The Next Generation in Home Theater Installation
Jun 4, 2007 12:00 PM
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 Winner
Designers' Awards: Best Theme Theater
Gold Technical Design
The Star Trek theater represents one of the most unique and technically and structurally advanced private theaters in the United States; its large size—approximately 20ft.x27ft.x52ft.—combines with comfortable settings and highly advanced technical features. The rock-and-roll owner demanded high volume levels—min 130db true RMS—that contradicted the size and high-quality playback criteria in a 30,000-cubic-foot volume. The owner wanted a Star Trek theme done tastefully and to a high degree of detail and realism, a challenge that required full 3D modeling of all elements and BIM-style construction coordination techniques.
Other obstacles of the install included the need for all the technical assemblies unique to residential environments, such as motorized sliding doors, intelligent concert lighting and related controls, commercial HVAC, framing, and other techniques, to all coexist and operate seamlessly, reliably, and easily for the family. The owner also desired STC 55+ acoustical isolation implemented late into construction, with incredibly complex interior elements, in a residential environment producing extreme volumes for long periods directly underneath a kitchen.
Electronic Systems Consultants encountered several challenges in the design of the system and placement of equipment. For instance, providing a cohesive soundfield in very large rooms with complex surfaces required unique approaches. The installation team developed a proprietary system that takes four discrete surround channels delivered by a Meridian processor, derives 10 discrete, uniquely steered surround channels, and then feeds those to 10 groups of four small surround speakers concealed within RPG Diffusor Systems' FlutterFree and Diffractal assemblies behind fabric. The heart leverages custom algorithms running on four BSS Soundweb networked processors and 800 MIPS of DSP. The team also had to deal with room correction and other DSP, and feed multi-channel Crown Audio amps driving 40 small, carefully placed JBL monitors.
Another challenge of the installation was due to architecture, because most interior elements have complex curves, varying translucent backlighting, and metal-like finishes. Once modeled, thousands of hours went into working in AutoCAD in 3D building assemblies that had to be done using 3D CNC machines and various high-tech, non-standard materials and techniques.
Setting up the control system was the last major challenge. An AMX Netlinx control system uses a cardframe, multiple masters, a handheld AMX 802.11 tablet, and 3 ELO touchpanels running Electronic Systems Consultants' proprietary Java front-end for AMX. Martin DMX512 playback custom-built scenes on the 12 Martin intelligent lighting fixtures via AMX initiation were also integrated.
As for speaker placement and calibration, the interior acoustical treatment was placed on highly isolated structures and used RPG studio products behind acoustical fabric. RPG modeled the space and specified responses, resulting in a highly neutral space with virtually all available space treated. On side and rear walls, as well as some ceiling areas, FlutterFree, Abfussors, and Diffractals handled diffusion, while a Modex panel tuned to specific varying frequencies was installed along with broadband absorption on the front wall and some rear areas for mode flattening and control of specular reflections.
It took Electronic Systems Consultants and several specialists weeks to calibrate over 50 individually addressed, crossed-over and EQ’d speaker elements, which included 40 surrounds and four front mains with two center channels, each with a separate high, mid, and low box. There were also 10 custom-derived surround channels, multiple seating areas, and a wide variety of source types each with their own calibration settings recalled automatically from AMX. Luckily, nearly all the processing was custom built into the BSS Soundweb processors and was handled in a single highly sophisticated PC front-end customized for each installation.
Video via a Sony projection system and Faroudja processor firing SMPTE light levels onto a 15ft.-wide Stewart Filmscreen GreyHawk perforated screen was calibrated by an outside professional to linearity without fanfare, and presented the installers a needed respite from difficulty while generating true 1920x1080 images.
|Time and Expertise Worksheet|
|Electronic Design and Engineering:||380|
|Proposal and System Documentation Preparation:||414|
|Shop Time for Racking and Testing:||498|
|Final Installation and Calibration:||1209|
|Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company:||645|
|Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others:||180|
|Project Management by Others:||600|
|Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper:||0|
|Total Hours to Complete:||4954|
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