
  • 1 Active Thermal Management Exhaust Fan System 1
  • 1 Escient Fireball DVD/Music Manager SED1
  • 1 Sony CD/DVD - 401 CX777ES
  • 3 Altronic Relay RB5
  • 1 Lutron Grafik Eye 5 Zone
  • Monster Interconnect Cabling
  • Liberty Wire & Cable Speaker Cable 12/4 THX

    Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 6
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 5
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 5
    Project Management: 14
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 7
    Trim-out: 18
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 8
    Programming: 10
    Final Installation and Calibration: 24
    Client Instruction: 1.5
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 5
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 80
    Project Management by Others: 16
    Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 199.5



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